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Advance Review – Nailbiter Returns #1

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson
Colours: Adam Guzowski
Lettering: John J. Hill
Release Date: 3rd June 2020


[WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL NAILBITER SERIES]

The town of Buckaroo served as the birthplace of no less sixteen of the world’s worst serial killers. After a harrowing and bloody investigation, Army Intelligence Officer Nicholas Finch and Sheriff Shannon Crane solved the mystery of the Buckaroo Butchers and laid the towns old ghosts to rest… or did they?

When a car accident in Portland reveals the grisly remains of one of the Buckaroo Butchers, Finch is forced to go back and investigate. When Alice Crane returns home and finds her mother missing and the bathroom splattered with blood, her first instinct is that this is the work of her father, Buckaroo’s most infamous killer, Edward Charles Warren “The Nailbiter”. Finch and Crane are going to have to work together to solve a new series of what seems to be copycat murders in the style of the Butchers.

When the original series of Nailbiter finished three years ago, I was sad to see it go but also felt that it managed to wrap everything up really well, giving readers a very satisfying ending. I didn’t come away from this series thinking that they needed to do more with the characters, or explore anything else but I always secretly hoped that Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson would someday revisit the world of Finch, Crane and Warren. With recent Global events having robbed us of even the simple pleasure of reading new comics (first world problems, right?), it’s great to see that not only are we going to start seeing new titles hitting comic book shelves, but that one of those titles is going to feature the return to Buckaroo that I’ve been wishing for.

The original series provided a very smart, very original take on the serial killer genre that was also a lot of fun. Edward Charles Warren was a monster, 100% undeniably evil and irredeemable, but by god he was also charming and funny and I’m not going to lie, he fooled me into being sympathetic towards him by the end of the series. The heroes in this series weren’t whiter than white, either. Finch was a very troubled and violent man with more than a little blood on his hands, and Shannon Crane was the childhood sweetheart of Warren and, unbeknownst to him, the mother of his child. Even Alice, the daughter of The Nailbiter, harboured the secret belief that she was next in line to hold the mantle of Buckaroo Butcher. The rest of the Butchers were a fun and eclectic mix of everything from your typical slasher through to some very inventive and weirdly specific triggers.

This first issue of Nailbiter Returns very quickly and neatly recaps the premise of the first series, and reintroduces the main characters, some of whom have moved on and some who haven’t. There is a new threat, a new mystery to solve and as with all good sequels, the body count should be bigger, bloodier and more inventive. Straight away, Williamson’s writing proves to be every bit as good and imaginative as the first series, as if he’d never spent a day away from the project and after just this first issue. I’m already invested in the new story and eager to see where we’re going to be taken next.

Mike Henderson and Adam Guzowski have likewise jumped back into the saddle effortlessly and if anything, the artwork is actually crisper, more vivid and more disturbing than their previous efforts, which is quite an achievement. Having been a fan of Fulci movies for a long time, I’ve always been a sucker for a good eyeball scene in a horror, and there are more than a few in this issue – enough to satisfy even the most jaded of fans. As I said, this issue seems to have stepped up its game with regards to the artwork, but it still provides the familiar style and tone of the original series so that nothing jars and you can find yourself slipping back into the story as if you only just closed the last issue.

I’m really glad that this creative team has resurrected Nailbiter. I loved the first series and the second is already off to a great start. Given the pedigree behind this series, I can’t see how this can possibly be anything other than a stellar return.

Rating: 4/5


You can read Issue one of the original Nailbiter series in its entirety for FREE over imagecomics.com – CLICK HERE.


[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏


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  1. Review – Nailbiter Returns #2 (Image Comics) – BIG COMIC PAGE

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