The first issue of Nailbiter, the latest series to tackle the always-compelling world of the serial killer, kept its cards fairly close to its chest. It did a great job setting out the premise of the town of Buckeroo, Oregon, which has churned out some of the most reprehensible serial killers in history, and introduced us to the somewhat weary, cynical Nicholas Finch and his attempts to get to the bottom of the recent disappearance of his friend and colleague.
For this second instalment, Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson tip their hand just a little, giving us a few more juicy details about Finch’s background, as well as the background of local Sheriff Shannon Crane, and – most interestingly of all – introducing us to the titular ‘Nailbiter’ himself, the (inexplicably) acquitted serial killer Edward Warren.
Williamson ramps up the tension throughout, and seems to take great pleasure in the restrained, almost playful demeanour of Warren as he toys with his guests. He also keeps things moving with a frantic action scene midway through the book in which the sense of urgency is firmly on display. And just when we start getting sucked in deeper and deeper into this story, we find ourselves hanging on an impressive hook (though thankfully, again, not literally) and dying to find out just what happens next.
As with the first issue, the artwork of Mike Henderson ties the whole package together beautifully here with a somewhat restrained approach which is punctuated by several fantastically memorable visual beats. His characters are expressive, his framing and layouts keep everything moving forwards fluidly, and he does a fantastic job of introducing us to some of the other “Buckeroo Butchers” in one particularly vivid page.
Overall, this is a book that – as I mentioned before – gets deep under your skin. There’s a lot going on here, from the interactions of the main characters to the mystery of Carroll’s disappearance to the truth behind the town itself, and I get the impression we’re only just getting started in what is likely to be a dizzying spiral into a sickening world of violence and depravity. Well, we can only hope, right? Buy this book. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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