Monday, May 25, 2015

Quick Review: Nailbiter Vol. 1

This is my third stab at Joshua Williamson's work, and I'm not sure if it was the wretchedness of the first two or if I had too much coffee today or what, but I actually ... slightly liked this one.  I was entertained by it, let's say.  I don't think it is Great Comic Art or an Epic Storyline, but at least this one felt semi-competent and wasn't dead in the water thanks to utterly craptastic art (Ghosted, I'm looking at you).  Yeah, it's pretty formulaic, but that's kind of the definition of a police procedural.  It definitely wasn't as weird/boring as that weird space procedural comic I read and have now evidently blocked from my memory.



In Buckaroo, Oregon, something strange is happening.  Or was happening.  Buckaroo has produced a veritable soccer team of serial killers in the last few decades.  Each one has a very peculiar, and usually slightly silly, M.O., but no one can find the link between the killers and their hometown.  Until a disgraced information retrieval specialist named Nicholas Finch receives a phone call from his buddy Carroll, who's been obsessed with the phenomenon for a long time.  His friend needs him in Buckaroo, pronto.

Immediately upon arriving, Finch notices that Buckaroo has definitely made the most of its sordid reputation.  A fellow named Willard runs a story selling serial killer props and memorabilia, and justifies it by explaining that his grandaddy was one of the famed serial killers.  Anything for a quick buck.  After gallantly saving a loner teen girl from some doofus jocks, Finch teams up with local sheriff Shannon Crane.  Carroll is missing, and the #1 suspect is Edward Charles Warren, the Nailbiter, serial killer, hometown boy, and acquitted of 45 counts of first-degree murder.  Awkwardness ensues when we find out Crane and Warren used to date in high school.  "My Prom Date Was a Flesh-Eating Serial Killer!"--new Lifetime Movie Event.

Crane and Finch criss-cross the town in search of what happened to Carroll, and the case becomes increasingly suspicious when the slummy hotel where he was staying burns to the ground.  Then, more people--dressed up as now-dead serial killers--are themselves killed.  The catch?  The Nailbiter was either with the police or incarcerated for his own protection when all of these crimes occurred.

So the serial killers are pretty corny--I mean, if Scooby-Doo were rated R, they'd be Scooby-Doo-level serial killers.  And yeah, the art's nothing special.  It's not Albuquerque, for example, who I still think is my favorite horror comic artist.  But it's also not horrible, which was the downfall of Ghosted.  The story does make sense, which was the downfall of Birthright.  So, by those criteria, it was a much easier comic to read and I was, yes, entertained by it.

It remains to be seen if this improves or stays at this wiffle-waffling level of ehhhh-maybe-it-could-be-good, but I'll check out volume two when the library gets it.  Just out of curiosity.

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