Review – Nailbiter Returns #2 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson
Colours: Adam Guzowski
Lettering: John J. Hill
Release Date: 1st July 2020

A marriage proposal rudely interrupted, a day in the life of our favourite psychopath, two more Buckaroo Butchers are slain and Alice unsurprisingly lands herself in hot water.

I’m… really not sold on this issue. Hand on heart, I loved the original series and I really enjoyed the first issue of the “return”, but this one just didn’t wow me. This is a little disappointing as the individual components of the issue should work. The idea that the Buckaroo Butchers are seeming to possess people in an attempt to continue their work is a good one. I like the idea of Warren being locked up in Finch’s basement in homage to Hannibal Lecter. I like that Alice is being given a bigger role in this series. The problem I have is that when you throw it all together it doesn’t work.

During the first series there was a crossover with Hack/Slash and this is what it feels like to me, another Hack/Slash spin off. When Tim Seeley is on form, I really, really enjoy his work but over the course of the six omnibuses of Hack/Slash there have, for me, been far more misses than hits. I think, unfortunately that this is the way Nailbiter may be heading.

This may seem harsh, and is admittedly something of a U-Turn from my review of the first issue but this feels like a parody of Nailbiter. What should have been rich and sinister moments with Warren, just made him seem unhinged and pitiful. This is no Silence of The Lambs Exchange between Warren & Alice. The “resurrection” of the Butchers is also something we have literally just finished reading in Hack/Slash, so it’s a shame that a series that is quite closely tied to that franchise has gone down the same route.

It also doesn’t help matters that Alice is coming across as whiny and petulant rather than the strong, driven young woman from the first arc, which seems like a betrayal of everything she went through previously. If, ultimately, this is leading to another crossover with Tim Seeley’s creation then I think it would do a disservice to both franchises and to the readers.

The artwork is objectively as good as it’s ever been but again, it just doesn’t wow me.  In the first arc, there was an edge and a darkness to all the characters that just isn’t there in this issue, and ultimately there’s less tension and less impact in the horror and trauma that’s being delivered as a result. I think the other thing that’s putting me off is that we’re recycling villains so there’s little of the inventiveness in terms of the character design that we have previously seen.

While I’m not sold on the design of the big bad in this arc, I do like the premise of making people understand fear by taking their ability to see and therefore rationalise it. This is where I think the story would be better focused, as this is interesting and inventive, and takes the story somewhere new. For me, it’s too soon to be rehashing characters, and this arc should be pushing into new ground if it wants to keep us interested.

I’m hoping that this is just a blip in the overall narrative, that we’ll start seeing something new, exciting and horrifying going forward.

Rating: 2/5.

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


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

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