Saturday, May 13, 2017

Day 194: Nailbiter

Say what you will about digital comics but sometimes they (Comixology is the one I have used the most) offer free downloads. Those free downloads led me to trying the first issue of Nailbiter and I was immediately hooked on this Image horror title.

Written by Joshua Williamson and drawn by Mike Henderson, the comic tells the story of a small town named Buckaroo, Oregon. The town has spawned about 18 famous serial killers in the past 30 years, the most infamous of whom is the Nailbiter. He chews off the ends of his victims fingers when he kills them, you see. The plot kicks in when Nicholas Finch, a former military interrogator, is summoned by an old friend in the FBI to find out exactly what is going on in this sleepy little town. Finch teams up with the local sheriff and a rebellious teen to slowly unravel why so many killers come from the town...and who will the next set of victims.

While I have tried his other supernatural series, Ghosted, I prefer Williamson's work on Nailbiter hands down (pun intended). The whole thing plays out a bit like Twin Peaks with various colorful characters coming and going and adding to the mystery. There are moments of high tension and great cliffhangers. My only real complaint is the seemingly abrupt ending. The series ended at issue 30 but it felt like a huge exposition dump that could have been spread more artfully over a few more issues.

As with all comic art, your enjoyment will be subjective. The cartoonish quality of Henderson's work keeps it from being stomach churning in some of the more gruesome moments. A more detailed or realistic style would definitely lean it more into gore, which doesn't suit the story.

If you want a good, suspenseful horror comic with lots of creative killers, check out Nailbiter.

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