Nailbiter #1 (Image)

CREDIT: Image Comics

Rating: 4/5 – Want to Know Where Serial Killers Come From?  Read This!
by Comicspectrum Reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

From the cover alone you get the sense that Nailbiter isn’t going to be the most pleasant of stories. Writer Joshua Williamson who has previously written the fantastic Ghosted series from Image and artist Mike Henderson who has worked on Marvel’s Venom and the TMNT books launch another new series at Image that puts the focus on serial killers, and what makes them who they are. It’s yet another entertaining and successful launch by Image that combines both great story and art with a touch of horror.

The story opens with the cops on the hunt for the serial killer known as the Nailbiter. Just why he’s called the Nailbiter is explained within the issue, but what’s more frightening is the fact that he’s also known as Buckaroo Butcher #16. He’s the sixteenth serial killer from the town of Buckaroo, Oregon and that’s where the story starts to differ from serial killer stories of the past, and what makes this premise so unique. We embark on the journey to find out why this town is producing so many killers through an NSA agent who has deeper issues of his own. Although the middle scene of the story drags on a bit too long, overall the writing is tightly paced.

I was very impressed with both Joshua Williamson’s story and Mike Henderson’s art. I’m a big fan of Henderson’s character work. I feel as though his art comes as close to looking animated as it can, without looking cartoony. It allows his characters to have a lot of life within their facial features and body language which ultimately gives them movement. You can see this in the story’s opening page and throughout this issue.  That said, Henderson doesn’t always “sell” the locations with his art. In a story like this, I think the settings can add so much and the generally plain backgrounds didn’t give the town of Buckaroo a unique feel for me, which is unfortunate. This is minor and shouldn’t be taken as a criticism that should keep you away from the book as the overall look and feel of the story worked for me just fine. There’s so much to like though within this debut and I hope we’ll continue to see some fascinating and disturbing characters introduced.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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