Last month, Nailbiter Returns #1 ended with the expected-yet-bizarre reappearance of the Nailbiter himself, Edward Warren. That would be concerning enough on its own, but it now appears that all the dead/missing Buckaroo Butchers have also returned, as well.
Snappy, Spoiler-Lite Recap
- Gotta love a couple who appreciates scaring the crap out of each other.
- Dude could not have picked a worse time to propose.
- Nice to see Agent Nicholas Finch getting to be happy — although that call from Portland likely means his era of contentment and domestic bliss is about to come to a screeching halt.
- Step 1 on the downward spiral: Finch arrives in Portland to find that he’s has been partnered with a colossal tool.
- Alice Crane: Good at evading serial killers, not good at sneaking up on FBI agents.
- I have a hard time feeling bad for Edward Warren when he’s basically experiencing the same thing a lot of us have during quarantine.
- That being said, his excitement over seeing Alice (or any human being) is understandable.
- Agent Finch makes a good argument for keeping Warren secretly locked away, but that doesn’t mean Alice has to like it.
- At least Finch and Alice can both agree on being completely over Warren’s B.S.
- Not a good sign when you show up near the former serial killer capital of the world and bodies start piling up.
- It’s never the ones you expect who go to a really dark place when they’re cornered…
- …and it’s never a good idea to take the daughter of a Buckaroo Butcher to one of their new crime scenes.
As expected, Mike Henderson’s art in this issue is great. While the gore is particularly brutal, he also does an excellent job portraying the uncomfortable emotions that arise between Finch and Alice and his (supremely douchey) FBI contact. Also, the final pages of the issue are a master class is pacing/building suspense.
On the story side of things, Josh Williamson deftly builds mystery at the center of Nailbiter Returns while also expanding on the series’ mythology and raising the stakes. He also deserves credit for making the story accessible for new readers while still keeping things firmly connected to the previous Nailbiter run.
Unfortunately, this type of balancing act required a large amount of setup at the expense of the narrative moving forward. It wasn’t bad (or all that noticeable) in Nailbiter Returns‘ first issue, but was somehow even more prevalent and disrupting this time around.
That being said, Nailbiter Returns #2 does manage to completely stick the landing. In addition to being a cliffhanger that’ll make you scream for issue #3, it also rockets the story out of the foundational stage and into tale that should be all types of exciting to read next month.
Read our interview with ‘Nailbiter Returns’ creators Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson here.