Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Mike Henderson
Published by Image Comics
Release date: November 5, 2014
Nailbiter has been an exciting and intriguing book since the first issue, and the seventh installment in the series is no different, as prolific Marvel Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis joins the book’s cast of characters to dig deeper into the town of Buckaroo’s history.
I was a little disconcerted to see Bendis in the book, unsure as to whether series scribe Joshua Williamson was using Bendis’ name to draw attention to the series or simply as a method of exposition. After reading the issue though, my concerns disappeared as Bendis’ role in the book serves to help the reader gain further insight into Buckaroo and its citizens. Bendis comes to Buckaroo to learn what makes this town different, and why so many serial killers have their origins here, a question we have all wanted answered from the beginning. It really could have been anybody in Bendis’ role though.
Many books and movies have used a journalist or a writer to guide readers through the clues of a mystery. Unlike in those clichéd stories though, Bendis quickly learns that he isn’t wanted there by anyone, and that the mysteries of Buckaroo are only to be explored by its inhabitants, not outsiders.
Williamson’s pacing and dialogue are spot on, as usual exposing only as much information as is needed to move a scene along while simultaneously exploring and expanding this world. There are some very powerful scenes including a series of panels revealing the citizens of Buckaroo’s – Buckaroos? – reactions to Bendis presence and questioning. The interaction between Bendis and Warren – the titular Nailbiter – was a very revealing look at Warren’s personality and values and among some of the best panels of dialogue I have seen written in any book.
A story as good as this should be complimented with strong art and Mike Henderson continues to impress in that department. The art can be simple at times but it is the imagery conveyed in each and every panel that really helps drive the story and immerse the reader in this world.
Nailbiter #7 is packed full of emotion and exposition which will delight existing readers of the series, and should peak the interest of anyone picking the book up for the first time. The book definitely has a macabre feel to it, but if you’re looking for an engrossing detective story, this is a series you do not want to miss.