I picked this series up to review in hopes I’d get back to enjoying the book, but this ninth issue might be the least I’ve enjoyed Nailbiter so far. The first few issues proved to be a promising new horror title from Image with a captivating concept and vibrant art. However, it’s dwindled down in my opinion from the first few issues and is left treading water. For any comic, or any artistic medium for that matter, to be successful in my opinion it needs to have an emotional connection with the consumer. That doesn’t mean you have to cry for a character when they die or punch a hole in the wall when a villain outsmarts your favorite superhero, but you should feel something. And I didn’t feel anything reading this issue-which I absolutely should in a horror comic. I feel like they’ve taken a bunch of clichés recently that are phobias of people and just throw it into the issues and it just comes off as cheap and hackneyed. For this issue and last issue, it’s bees. Also, Warren hides underneath Crane’s bed and kisses her hand instead of biting it before escaping out the window.
The most horrifying thing about this issue is that in the letters section, writer Joshua Williamson confesses to be incredibly proud of the Warren hiding under the bed idea. Here’s a quote from him referring to the idea: “BOOM! That’ll be super creepy, right? So I wrote it up, excited like a little kid on his way to the comic shop…” it goes on from there. This book has gotten very superficial and far from what it started as. It seems like it’s come down to whatever Williamson feels is cool or edgy or scary just gets thrown into the book. But it doesn’t hit home. You have books like Deadly Class where Remender was there and experienced many things he puts in the book. Same with Snyder and Wytches. Sure, they’re rooted in fiction but there should be some personality and connection to the book from the writer. It just disappoints me that the aforementioned idea is something that excites him when the rest of the comic doesn’t go anywhere. Basically this issue consisted of a school bus driver driving a bunch of kids who go to school in Buckaroo way past the school to another town so they don’t become serial killers. He’s driven three of the Buckaroo killers to school when they were kids and doesn’t want the trend to continue. He drives them to a lake and seemingly wants to baptize them or something in the water.
Roger also gets consumed by the bees his grandfather concocts and the grandfather is pursued by a mysterious figure. At this point I honestly couldn’t care less who that even was. I had to go look back to even remember that it happened. I know many other reviewers have been giving this book high praise, but I think it hasn’t been worth giving praise for multiple issues now. I really loved Williamson’s writing on Ghosted, but that started to falter for me after the first ten issues or so. Birthright is incredible so far, but that’s only four issues in as of today. Nailbiter continues to disappoint, but I still have some hope it can return to how good it once was.
Writer: Joshua Williamson Artist: Mike Henderson Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 1/7/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital