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Nailbiter #27 Review

Comic Books

Nailbiter #27 Review

Last issue, both Edward Warren and Nicholas Finch found themselves in what could be generously described as perilous circumstances. This week, we take a look at how it all shakes it out. Since this is Nailbiter, you know things are going to get messy…

…but is it good?

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Nailbiter #27 (Image Comics)

nailbiter-27-cover

Observations

  • Pre-Buckaroo Agent Carroll, armed (heh) and ready for battle.
  • …or maybe he wasn’t.
  • The type of people who crush on serial killers are the same ones who wear t-shirts of bands they never listen to.
  • Gotta admit, The Blonde has Bucakaroo’s Murder Store looking pretty spiffy.
  • I’m betting Agent Finch would much rather be in court right now.
  • Forget Gilmore Girls—Alice and Shannon Crane is my jam.
  • #$%&@%$#@!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is It Good?

As great as the Bound by Blood story arc was, it had me worried about a few things going forward with my beloved Nailbiter series:

– Now that the Mystery of Buckaroo is known to be a quantifiable thing (that’s also being discovered/learned by various characters), it might start to lose some of its mystique.

– How do you make serial killers continue to be scary compared to the horrifying rogues gallery we’ve already been through?

– Will anyone ever be as badass as The Butcher in Black?

Thankfully, Nailbiter #27 takes all of those concerns and hacks them into bloody bits. Writer Joshua Williamson utilizes the series’ slightly altered dynamic to refocus and reinvigorate the narrative. Instead of losing its air of wonder, the Mystery of Buckaroo becomes even more intriguing. It also works as a fantastic plot device, causing both the characters and the reader to question who is truly on the right side of the conflict.

As usual, Williamson’s dialogue is fantastic—smart, morbid, and appropriately funny when needed. Aside from the opening flashback (which is great), the issue takes place from the viewpoint of Sheriff Crane, who has slowly morphed into my favorite character. Her humanity is balanced by a fierce, almost fanatical desire to protect her daughter and the world at large from the evil festering inside her hometown.

Artist Mike Henderson continues to be at the top of his game, particularly in the gore department. I’ve always felt terrible for Agent Finch and everything he’s had to endure, but the hell he’s gets put through here is viscerally horrifying.

Henderson’s best work, however can be found in how Sheriff Crane emotes and reacts to the people around her—especially Allison. There’s also one panel showing her reaction the Nailbiter’s groupies that made me laugh out loud.

Speaking of the Nailbiter/Edward Warren, his role in this one is very limited, but his presence is definitely felt. I do wish we’d gotten a bit more connective tissue between what happened to him in the last issue and this one, but all that gets forgotten when you turn to the last page. Williamson/Henderson craft a beautiful and touching scene that quickly turns into one of the series most shocking moments (which is really saying something).

So many genre comic series start off strong only to settle into redundant ruts. Occasionally, you’ll find one that starts with a bang and maintains a consistently high level of quality. 27 issues into Nailbiter, the series is somehow getting even better.

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