New this week, off the Image imprint, is Nailbiter #4, a continuation in the gruesome story about serial killers from writer Joshua Williamson. The art is created by Mike Henderson with Adam Guzowki doing the colors. Quick recap, sixteen of the world’s worst killers all come from Buckaroo, Oregon. The only man who figured out why has gone missing. His buddy, Agent Finch, along with Sheriff Crane have been on the hunt for him ever since.
Nailbiter starts with a front row seat to a local support group. A younger woman is telling the group how her brother was always creative, and how it looked like he was going places…until he decided to become The WTF Killer and make abstract art out of people’s sternums. Her tears are interrupted by a rude interjection from Raleigh, the guy who runs the Buckaroo Butchers Museum. It’s clear from conversation that Raleigh would like very much to turn Buckaroo, OR into a tourist destination, with exhibits on all the local nutcases and wackos that make up the town’s history.
We jump from the support group to the graveyard and catch up with Agent Finch and Detective Crane, shovels in hand. In Nailbiter #3 Finch & Crane find the body of the Book Burner, the original Buckaroo Butcher and Raleigh’s relative. The Book Burner should not have been found though, seeing how everyone thought he was long dead and buried years ago. Crane and Finch resolve to checking for themselves by digging up the grave. Amidst all the shoveling, the pair are attacked by the same ghostly being that attacked them in the morgue. But why would a ghost be firing a gun?
While Finch and Crane fight their phantom foe, Alice, the high school girl with an attitude, goes and visits Ol’ Charles “Nailbiter” Warren, who is in protective custody at the moment. After finding little resistance from the local law enforcement, she and Warren have an amusing Silence of the Lambs gag. Then, Alice cuts to the chase. She’s looking for some info from Warren, and is willing to trade her digits to get it. We leave her making jazz hands at The Nailbiter himself through the bars.
From there, the book picks right back up with Crane and Finch fighting their phantom. After quite the struggle, they manage to pin him. This allows for a Scooby Doo reveal, where they rip off his mask and see that it’s Old Farmer Jenkins. Ok, so it’s not him, but fans of the story will recognize him from the first couple books. However, he doesn’t last long in captivity, and takes his own life after a cryptic explanation. After that is dealt with, Finch is eager to get back to grave diggin. He soon realizes that something isn’t right, and with a crash, he goes through the grave and into an underground prison. After he regains his composure, and Finch joins him, the two explore the cells and find the man they’ve been looking for from the start. There’s Carroll, bound to a chair, covered in blood and very unlikely to ever do jumping jacks again. But is he alive…?
Overall, I really like where Nailbiter is going. Williamson continues to offer just enough meat to keep the reader hungry and has a story that is alluringly good. Henderson and Guzowski are harmonizing well, and their panels build a suspenseful feel with just enough gore to make the hairs on my arms tingle a little. This issue didn’t have as much lacked something in comparison to the previous issue, but I think the reveal at the end of the story sets a very interesting scene for the start of #5. I’m eager to see where it’s heading, you should be too.