Saturday, October 29, 2016

Disco Comics: Nailbiter #5

Nailbiter #5 (Sept 2014)
I’m seriously intrigued, whatever this is.

Writing: Joshua Williamson
Art: Mike Henderson

My local comic book store is selling very old comics that no one wants for 50c each. I’m a cheap bastard and I love hating things so these are my Discount Comics.

The deal with Nailbiter is that it’s an ongoing mystery story set in a small, Pacific Northwest town where federal agents and local law enforcement try to find out why so many of its residents become serial killers. Its visuals are wasted on the excessive dialog and this issue had a plug for a tie-in book. Those Issue 1 sales numbers must’ve been encouraging.

Nailbiter shows why things like this should be released as graphic novels. Why place a mystery at the center of an ongoing story? Mysteries do not work that way. Either you have an indefinite deferred mystery story or end up running plot threads of multiple plot threads all over the book and it becomes possible for the reader to engage or suspend disbelief. Nailbiter could lean on intricate characterization, but it’s just a dump truck of stock characters who are distinguished visually and by their hidden motivations.

By the way, Nailbiter went with “indefinite deferment.” In this one issue, a new FBI agent appears, a lead character is is accused of murder, a third serial killer appears—there were two before—a kid goes missing, someone central to the conspiracy is murdered, the only suspect is released because law enforcement couldn’t move the story forward any better than Joshua fucking Williams, and that suspect saves the protagonist which sets Mystery Number One back to zero. Also the previous investigator is still in a coma and an exhausting heterosexual romance between two white people in their twenties is hinted at.

I have zero investment in this story and I was still frustrated at how busily it marked time.


SkilTao said...

The page loaded, I saw that art, and immediately I had low expectations for the story. Probably just that it's the style of art that was taking over cartoons around the time I stopped watching cartoons as a kid.

The series premise seems promising enough.

I forget, have you read Xenozoic Tales? The writer who took over at the end had some of those same problems. Wonder how long it takes a novice writer to grow out of them; for your sake, I hope your 50c reads are at least varied somewhat in their flaws.

VanVelding said...

Huh. The art was what grabbed me. I think we've established I've got bad cover judgment. Don't recall when, but I feel like we have.

I'm not even sure I've heard of Xenozoic Tales. It's bookmarked though.

But these better be varied: