"Coffin Hill" is a comic that I like, but I want to love. Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda's comic about Eve Coffin returning to the town and demons that she left behind has a great setup, and lot of strong imagery. But as "Coffin Hill" #6 wraps up the first story arc, it's hard to keep from feeling like there's still something missing from this series.
"Coffin Hill" #6 has Kittredge resolve the nature of the being that's been inhabiting Mel's body, and Eve finally confronts it head-on even as it prepares to enact its harvest. While that's a good thing to finally happen, it's also hard to keep from feeling like it's a bit overdue. Eve's known enough about what's inside the shell of Mel that her inaction up until now has felt a little irresponsible at best; almost as if it's been delayed because of the size of the first collection, rather than a logical decision on Eve's part. It's frustrating, because while Eve's always been a deliberately slightly-unlikable protagonist, her failure to stop Mel and be up-front with Nate has been a little hard to swallow.
Part of the problem here is also that Kittredge doesn't give us any truly memorable moments in "Coffin Hill" #6 for Miranda to bring to life. Some of the best scenes in the book to date have been the amazing tableaus that the duo have dreamed up. Eve leaping on top of the car hood with the murder of crows surrounding her, for instance, or that single terrifying panel of Dani screaming and being dragged off into the darkness during the ritual a decade earlier. The reveal of the being inside Mel's body feels much more standard; it's a creepy looking monster, certainly, but there's nothing about it that will burn the image into your head. Kittredge and Miranda have given us a strong image in all of the previous issues to serve almost as an anchor for that comic, that the lack of one here ends up a bit of a let down.
Still, Miranda's art is great, in many ways the highlight of "Coffin Hill." I love the way he draws the people of "Coffin Hill," with clean crisp lines and just the right amount of creases and scars on their faces as appropriate. He's good at the creepy, too; I like the cloud of bats that swirl over the women's heads as the demon is preparing to slit a throat, for instance, or the stringy, almost tentacle-like way that Mel's hair splays out when she's in full possession mode. Miranda's art grabbed me from the first time I saw it, and having him as the regular artist on a series is reason enough to keep reading.
Hopefully future story arcs of "Coffin Hill" will get a little more spring in its step. A slightly faster pace and a little more punch to each chapter would go a long way. The ideas in this series are good, and I feel like Kittredge and Miranda could very well end up with a smash success on their hands. But right now, it just needs a little something extra to push it into that category.