Review - Nefarious Nights, Dreadful Days #1

"Heed the warning!"

Nefarious Nights, Dreadful Days #1 wants to offer readers something along the lines of horror. The first story is called "Curse of the Nail" and it's got a very distinct Drag Me to hell feel to it. The issue is written by Julya Oui and illustrated by Edwin Kho.

Lewis is privy to a very unique situation. That situation is a roommate with a nail that's more than just a nail. It represents a curse of sorts, a curse that has the potential to be deadly for whoever is cursed by it. Needless to say, that curse is something that Lewis would rather not have wished on him, but sometimes fate has a way of not really playing by the rules.

Oui's story is pretty classic in terms of the terror induced by the curse. The thing is though that the issue is only eleven pages, which doesn't really give the nail itself that much time to establish itself as a truly horrible cursed object. There's a lot of build up throughout the issue as Oui describes how the nail has had an effect on its current bearer to the present, but the payoff is pretty empty. There's a rather ominous ending that's setting things up for a follow-up tale, but the short story really hurts any chances of it being truly terrifying. The suspense is carried through the story pretty well though, despite the fact that the ending isn't really all that scary.

Kho's illustrations are very clean and cartoonish. It moves back and forth between anime-inspired art and cleaner, more exact lines. There are some interesting perspectives chosen for certain aspects of the book and the two main characters are illustrated with rather great disparity. The difference helps accentuate both sides of the curse and the fear of the curse is readily apparent on behalf of both of the characters. The black and white chosen also helps keep the tone of the book rather dark and ominous, with the true terror of the curse left up to the reader's imagination thanks to some vague shadows and light accents.

Nefarious Nights, Dreadful Days #1 would probably be better served as an anthology and less of a first issue. The short story really only builds up to a vague payoff that would strangely make a lot more sense if it was part of a larger anthology. The title is sure to continue with other short stories down the road, but the creative team might be better served by collecting three or four of them in anthologies. The broader framework offered by the anthology format would generate better context for the expected scare factor. Nefarious Nights, Dreadful Days #1 does offer some excellent art that works very well with the story and it's got good pacing overall, despite the somewhat unsatisfactory payoff.

Nefarious Nights, Dreadful Days #1 is available on comixology now.