FORMAT: SINGLE ISSUE + DIGITAL (REVIEWED) | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
After 30 issues and a fairly definitive end, one would be forgiven for thinking we’d seen the last of Charles Warren and Nailbiter. But you can’t keep a good slasher – sorry, butcher – down, and Nailbiter returns in Image Comics’ Nailbiter Returns. On the basis of this first issue, the town of Buckaroo is in fine form.
Creators Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson certainly are too, and Issue #1 is as gripping as the series has ever been. Serial killer Edward Warren and cop Sharon Crane are missing and, judging by the blood all over Sharon’s bathroom floor, the outlook isn’t good (see #30). This first issue follows daughter and Buckaroo survivor Alice as she seeks the help of Agent Finch in finding her mom. The gang’s back together and, with a neat plot twist, this sequel bursts out of the gate with a fresh mystery and angle. It’s a gripping start, and Henderson’s artwork has never been better; especially during the grotesque opening sequence, featuring a mystery victim getting their eyes burned out with acid. The writing, too, shows growth, particularly in its characterisation of Alice and Finch. This is more than just picking up where Nailbiter left off – it feels like a sequel, and its own story. If you haven’t already read those original books, pick them up right now – Nailbiter is one of the greatest horror comics we’ve ever read.
After the horrifying twists and turns of the original, one would be foolish to expect its sequel to give much away at this stage. But it’s good to be back in Buckaroo and in the company of old friends again. Which is an odd thing to say about a comic book like Nailbiter Returns – an amped up, ridiculous Hannibal meets Twin Peaks – but here we are. Welcome back.