"Nailbiter #8" 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 December 3rd, 2014
After two breather issues where we explored some of the other areas of Buckaroo, Oregon, Nailbiter gets back to the main plot thread with Army interrogator Finch looking for answers as to what happened to his friend, FBI agent Carroll, currently in a coma and missing a few limbs. Carroll had come to town trying to figure out why it birthed sixteen of the world's worst serial killers. Since Finch arrived in search of his buddy, the body count has risen and no one is sure who is behind it. Now we figure out what's going on with all those bees.
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Bees have been a staple of the town and we didn't really know why until now. It seems that honey was one of the main local businesses before the bees suddenly started dying off. It's a touchy subject in the area. We don't know if the insects have anything to do with the Buckaroo Butchers yet, but there are certainly some creepy elements. The first two pages of this issue show a closeup of someone dismantling a bee with careful precision while a strange song plays in the background. It's disturbing to read through, like a grownup version of a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. This is a more refined act, done with purpose, but I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse. Artist Mike Henderson did a fantastic job with this scene.
Writer Joshua Williamson ratchets up the tension throughout the book. Buckaroo has become a powder keg due to the recent killings, with news crews lining up looking to break a story and a local preacher riling up the townsfolk. You can practically feel the clenched fists of Sheriff Crane as she tries to deal with this mess with some level of civility, even though she thinks they're all full of crap. She's been helping Finch with his investigation, but she's playing things close to the vest when it comes to the other people that have tried to stick their noses in this business. She seems to be reaching a breaking point based on how she lets loose on the shooting range.
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This issue has a real horror movie feel to it. Obviously the whole series has been horror to begin with, but this time around you can almost hear the soundtrack beginning to creep up as Finch looks into a local honey farm. Something's not right here, but he's not sure what just yet. There's a great page towards the end of the issue where Finch is involved in a standoff. It's broken up into six nearly identical panels with the "camera" looking through the window of the house. Although you only see the shadows of each character and you have no view of their facial expressions, it's the tensest scene in the book.
Nailbiter is the kind of comic that you will ravenously read through, reaching the end far too quickly. After letting us catch our breath with the last two issues, Williamson picks up right where he left off at the end of the first trade paperback, with a murder mystery filled with tense thrills that cannot be missed.