Nailbiter #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

Edward Charles Warren lives in infamy as a Buckaroo Butcher, a murderer whose victims all shared a bad habit for biting their nails. The Butcher title is shared amongst sixteen other homicidal maniacs from Buckaroo Oregon. The lines that connect the town’s serial killers run far deeper than merely region however and Elliot Carroll plans on uncovering the truth behind the twisted, gnarled roots that intertwine the grisly crimes painting the town’s welcome sign red. Enlisting the help from Nicholas Finch, an NSA agent with a dark temper, Carroll begins to unravel the layers of mystery, death and psychosis swirling around lives of men like the Bookburner or Edward “Nailbiter” Warren.

Joshua Williamson (Ghosted) & Mike Henderson (Masks & Mobsters, Venom) bring a frightening and sadistic story of demented killers to a small town in Oregon and attempt to answer the question “Where do serial killers come from?” with the new Image ongoing series Nailbiter. Beginning with a really sinister hook early on in the issue, Nailbiter sets out to deliver a violent and strange tale about the birthplace of pure evil.

Nailbiter gives us several things to go off in this first issue. First, the interesting and unruly past of NSA Agent Nicholas Finch, whose violent outbursts have landed him in serious trouble resulting in a suspension and an impending trial. We get to see moments of vulnerability, weakness and desperation with the character that are curious and captivating. As the issue progresses we are given a few hints, illuminating some of Finch’s past and explaining some of his behaviour throughout. Secondly we are given a glimpse into the drive of some of these killers. With only a few short pages referencing ‘Nailbiter’ Warren and his crimes in addition to a few up close scenes, the character is swiftly established as a mesmerizing prop in the grand scheme of the book. Lastly the town of Buckaroo itself has an eerie aura about it, with a murder memorabilia shop as a serious attraction and locals pulled right out of old campfire tales the town itself is an interesting enough backdrop to propel you as a reader on through the rest of the series. Mashing together the highs of a book like Bedlam (also from Image) and the dread that a character like Hannibal Lecter creates, Nailbiter is a dynamic and campy series that horror and fans of the macabre are sure to get sucked in by.

Image consistently produces some of the best in independent comics today and Nailbiter is one of the many that are coming from their camp. Joshua Williamson’s chops as a suspense and thriller writer really shine in these pages while Mike Henderson provides an appropriately miserable and dreary visual tone that captures the mood greatly. In addition to his excellent interiors, Henderson produces one of the most striking covers since Juan Ferreyra’s cover for issue #1 of Colder, a horror series from Dark Horse Comics. With a simple enough concept, Henderson makes a bloody, upsetting piece that adorns the front of issue #1 of Nailbiter and will definitely give you nightmares.

Nailbiter is a great start to sick series that attempts to delve into the mind of darkness and will surely have you giving second thought to some of your bad habits.

Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior

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