The first antagonist is revealed. For the first time since the inception of the series, Eve Coffin has met her match!
Eve Coffin’s friend Mel has awakened from her coma. Now with her help, Eve may be able to solve the string of supernatural violence that has plagued all of Coffin Hill. The story that Caitlin Kittredge has put together is finally starting to take off. Although the first issue was a bit shaky, each subsequent release has been an improvement from the last. This issue finally brings a visible antagonist to the story, and the nature of the book drastically changes into one of massive suspense. The slow buildup dynamic served the past few issues well, but Coffin Hill #4 takes advantage of this new pacing by upping the stakes as the issue progresses.
Kittredge likes to utilize flashbacks, and they are slowly building up to something more. Although we only get a taste of that in each issue, the flashback scenes in Coffin Hill #4 directly relate to what is happening in the present, and the full picture is starting to come to light. Bringing Mel back into the story outside of flashbacks makes things interesting, and there’s a noticeable shift in tone as Eve and Mel speak for the first time in years.
The structure of the panels has shifted a bit, but for the better. The series had its moments of panel breaking and overlapping, but in this issue, they’re used in a very intelligent way. Inaki Miranda draws a few key moments of the book in large splash pages which create a heavier expression of both beauty and horror. Inaki makes full use of the space he has been given in this issue, and everything from a character’s body to a garden of flowers demonstrates the multiple layers of artistry for which he is known.
The new antagonist is a huge game-changer in the world of Coffin Hill. The series can only benefit from this sudden introduction and it pushes the story into a higher level of creativity. Coffin Hill #4 is easily the best issue in the series to date.
The sudden change of pacing may dissuade readers that are in favor of the slower, mysterious techniques that the series began with. After a few issues of buildup, things are not only moving into a higher speed, they practically skip a few gears to get there. As a result, the comic reads differently and unlike its previous issues, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Every issue has provided a little taste of the specific type of witchcraft being demonstrated. However, when these scenes are displayed, they are short and unexplained. This leaves the reader asking a number of questions at the end of each of these ceremonies. If these rituals were given a little more time and a thorough explanation, the comic would read in a more focused manner.
Coffin Hill #4 is a highlight of this series. With the shift in storytelling, the introduction of an antagonist, and a world that expands with every release, Coffin Hill is satisfying on multiple fronts. Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda work wonders with each other, and although there are a few bumps in the road, Coffin Hill is beginning to feel whole.