The Devil Went Down to Georgia: Nailbiter #18 (Review)

Dec 8, 2015

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Nailbiter 18
Nailbiter #18
Image Comics

Story by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Mike Henderson
Colors by: Adam Guzowski
Letters and Book Design by: John J. Hill
Edited by: Rob Levin

The second issue in the latest story arc continues to follow the new, demented serial killer in Atlanta, Georgia: The Devil Killer. The Devil Killer mutilates his victims to look like devils, complete with horns and pentagrams. Trying to connect the unsub back to the Buckaroo Butchers, local law enforcement arrests Daniel Castle, originally from Buckaroo, Oregon, who has a serial killer for a cousin: the Good Samaritan.

nailbiter panelsThe issue’s story is immediately engaging, as it starts with visually striking panels of the Good Samaritan, who lured his victims by crying out for help in dark alleys. Williamson’s exceptional ability to create unique and varied serial killers throughout Nailbiter keeps the comic shocking and intriguing. His Buckaroo Butchers are inventive and interesting, taking readers to the deepest, darkest depths of their minds, yet making them hungry for more.

Henderson’s cover art shows Nicholas Finch writing with a quill on parchment and a smirking devil behind him, meaning to catch the Devil Killer, he just might have to sell his soul to the devil. Guzowski skillfully uses oranges and reds, reminiscent of fire, on the cover and in the interior to tie in the devil theme throughout. Because of the quill’s antiquated history, perhaps it’s a symbolic representation of Finch needing to look into his past to catch the killer. Could the cover art be foreshadowing Finch’s fate?

nailbiter panels2

This issue continues to position Finch as the ultimate bad cop in the good cop / bad cop dichotomy while he interrogates Castle. As much as Finch wants to let go of the job, it just can’t let him go. FBI agent Abigail Barker sought out the relieved-of-duty Finch in issue 17, as he tried to drink away his worries in San Antonio, Texas. In this issue, he accepts his crime—killing a child molester and killer during an interrogation—and uses it to his advantage as an intimidation technique with Castle.

Finch tells Barker that before he killed the suspect, everything went red, much like Barker’s own visions. Her headaches and visions of brutally killing those around her are becoming more and more intense. These brief escapes from reality are where Williamson and Henderson’s storytelling truly excels. Fueling a slow burn with Barker, they continue to fan the flames each issue to create anticipation among readers. We know it’s only a matter of time before her hallucinations become reality.

Like in most issues, Williamson ends on a couple of cliffhangers that keep readers eager for more.

Former Buckaroo sheriff Sharon Crane investigates Doctor Glory and his involvement in the Buckaroo murders. She discovers the original location of the town’s library that burned down, with a church built over it, just before Reverend Louis Fairgold hits her over the head. It’s clear there’s more to Reverend Fairgold than meets the eye. He wears his religion as a disguise. Williamson is an expert at crafting multifaceted, complex characters that you can’t just take at face value.

The issue ends with a cameo from our favorite charming serial killer Edward Charles Warren (The Nailbiter) covered in blood at the crime scene of the Devil Killer’s latest victim. It’s likely Warren isn’t involved in the murders but instead has taken investigation into his own hands. Like Finch, the job can’t let him go either.

Nailbiter is a comic I look forward to every month, and this month’s issue doesn’t disappoint. The combined talents of Williamson, Henderson, Guzowski, Hill, and Levin make for a flawless team and comic. The disturbing and gritty storytelling paints a perfect picture cover to cover. The thrilling story offers a jolt of excitement, akin to watching a scary movie. With Nailbiter, you’ll want to cover your eyes but you won’t for fear of missing out on something incredible.