Dennis is an FBI agent working undercover, building up a case against a sick serial killer named Walter. He’s spent a year with his mark, and he’s losing patience. While going in for the (metaphorical) kill, Dennis’s plan is interrupted when an old rival-turned-cult-leader informs him that the life of his estranged daughter is in her hands. Can Dennis stop her … with Walter’s help? Well, as long as the right Vinyl is playing.

Serial killers and cults and vinyl … oh my! This comic has all the right ingredients going for it to pique my interest. Described as “Dexter meets Nailbiter,” this book had me all in.

This is the part where you enter the record scratch noise.

Almost from the get-go, this book lost me. The cold open is somewhat intriguing with intensity and action and a zombie-looking chick, but I had no idea what was going on. Then, we go into a flashback to provide context, but even that was messy. We’re basically told that Dennis has been on this year-long mission, and the venom portrayed in his voice and mannerisms effectively shows how he feels about Walter. But there wasn’t enough time to get caught up in the cat-and-mouse game between these two characters before a second storyline is thrown into the bloody mix.

The introduction of this murderous cult had the potential to add a human, emotional hook to the story with the estranged daughter angle, but alas, that ability to empathize stayed as far away as Dennis’s daughter in the single panel we see her. The book then moves on to another confusing action-break-in sequence that only added to my frustration by the time I got to what should have been a thrilling cliffhanger.

The book goes for a dark comedy vibe, and the art effectively captures that spirit. Walter projects the right amount of aloofness paired with depravity, and Dennis’s frustration is palpable. The gratuitous amounts of gore is sure to send some readers away–you get the point that it’s not all sunflowers and roses with the viscous blood and sticky body parts that fly around.

Overall, I feel that Vinyl is trying too hard. There’s a certain point where storytellers are trying to wrap a tale in so much mystery that the ultimate product is frustrating and befuddling, akin to a thrifted vinyl record that skips and fuzzes and defeats the purpose of the music.

Vinyl #1


Cold Open With Gore and Zombie and ?


Lack of Chemistry between leads


Lack of any human connection between father and daughter


Derivative flower-child cult


Gory artwork that captures dark comedy vibe



  • Writer: Doug Wagner
  • Artist: Daniel Hillyard
  • Colorist: Dave Stewart
  • Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
  • Publisher: Image Comics
Michael Farris Jr.
Michael is a Virginia-born Idaho convert (stuck in Georgia) and a huge fan of sci-fi. He took time off from comics and sci-fi during the dark years of being a teenager and trying to impress girls, but has since married an amazing woman with whom he regularly can geek out and be himself. He's also a drummer, loves metal music, and can always be found in a melancholy state while watching all things DC sports.

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