This complete review of the Nailbiter graphic novel series was adapted from individual reviews by volume originally published in 2019 on this site.
This post contains affiliate links.
Nailbiter: The Murder Edition Volume 1
This edition of Nailbiter by Joshua Williamson contains issues 1-10
The titular Nailbiter refers to one of more than a dozen serial killers who all happen to come from the same small town near Portland Oregon in this horror murder mystery series. Nailbiter likes to bite nails, down to the bone, and did so on all of his many victims.
Somehow he gets acquitted at trial and is free to go back to his home in order to resume harassing his old high school flame, the sheriff. The story involves said sheriff, an army interrogator, and an FBI agent teaming up with Nailbiter. They need to figure out who the current killer in their town is and why so many killers spawn from this one place.
Nailbiter is essentially Hannibal. It’s all about using a serial killer to catch other serial killers. With strong elements of horror this one will keep up the violence and gore without delving too far into repeat territory.
Even though it is strongly reminiscent of other tales it has it’s own voice.
This volume is a great introduction to what turns out to be a great series overall. It’s intriguing and the art is truly creepy at times. At one point I actually gasped out loud after turning the page! But it’s just an introduction. Volume 1 lacks that wow factor that keeps it from becoming an instant classic.
Nailbiter: The Murder Edition Volume 2
This second volume contains issues 11 through 20
I was hoping that the second volume would make more progress than it did but we’re still left with a lot of questions and no answers. I’m still enjoying the premise, art, and gore but am craving more substance.
It is rare that horror transcends beyond its genre. When it does it is one of my favorite things in the world. When it doesn’t, it can still be entertaining. Nailbiter falls into the second category.
It serves up the horror standards of violence and creative murder scenes but never moves to anything more. That’s okay, it’s still a fun read. But it shouldn’t be considered anything more than that.
Strangely enough what I’m enjoying most is reading the book in digital format. With flipping panel by panel instead of page by page there is an almost horror movie effect to the scary imagery which pops onto the screen by surprise.
I can definitely recommend the digital version for this book. I am, of course, biased by my already strong enjoyment of the format but I think this one works really well.
Volume 2 is a bridge between the intriguing introduction and the inevitable conclusion. It is good old fashioned violence as entertainment.
Nailbiter: The Murder Edition Volume 3
This volume contains issues 21-30
I started this series largely in part because I found it on a list of graphic novels with a conclusion. This volume is about as much of a conclusion as I could hope for from this story but the last page has “THE END?” stamped on it in blood so who the hell knows.
A big problem I have with being a comic book fan is that it is so difficult to find stories with conclusions. This one probably won’t be continued so I guess that will have to be good enough.
Overall I had a good time reading this series. It’s mindless horror full of scary imagery, bloody gore, creative torture, mad scientists, spooky underground tunnels, and lots more. I think it’s a good one to pick up around halloween to get that gore hound fix. Just don’t expect it to be anything more than that.
Overall series rating 3/5 skulls 💀💀💀
If you like Nailbiter you might also like Rave