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'Nailbiter Returns' #1 review

Comic Books

‘Nailbiter Returns’ #1 review

The creative team behind the acclaimed serial killer series is back for a second helping.

Following its conclusion back in February 2017, Josh Williamson (writer), Mike Henderson (art), and Adam Guzowski (colors) are finally bring their incredible Nailbiter series back this June with Nailbiter Returns. The series, which once again takes place in Oregon, follows characters who survived the burning of Buckaroo as they get wrapped up in a new mystery involving the town’s bizarre/horrifying past.

Considering that this is one of my all-time favorite comic series (and that I still have all types of lingering questions after the last issue), I was all types of excited to get to read the first issue early. I’m also happy to that Nailbiter Returns #1 appears to be the start of another incredible run for this series and the creative team behind it.

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This is normally the part of my comic reviews where I give a bullet-pointed breakdown of the issue’s plot peppered with a few light spoilers. Unfortunately, Nailbiter Returns #1 is still a little less than a month away from release, so I’ll have to be a bit more vague. Here’s what I can tell you:

  • The creative team falls right back into the wonderful rhythm they had before. Williamson once again starts weaving a complex story that makes your skin crawl while Henderson’s art vacillates from beautiful/expressive to images that will cause you to lose sleep.
'Nailbiter Returns' #1 Page 1 Preview

Image Comics

  • …and as someone with a crippling fear of eye trauma, believe me when I say I wasn’t kidding about losing sleep.
'Nailbiter Returns' #1 Preview Image 2

Image Comics

  • While it’s still not clear what lingering questions from the original series will tie into the current story, Nailbiter Returns definitely endeavors to explore the history of Buckaroo and the legacy of the Buckaroo Butchers.
  • Thanks to the entire town being burned down, the series starts off in a new location: Portland, Oregon.
  • It also starts off from the perspective of Alice, who is the daughter of former Buckaroo Sheriff Sharon Crane and the Nailbiter serial killer himself, Edward Warren.
  • Alice obviously won’t be the only character for the original series, but I’d prefer not to say who else we see…mostly because it will spoil the tension of who we don’t see yet.
  • In addition to some substantially gory murders, Nailbiter Returns #1 hits us with a couple big twists that will surprise old and new readers alike.
  • Speaking of new readers, you can totally jump into this series without having read the first one–although you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice by skipping it.

The Verdict

Nailbiter Returns #1 is about as good of a return for the series as we could hope for. Williamson continues to be a master of storytelling and characterization while Henderson/Guzowski do their usual fantastic work. If anything, Henderson’s pencils seem even more sharp and expressive than they did before.

As a huge fan of the original Nailbiter series, however, I have to admit to wishing we got a bit more connective tissue from how things left off in Nailbiter #30. While I’m sure we’ll get to that eventually, it’s hard to get my head around the introduction of some major new story/mythology elements when there’s still so much we didn’t finish exploring. That said, the issue is infinitely more accessible for readers taking their first blood-soaked dip into into the Nailbiter franchise.

Also, the new mystery Williamson presents is all types of interesting. After everything these characters went through before, he and Henderson are still able to put them in terrible danger. It’s the type of book where you can barely flip the pages fast enough, both to see what happens and to make sure the characters you’ve grown attached to are still safe…and after what we see on the last page, the second issue can’t get here soon enough.

Nailbiter Returns #1 from Image Comics goes on sale June 3.

'Nailbiter Returns' #1 review
‘Nailbiter Returns’ #1 review
Nailbiter Returns #1
A triumphant and bloody return for one of the best horror comic series on the shelves.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Writer Joshua Williamson once again does a masterful job constructing an engrossing/terrifying narrative populated by great characters.
Henderson (pencils) and Guzowski (colors) vacillates from beautiful/expressive moments to images that will cause you to lose sleep.
Williamson introduces a brand new mystery that is all types of interesting.
Old school Nailbiter fans might be a little frustrated that we're not yet exploring loose ends from the original series.

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