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Nailbiter Returns #5
Image Comics

Comic Books

‘Nailbiter Returns’ #5 review

‘Nailbiter Returns’ finally rediscovers the mojo that made its predecessor series the best horror comic on the shelves.

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.

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Snappy Spoiler-Lite Recap

Nailbiter Returns #5 (Image Comics)

Nailbiter Returns #5 (Image Comics)

 

  • 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.”

The Verdict

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.

Nailbiter Returns #5 (Image Comics)

Nailbiter Returns #5 (Image Comics)

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.

Nailbiter Returns #5
‘Nailbiter Returns’ #5 review
Nailbiter Returns #5
'Nailbiter Returns' finally rediscovers the mojo that made its predecessor series the best horror comic on the shelves.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
I'm running out of ways to say how great Mike Henderson's art is. Whether it's action, character design, or storytelling, the dude is firing on all cylinders.
The issue still leaves us with a ton of unresolved questions, but Joshua Williamson has finally pointing them (and the narrative) in a solid/fascinating direction.
Nailbiter Returns now feels significantly anchored to its predecessor while also being different/accessible enough for new readers.
Edward Warren feels like he's been relegated to one-note comic relief.
Sharon Crane's transformation is awesome, but also feels a bit compressed.
8.5
Great
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