Advance Review: Nailbiter #1
Buckaroo, Oregon has given birth to sixteen of the vilest serial killers in the world. An obsessed FBI profiler investigating the town has suddenly gone missing, and now an NSA Agent must work with the notorious serial killer Edward “Nailbiter” Warren to find his friend and solve the mystery of “Where do serial killers come from?”
A new serial killer thriller from Image Comics kicks off this May in the pages of Nailbiter #1, although I did get a peek at issue #2 as well. The series is written by Joshua Williamson with art by Mike Henderson. Adam Guzowski handles colors with John J. Hill tackling lettering. So does Nailbiter have you on the edge of your seat, or is it a bad habit you shouldn’t pick up?
There’s a town in Oregon called Buckaroo that is the home of sixteen of the most notorious and brutal serial killers in the world. An FBI profiler named Carroll has made it his goal to figure out what connects all sixteen killers and the town that spawned them. He thinks he’s found the missing piece. That’s when he calls up his old buddy Nicholas Finch from Army Intelligence. Finch is a man with a dark and troubled past, but Carroll pulls him out of his funk for a brief time. The only problem is that when Nicholas comes to town, Carroll is gone and nobody knows why. Strange things happen in Buckaroo, and the only man that could possibly hold the answers is notorious serial killer Edward “Nailbiter” Warren, who was acquitted even though he was guilty as sin. While the serial killers are bad enough, the entire town of Buckaroo may be the strangest thing of all. Can Nicholas make himself work with the former (?) serial killer? Had Carroll really stumbled on the secret of Buckaroo, Oregon? Is he still alive?
Williamson writes a thrilling and chilling issue. He creates a serial killer who has an affinity for chewing his victim’s nails (and fingers) down to the bone before killing them. In a world of Dexter, Law & Order, and more CSIs than you can shake a stick out, it’s a real triumph to create a fresh serial killer who can still creep you out and give you a bit of a fright. What that says about Williamson’s mind I don’t know, but it makes for a great story. The town of serial killers plays more straightforward and dramatic than some similar stories have managed, another plus in Williamson’s column. This is a complex and dark story that really pulls you in. Henderson’s art is a perfect fit for the series. Henderson has some sharp linework that makes for some very clean and striking characters. This is a beautifully drawn book with some great layouts. The artist makes it grim and gritty, but there’s enough of an edge to keep it from being completely horrific. Guzowski’s colors help out with that. The lighting is almost cinematic in the way things are shaded and the directions the light bounces off things and characters. It’s a sharp presentation that works with Henderson’s sharper art. The town really comes alive with a neon glow that just looks nothing short of stunning.
Bottom Line: Nailbiter delivers a killer issue. Williamson and company have created a story that pulls you in from page one and guarantees you’ll be sticking around to see what happens in Buckaroo, Oregon. The first two issues set up an incredibly intriguing story that separates itself from all other offerings in this particular genre. 5/5
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