If you recall, fellow reviewer Greg Silber took a look at the first issue of Nailbiter and handed down a score of a 7.5. Honestly, that probably would have been my score as well. However, we got the second issue now and it’s time to see where things lead us now! Is it good?
Nailbiter #2 (Image Comics)
Nicolas Finch and Sheriff Shannon Crane pay serial killer Edward Warren, aka Nailbiter, a little visit to see if he knows or had anything to do with Finch’s friend’s mysterious disappearance. It doesn’t seem like it, but the officers won’t have much time to think about it. Trouble starts brewing back in town.
I’m calling shenanigans on this verdict! What’s the actual damn reason for this?
Reading this comic, I kept getting the vibe from the TV show Hannibal (or Silence of the Lambs, like the actual characters reference in the book itself). It’s got a similar tone and feel to it, along with a similar setup with the characters’ traits. In a way, for the fans of the show (or that movie), they may be drawn more into this book than others if they want something like it in a way.
That being said, this comic is still trudging along slowly. If the first issue was the first 10 minutes of a TV plot, then this was the next 10 minutes of the plot. Subplots and mysteries are being created, more minor character development, and a story that is only slowly getting off the ground now. This wouldn’t be too bad if you were reading this in trade format or you read this back to back with the last issue, but after a month of waiting and having to deal with another month of waiting for the next issue, this pacing is not helping the book remotely or keeping the audience interested.
The rest of the writing is actually pretty decent despite its problems. The characters do feel unique and different from one another, with different personalities and ways they speak. The tone is nice and gloomy, helping keep the eerie and horror factor of the book (even though there is nothing of horror until halfway through). The dialogue is decent and no one sounds off or awkward. The ending is pretty good as well and may finally be what gets the story going. If the pacing was better, this would have been a solid issue.
… What exactly happened here? Was he pushed, punched, or shoved out of the door?
The artwork is where I’m really iffy here. It’s nice with how well it builds and creates the atmosphere, captures the horror scenes very well, and has some decent enough looking locations and characters. Otherwise, however, it’s quite flawed. The panel layouts are easy to follow, but boring. Character facial expressions feel and look limited, like they can’t properly convey what the person is feeling or how they are acting at points. There are some odd transitions that don’t flow well or convey an action that good, like the panel above. I know Finch tossed Edward out, but how exactly, especially when they were facing the opposite direction of the exit to begin with?
Is It Good?
Nailbiter #2 is not a bad book. Just one that is being held back by its own pacing and structure, not really getting the story moving too quickly and slowing down the momentum it could be building. The story is interesting enough, especially with the cliffhanger left, and the artwork works in capturing the mood. However, the book is still needing some work done before it can be something truly worth your time.