“Nailbiter” has always been coy about the slow game it’s playing. Edward Charles Warren stands at the center of it all, toying with the reader. Taunting them to read on, and if your anything like Nicholas Finch, you’ve wanted to beat the answers out of The Nailbiter for some time now. Well with issue 11 you’ll get your wish, but it comes with a great cost, an unprecedented level of violence.
WRITTEN BY: Joshua Williamson
ART BY: Mike Henderson
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: April 1, 2015
The Nailbiter has always been the center of this book, even when Williamson has gone out of his way to show us that things are much larger than the titular killer. But, being a reader and being a protagonist are two very different things. Finch can’t see the forest for the trees. He’s become fixated and dependent on Warren for answers, and that will be his undoing. The over-arching question of how Buckaroo makes a butcher may finally be answered in this issue, and it’s much simpler than you could ever imagine.
At its core “Nailbiter” seems to be about obsession. One way or the other every character has an preoccupying theory that drives them to treat people a certain way. Each of the killers are obsessed in their own right, Finch needs the truth, and well Warren, he’s really got a thing for nails. We get to see how deep these compulsions go, and it’s not pretty. As they build from fascination to obsession and boil over with delusion they push a person into a new state of mind.
So Issue 11 begs the question of the nature/nurture debate. It doesn’t necessarily rest its case on either side, but it makes a compelling argument for something so simple that it can’t be ignored. An idea can be infectious, and it almost seems to me that growing up in Buckaroo is succumbing to a self fulfilling prophecy. Of course, this being “Nailbiter” we don’t get enough to actually make a substantial conclusion. But it feels like we’re headed toward a definitive endgame.
The entirety of the issue is thrilling. It’s the perfect way to begin the new arc, and despite a tease offering answers, the only one you’ll get are the conclusions you reach yourself.
Mike Henderson simply outdoes himself this month with a two page spread of such brutality and literal gut wrenching horror. It’s a sinister way to show off his skill but communicates how much he has grow as an artist over the course of the series. He’s often played with conventional paneling and has even given us spins on our favorite horror movie tropes, but here he honestly outdoes himself. His visual sense of pacing is unrivalled and will seriously have you on the edge of throwing up your meal. He’s that good.
“Nailbiter” #11 has all the excellent intrigue of the series but focuses solely on character, which gives it a much more cohesive feel than previous issues. I can’t imagine a better way to start the new arc, but if you’re looking for answers you’ll have to make them yourself. Issue 12 brings the tease of a definitive conclusion for Finch’s investigation, but knowing Williamson that’ll just be a misdirect. If you really think about what’s going on, you can certainly see where the series is going without the obvious exposition. I could be wrong, but the seeds in this issue tell me differently.
Nailbiter #11 doesn’t hit until April 1st, but thanks to our exclusive cover reveal, we got an early peek. Make sure you preorder this incredible new issue today! (Diamond Code FEB150514)