Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson
Released Date: 6th April, 2016
For those unfamiliar with the series, Nailbiter is the story of Buckaroo, a Twin Peaks-esque US town infamous as being the birthplace of the “Buckaroo Butchers”, sixteen serial killers who turned to murder after leaving their hometown. The most infamous of these is the eponymous Edward Warren, a cannibal sensationally cleared of murder for as yet unspecified reasons.
Volume three ended with FBI agent Carroll awakening from his coma and Warren going into hiding, leaving Sheriff Crane, NSA agent Finch and FBI agent Barker at a crossroads; Crane struggling to deal with her relationship to her now critically-injured daughter, Finch about to finally stand trial for his murderous interrogation and Barker experiencing violent visions brought on by her nightmarish ordeal with ‘The Master’ – seemingly at the centre of the mystery – in the subterranean caverns below the town.
And with this fourth collection the series continues to delight and yet oddly frustrate in equal measure, as the narrative splits between Georgia and Buckaroo, throwing up five more questions for every one answered. The townsfolk all have a connection to the killings in some way, whether as mere blood relations to the murderers or something altogether more sinister. Writer Joshua Williamson is marvelous at parceling out information and plot-turns slowly and deliberately, but it’s getting to the point where I find myself wanting the big picture to become a little more distinct, as 20 odd issues down the line and we still have no clear idea of what the secret is, despite it’s allusions to “higher ups”, Aztec cults and the like.
It’s still a fantastic, engaging read though populated with fascinating characters and genuinely shocking moments, all of which is wonderfully wrought by Mike Henderson’s clean lines, bold compositions and beautifully muted colour palette. I just doubt I’ll have any fingernails left though by the end of volume 5 if it continues in this vein.
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The writer of this piece was: Chris Downs