Nailbiter #1

by F.D. White on May 06, 2014

Written by: Joshua Williamson
Pencils by: Mike Henderson
Colors by: Adam Guzowski

I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers, and I think for the most part, so has America. We dramatize them in films, follow them fervently on the news; we write books, songs, comics about them. Nailbiter knows this. Joshua Williamson takes our lust for the macabre and disturbed, and puts it at the forefront of the series. The premise is somewhat simple at first glance: the town of Buckaroo, Oregon has produced 16 serial killers (lovingly called The Buckaroo Butchers), and we want to know why. In issue #1 we’re introduced to two of them: The Book Burner, and the titular Nailbiter. These 16 psychopaths will be the stars of the show.

But they won’t be the main characters. The lead of Nailbiter is Finch, a detective who is dealing with some series emotional trauma. Without revealing too much, he’s come to Buckaroo, Oregon because his friend / old partner has potentially cracked the mystery of the Buckaroo Butchers. There’s also two somewhat strong female leads in the form of a cop and a punk-y teenager in town. They’re not given too much detail as to who they really are just yet, all we know is that they can hold themselves together in a fight. Some of their dialogue seems formulaic, like some of their quips I’ve seen a million times before. This however, isn’t necessarily a problem as this is most likely just to set up their characters on a most basic level. Hopefully, as the series progresses they’re characters will become more of their own. There’s already a big cast building for Nailbiter just in issue #1. It’ll be interesting to see how the comic juggles an expanding cast as the series goes along.

Mike Henderson’s art is rough, but cartoonish at the same time. It vaguely reminds me of Sean Murphy’s artwork. The cartoonish style doesn’t hinder the story, but actually helps to stylize it. It gives Nailbiter a very distinct look that helps to balance the dark story we’re embarking on. Henderson’s art is also complimented by Adam Guzowski’s colors which enhance Henderson’s artwork. Together they’re creating an artistically interesting book. One that I would have never expected to go with such a dark topic, but I love it. My only complaint about the art so far is that Buckaroo, Oregon doesn’t feel unique enough yet. I’m not getting a vibe about what makes this town so special.

Overall, Nailbiter #1 is a wonderful start to a fresh new series, I’m eagerly looking forward to the reveal of the rest of the Buckaroo Butchers, and the intriguing mystery that’s begun.

F.D. White bites his nails. You can follow him on twitter @fdwhite19

Our Score:


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