Last month’s issue of Nailbiter Returns concluded with the reappearance of Sharon Crane. As cool as that was, it added to the glut of questions that has thus far kept the series from living up to its predecessor.
Thankfully, this issue finally gets the ball rolling on some answers and where the story might be headed.
Snappy Spoiler-Lite Recap
- Good for Sharon being so aware of her surroundings. All I can focus on when I hear “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is the cowbell.
- I know Joshua Williamson said they’d directly address the end of Nailbiter #30, but I honestly didn’t expect the explanation to be this detailed/insane. Good stuff.
- Now we know why Sharon Crane has an eye patch *sympathy shudder*
- Good lord…those final pages of Nailbiter #30 were even crazier than we thought.
- “I’m the T-1000 of Nailbiters!“
- Good thing for our heroes that Sharon Crane made herself into the Linda Hamilton of this situation.
- Hate to admit this, but Agent Grey continues to grow on me.
- If you’re hunting a serial killer, then I guess having one with you isn’t the worst idea — especially if you don’t give him weapons and let him dress up in riot gear.
- “…we have to go home.”
Now we’re cooking with gas.
While I can appreciate a narrative that lets a mystery unfold over time, Nailbiter Returns had thus far felt like we were careening down a mountain without breaks or a map. Sure, there were some thrilling moments, but we still had no idea what was going on.
We’re still left with a lot of questions, but they’re now pointing the narrative in a solid direction that’s all types of interesting. The story also feels tangibly anchored to the previous volume now. It manages to pay service to us old school fans of the series, but also keeps things different/unique enough for new readers to enjoy.
About the only thing I don’t like so far is Warren’s continued use as comic relief. The character has always had a wicked sense of humor, but he was also terrifying. While I’m sure make a return to form as the series goes, it currently feels like he’s been relegated to a one-note joke.
I also feel like Sharon Crane’s transformation was a bit compressed, but her increased level of badassery makes that pretty forgivable.
On the art side of things, I’m running out of ways to say how great Mike Henderson is. In addition to his great character designs/expression, he draws action sequences that are superbly kinetic and show a deft grasp of storytelling. He’s also great at the gory stuff, although I kind of hate him for that right now since this issue involved severe eye trauma (a big phobia of mine).
In all seriousness, though, Nailbiter Returns #5 feels like the type of work Williamson and Henderson did on the first Nailbiter series that made it my favorite horror comic. The issue is packed full of great character work/dialogue, thrilling action sequences, and a top notch mystery that is going to make the month wait until #6 a long one.
As if all that weren’t good enough, it looks like next month’s issue will feature a return to where everything started along with an intriguing new layer to the series’ mythology. Let’s hope Warren finds some semblance of his old self along the way. Even if that doesn’t happen, though, I’ve regained my faith that this series is guaranteed to give us a good story.