"Nailbiter #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Mike Henderson
2014, 32 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on September 3rd, 2014
After one of the best cliffhanger endings in recent memory, Nailbiter returns with more bloodshed. Army interrogator Nicholas Finch has found FBI Agent Eliot Carroll, who was missing after he became obsessed with the town of Buckaroo, Oregon (an area that has produced sixteen of the world's worst serial killers). The story is far from over though, as there's a new killer wreaking havoc in the town and it's somehow related to the previous Buckaroo Butchers.
At the center...or maybe just a little to the left of it, is Edward Charles Warren. Until this new guy showed up, he was the most recent serial killer to come out of Buckaroo and he gives the comic its title, as he would bite the fingernails off his victims. He continues to be a slimy individual that you simultaneously want to strangle to death and have a long conversation with about life, the universe, and everything. He makes Hannibal Lector look boring. It's clear that he knows more than he's letting on, and he's playing Finch and Sheriff Crane (his high school prom date!). Deep down under all the death and pain he's caused, there's a heart, so it's only a matter of time before he starts revealing his hand.
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It's impossible not to get pulled into the mystery of Buckaroo. Writer Joshua Williamson has crafted a helluva story that just keeps getting better. I'm dying to know who the latest killer is and what kind of ties he (or she?) has to the community and the history of the Butchers. The opening pages of this issue feature a flashback conversation between Warren and Carroll, presumably after the former was arrested. It leaves off with Warren telling Carroll that if he continues digging into this, it'll cost him. The page flip shows what some of that cost looks like. It's shocking and not unlike a sudden scare you'd get from a horror movie. That is very difficult to do in comics, but Williamson and artist Mike Henderson pulled it off beautifully.
Speaking of Henderson, the artwork in Nailbiter continues to deliver. Whether it's a quiet moment like when Warren explains how he killed people to a young girl at the police station or in an intense action scene in which fire rages around the new Buckaroo Butcher, you will find yourself completely engrossed within this book. As Finch and Crane decide their next steps, everything seems pretty normal. It's like your average cop show. When they discover a hot lead that puts them face-to-face with the new killer, everything is turned up to 11 and suddenly you're in a whole new world.
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Nailbiter just keeps getting better. It's one of the best comics currently on the stands. It's consistently at the top of my “To Read” pile each month. This is the kind of comic where you'll finish an issue and demand more and more because it's just not enough. You'll have to settle for re-reading the previous issues, looking for clues to solve the mystery.