Why You Should Be Reading… Image Comics’ NAILBITER!!!

Welcome to my new column “Why You Should Be Reading…

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I have been fascinated with the subject of serial killers since I was old enough to comprehend what they were. I remember hearing of Mr. Dahmer in High school, along with BTK Dennis Rader, the man behind the brutal murders that stretched across the Kansas area. Since then I’ve been a fan of picking up any media I could find, that could possibly tap into the how factor? How could  a person be so heartless, so heinous, and actually go through with taking the lives of other’s. Many have attempted to answer this question, yet I don’t think one answer is possible.

This series latches onto that question of “how” in a deranged, yet well written fashion. The fact that this series eluded me in the first place should be a mystery of its own. When the vendor handed me the stack of 10 issues he said this was not for the faint of heart,” you better have a strong stomach for this one”. That right there sealed the deal, I knew no matter what I would be leaving with this entire stack in hand, and after reading the synopses and seeing serial killer, “sign me up”was my only response. To think I was led to this gem via a simple question, all I asked was what the vendor would suggest me to read, and he was so excited to share, he sold me the whole series up to this point.

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That night I opened number one and read through it, afterwards I breezed through almost the entire series up to this point, then finished the following day. This is an addicting read that will keep you guessing the entire way. As you flip through each page you are met with compelling story along with diabolical images of action and suspense. Even my roommate (not a huge comic reader)  has grown very fond of this title and has read every issue once I’ve finished it, and is continuing to hound me for when each new issue is released.

So let me set the scene here, remember that “how” I was telling you about? Not only do they taunt, and explore the idea of how and why a  person could kill other people, they take it a step further. In the series Buckaroo is the birthplace for 16 of the worlds most dangerous and notorious serial killers America had ever seen. Not only are we left to wonder how can these characters do such things, we are left with the mystery of how this damn town could create so many monsters over the decades? Is the entire town in on this? Or is it a striking coincidence that seems to be a once in a lifetime legendary happening? Personally I am constantly left wondering who will be next?

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We follow the character Nicholas Finch, a NSA interrogator that happens to be on leave. Once his good friend, and partner Eliot Carroll makes a call asking Finch for help, the story begins. Carroll has been sucked into the “How” factor, dedicating his life to trying to solve this mystery the town of Buckaroo, Oregon holds. Carroll’s compulsion stems from the capture of the latest and now most deadly serial killer born and raised in Buckaroo, Edward Charles Warren, The Nailbiter. His capture has led to the mass attention and Media scrutiny of the town, it is also the catalyst of Carroll’s attention that eventually leads to his obsession, and now he is enlisting his best friend Finch the only one he can trust for help.

The gruesome nature of the murders Mr. Warren is accused of is intriguing, it is alleged that he tortures victims who bite their nails until their nails grow back, in which he then kills them and devours their nails and finger tips dubbing him respectively, The Nailbiter. As the questions of hows and whys go through your mind, add the fact that the town could be a reasoning behind all this somehow. Almost every resident in Buckaroo has a family member from their history that has killed, or has gone to school with someone who eventually starts to kill, this interesting dynamic leaves our main characters in a world of unpredictability, they are surrounded by interesting characters and interactions trying to piece together what is going wrong. Even the town Sharif has an un predictable past worth noting, along with the town having a serial killer gift shop to help bring in revenue is a bit concerning!

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In amazing fashion, this comic seems to be riding the fine line of all the intriguing emotions that go into your questions about killers. To add a personal touch, imagine living in a place where your entire town could be in on a joke, or could possibly be covering up something. The constant fear that at any point you, or someone in your family, or one of your friends could snap simply based on the legendary history of your city. It’s almost as if due to where you are born you are condemned to fail or snap. That is something I picked up on, the conditioning and effect the town has on its residence, the ripple effect it causes making everyone a candidate for something gruesome, the fact that everyone has that dark side that at any moment could be released.

This is a dip into a part of psychology that is worth exploring, and if at anytime you ever wondered what made killers tick, I strongly suggest giving this a try, its an interesting take on your questions and an interesting dive into the evil that is buried deep in us all!

– Grainbelt Jones

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