Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson
Release: May 7, 2014
The small town of Buckaroo, Oregon has produced 16 of the world’s worst serial killers. There was The Silent Movie Killer, who really hated it when people talked during films, The Blonde, who had a unique way of responding to catcalls, and, of course, The Nailbiter, who … well, that cover image kind of speaks for itself. But what is it about this town that breeds so many monsters? When army intelligence officer Nicholas Finch gets a call from a friend claiming to have figured out what links all of the Buckaroo Butchers, he arrives just in time for more mayhem.
Though strongly influenced by past murderers — both real and fictional, from Jeffery Dahmer to Norman Bates — writer Joshua Williamson approaches his serial killer tale from a very different place. Rather than offer up another cat-and-mouse murder story, he explores the toll such evil takes on the community surrounding these atrocities. It’s a perspective ripe with nuance. The lives of both Finch and Sheriff Crane weave through the visceral trail of destruction left by the killers. The story should only get more gripping as the layers peel back.
Artist Mike Henderson does a fantastic job with the gloomy landscapes of overcast Oregon. But let’s face facts, you don’t pick up a book like this for the landscapes, and the gore certainly pulls its weight. The glimpses of blood and guts in the first two issues feel more like a teaser for the undoubtedly sicker stuff to come (fingers crossed!).
Williamson and Henderson have built a vast playground to run wild in. Putting this different twist on the genre opens up so many explorable avenues of psychosis and violence that it’s hard to resist the allure of new derangements with each issue. In the end, Nailbiter stands on a premise so instantly enticing that you can almost see the movie trailer.