“Try Something New.” That challenge is the whole reason for this feature’s existence. Month in and month out we buy the comics we know and love, the ones we look forward to every time but there are countless series that travel under our radar, ones that we just don’t give a chance and get passed by. That’s why I made a vow: every week I’d pick up an issue for a series that wasn’t on my pull-list in the hopes of finding a hidden gem. Welcome to Off The Shelf where we’ll discover if my leap of faith paid dividends this week. Also, I should mention that there be SPOILERS in this review. You are warned! ________________________________________________________
Coffin Hill #1Publisher
Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda
Prior Experience With Title
None, but I’m in the same boat as pretty much everyone else since this is a brand new property. All I knew is that it deals with witchcraft.
Why Did I Give It A Shot?
I did a quick flip through the book and liked what I saw in terms of art. Also, the last new Vertigo title I tried (Collider) was excellent so I thought lightning may strike twice. So I took the plunge.
The issue starts with a celebratory drink at a local bar where Eve Coffin is being honored by her fellow police officers for catching a serial killer known as the Ice Fisher after only one month on the job. Eve is not in the mood though and decides to go home to her apartment where she finds a friend of hers being held at gunpoint by her boyfriend. Eve’s friend gets away but the boyfriend manages to let off a shot which connects with Eve’s head. At death’s door we are treated to a beautiful splash page showing very intriguing moments throughout Eve’s life, moments that are surely to be expanded on as the series continues. We then flashback to 10 years earlier to the Coffin Estate. Eve is a rebellious young woman who believes her family is cursed. She breaks into a locked door in her house using what appears to be an enchantment and steals an ominous looking book. Eve then exists her home but not before ruining her mother and father’s party going on downstairs by embarrassing them in front of their high society friends. She later meets up with her own friends (Mel, Dani, and Nate) in the nearby forest and preparations get underway for a ritual that they are going to perform from the stolen book. Nate doesn’t want any part of this ritual and leaves but this doesn’t deter the three girls from going ahead. The next morning, Mel and Eve wake up naked, covered in blood, with dead animals all around them. Dani is nowhere to be found and they realize that she is lost to them, that “she’s gone to the dark things.” We jump back to the present day where some police officers are searching for a missing individual in the same forest, an investigation that is being led by a grown-up Nate. Meanwhile, Eve has survived the gunshot but is off the force. Not willingly to collect disability and overwhelmed by the constant reporters wanting an interview from her, she retreats back to the familiarity of Coffin Hill to finish off the issue.
Eve Coffin: The Coffins are the holy trinity of New England royalty: old blood, old money, old secrets. Oh yeah, and like so many things in the oldest part of the new world…they’re also cursed. We’re the Kennedys with more madness and murder. We came out of Salem, and we built this place to contain all the wickedness we brought with us. It didn’t work. It spilled out and poisoned everything it touched.
Eve Coffin: I had no interest in parties and pretending to be wicked. I was only interested in the real thing. Just another stupid kid looking for trouble. Except when a Coffin goes looking for trouble…trouble is never the only thing they find.
Eve Coffin: I’ve come here tonight to shock and amaze you! And to tell you you’re gross, and this party is lame.
Eve Coffin: She tried to warn me. Tried to warn me about the dark things in the woods. Tried to warn me that the superstitions brought from the old world didn’t start as stories. Tried to warn me what was waiting for me if I crossed that line…from daylight to darkness.
Eve Coffin: The evil in these woods isn’t the kind most people understand. It’s real evil, the kind that seeps into your skin, your blood, every part of you. Evil that imbues the dirt and the trees and everything else. That you taste in the air. That night, I was counting on it.
Eve Coffin: People who touch the darkness die. That’s what my grandmother said. But what she didn’t know is people who don’t just touch it, but embrace it, fall into it. Sometimes those people live.
Final Verdict: The art was great and the story has my interest piqued. The mystery of why Eve and Nate decided to become police officers, where Dani disappeared to, and what type of supernatural powers Eve possesses are just some of the looming questions that grabbed me. Thusly, I’m going to Add It To My Pull-List and discover the answers along with everyone else.