Published on July 2nd, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
Nailbiter #3 – Comic Review
In the last issue bully boy Hank got himself strung up outside the town store with his nails all chewed up. When the locals find out they get all suited and booted for a spot of vigilante justice and head out to Edward ‘The Nailbiter’ Warren’s homestead. This leads to the inevitable intervention by FBI agent Finch and Sheriff Crane who go to extreme lengths to save the serial killer from the pitchfork burning mob.
After placing Warren in jail (something Sheriff Crane has been dreaming of for a long time) for his own protection, the investigating pair gets a visit from the towns Mortician who, not surprisingly, is also an expert on the town’s serial killers. The evidence that Morty (terrible nickname which he appears to resent) throws the case wide open and adds further levels of mystery to the story.
The gore in previous issues isn’t as prevalent this month as the narrative takes a step from horror to terror. A Slasher Film like sequence in the mortuary maybe telegraphed from the first few panels (the police go to look at the body while the lights flicker on and off? A pretty big cliché) but it is planned and drawn out brilliantly to increase the tension in the scene. There is almost a heartbeat pace to the sequence with the occasional blacked out panels and the appearance and disappearance of a mysterious cloaked figure. It flows effortlessly and terrifyingly from start to finish and the ending has the first possible supernatural element in the comic.
Mike Henderson’s composition, especially in the mortuary scene, is expertly designed and executed. He knows when to focus on close up’s and when to pull back and give us a full view of the action. The tone and atmosphere of the story wouldn’t work if the art wasn’t right, wasn’t plotted out and didn’t focus on the relevant aspects of the scene. One of the biggest mistakes of horror films is that they show the threat too soon, this happens a lot in comics as well but Henderson has his timing spot on. You know something is coming but it is still a disturbing shock when it appears in the panel.
Joshua Williamson has produced another clever and witty script to rival Kevin Williamson’s Scream screenplay. It contains everything you could want from a serial killer/slasher/mystery story with a whole heap of humour piled on top. Plus there are twists and turns that you won’t see coming which is the real novelty of this comic, it would be so easy to push out a Silence of the Lambs rehash but Williamson (Joshua) is so much smarter than that. He is giving the reader something more and as such we can’t tell where he is going with the story, as I mentioned earlier it’s very possible this could go down the supernatural path or may even have a Scooby Doo style set up where the whole thing has been cleverly organised by a single, twisted mind. Pick up next month to find out.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson