Posted in Comics

Weekly Comic Review: Nailbiter

That’s taking it a bit far.

Hi all. Yes, there is another regular segment on the site. In my unending quest to represent all of my hobbies as some form of content on this site, I have added a weekly comic review. This segment will be weekly, which gives me a reason to buy more comic books. Hooray wallet.

This week, I’ve got the lowdown on a series which I thought looked really interesting upon initial release but never had the time to get into. Now, all this time later, I have finally gotten the chance to read some Nailbiter, from Image comics.

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Written by Joshua Williamson and drawn by Mike Henderson, Nailbiter follows the mystery of the Buckaroo Butchers, a series of serial killers who all came from the same town of Buckaroo, Oregon. Years after capturing the latest of the Butchers, Edward “Nailbiter” Warren, Agent Charles Carroll calls his friend from the NSA, Nicholas Finch, and tells him that he has discovered the secret behind the Butchers and why all of these killers came from the same town. He asks Finch to come to the town of Buckaroo where the madness began. When Finch arrives, he finds that Carroll has disappeared and to find him he must work with the “Nailbiter” Warren himself, who was found “not guilty” of his crimes and lives on the outskirts of Buckaroo.

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Now so far I’ve only read the first two trade paperbacks worth of issues, so that is the first 10 issues. I am quite behind, and it will take me a little while to get up to date, but I thought it would be a good idea to provide my insight regarding what I’ve read up to now.

While 10 issues is not really enough for me to have a great idea, I am pretty okay with the pacing so far. It is just hard to tell given that I don’t know how long the whole thing will go. From the hints that have been dropped, if I were to assume that it will end sooner than later, then I’d say we have about 20-30 more issues left max. That said, I think the whole path we see in front of us is laid out very well. Remember, I have a view of the first 10 issues over two TPB’s. With a comic of this assumed length, that is just enough time to set up: setting, main characters with their general backstories, an “obvious” story path and miscellaneous stuff such as dropping hints that will be clear much later on.

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Within in these first 10 issues, all of these are pretty well-covered. Rather than develop the mystery a great deal, we get hints of future plot details, we get a lot of interesting character development and past plot details through interlaced flashback sequences, and we are shown a unique setting full of murderous intent. There is really not much I can complain about, but…

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There isn’t too much I can say as a positive either. While at first I was happy that it was what I expected, in retrospect I’m a bit sad that it was as predictable as it was. Characters acted the way I thought they would, motives are all relatively the same (either hopelessly naive or blindly villainous), and the plot followed a predictable pattern. While it has only been the first 10 issues, it is not good that we have already reached a routine. Great comics tend to experiment early and test the limits within the first slew of issues. It is okay to take risks early for two reasons: there is more of a chance that the writer discovers a better path to take than what they originally imagined, and the readers can’t predict how things are going to go.

This is doubly important for a comic like Nailbiter. This comic is supposed to be scary, but you don’t want to look away. This can be achieved through this technique of unpredictability. Sadly, the route taken was just a bit predictable for me, so that just took out some of the thrill and as a result I was taken out of the book. That being said, I still enjoyed reading it.

But I think I could’ve enjoyed it MORE…. is all I’m sayin’…

Well that’s all for now folks. I will definitely get around to reviewing Nailbiter again when I get around to reading much more of it. Hopefully it defeats my early assumptions. That said, thanks for reading and have a great day!

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