‘Nailbiter’ #3 — Dark and Funny

Nailbiter_03-1Nailbiter #3
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Mike Henderson
Published by Image Comics

The body count in Buckaroo is steadily climbing as Finch and Crane try to figure out who is responsible for all of these murders. The series is finding its own darkly amusing voice that sets it apart from a lot of other horror comic books being written today. While we’re no closer to unwrapping the mystery of Buckaroo, this is a really enjoyable book that is taking off.

Not surprisingly after last issue, Warren is in trouble with the locals, and a lynch mob almost manages to hang him before Crane literally drives them off with her car. After taking Warren into protective custody, the two meet with Morty the mortician. The mortician first tells them that the deceased boy’s murder doesn’t match Warren’s MO. More surprisingly, the body from the motel wasn’t Carroll, but that of the long-deceased Book Burner. In classic mystery fashion, the mortician is stabbed before he can say more, and the attacker manages to flee. Left with no other clues, Finch and Crane head to the serial killer graveyard to look for the Book Burner’s tomb.

In this issue, one can really appreciate Williamson’s dark humor and pacing, which is what sets this book apart from other horror series. The basement where the mortician is stabbed is immediately flagged as creepy because of its flickering lights, and we are treated to an extended sequence of the main characters talking as the attacker conspicuously approaches them. It takes several panels and is drawn out so long that it becomes humorous. If it wasn’t so bloody, it would be right at home in a Looney Tunes sketch. As it is, the humor gives this book a unique voice and a certain charm you can’t find elsewhere. It plays with the genre conventions and uses them to tweak your nose.

As for the mystery element of the story, we still have very little to speculate on. Based on what we know, Warren can’t be the mastermind here, and whatever is wrong with the town of Buckaroo clearly predates him. Carroll may yet be alive, or at least is further enmeshed in this murderous enigma. I’m hoping that we’re not headed down some “Indian Burial Ground” copout explanation, but given the creativity we’ve seen so far in this series, I remain optimistic.

– Zeb Larson

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