Friday, October 10, 2014

Nailbiter Volume 1: There Will Be Blood

WARNING: The following review contains descriptions of a disturbing violent act. Please read with caution.

Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Mike Henderson

     Nailbiter focuses on the town of Buckaroo, Oregon, home to a whopping 16 serial killers. Nicholas Finch gets a call from FBI Agent Carroll, who tells Finch he's figured out the mystery as to why there's so many from one town. But when Finch gets there, Carroll is missing, and the only lead he has is Edward Warren, aka the Nailbiter, an acquitted serial killer who bit the fingernails off of his victims.
     A book that builds itself around a mystery like this has to pay off big, which unfortunately means it's too early to tell anything about the long game. The plus side: there are enough other mysteries being set up that there is plenty to keep you coming back. Every small detail and every new plot twist seems like it's building up for something bigger and bigger. While this leaves the first volume as primarily setup, it's a fantastic setup. And we also get introduced to the town of Buckaroo as a whole. There's support groups for people who were relatives of the serial killers. There's a man running a gift shop of killer memorabilia and trying to get a convention to come to the town. And then there's the people who just want to go through a normal life in an abnormal town. It's a fascinating locale that I want to see more of.
     And Henderson's art brings it to life. The best word I can think of for it is dynamic. His less realistic art style means that the book stays vibrant, but when there's acts of violence he brings blood and darkness to it. And the character designs bring extra to the characters' personalities. Warren's so carefree that it's hard to believe he's a killer, and Henderson's art makes him charming and all the more dangerous.

     There Will Be Blood is creepy, unsettling, and fascinating. If the book can keep up its level of personality, Nailbiter will be a winner of a horror comic.

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