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Review: Nailbiter Returns #5

Nailbiter Returns #5

I’m not generally a fan of the horror genre. The films and shows I enjoy tend to be more on the comedic end of things. They act as both a love-letter and send-up to what’s come before. Nailbiter in some ways did that, while it’s sequel Nailbiter Returns absolutely does that. Nailbiter Returns #5 switches things up a bit more taking the over the top game of killers into the point where the heroes are on the hunt.

Sheriff Crane is back! But now she’s sporting an eye-patch and has a very Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 attitude. It’s time for our crew to switch up the game and begin to hunt the killers!

Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson have been nailing this series delivering a story that plays with tropes and expectations of this type of story. This isn’t just victims running from slashers, there’s also a bit of Scooby-Doo mixed in as well as everyone attempts to figure out what’s going on.

Nailbiter Returns #5 spends a lot of time focusing on Sheriff Crane and where she’s been. We find out how she survived and how she went underground in a fantastic sequence that once again “uses the rules” of the genre against itself and in that way has fun and honors what has come before.

We also get hints as to a bit more of what’s going on with the Buckaroo Butchers. That’s all mixed with the usual humor that this series is known for. Yes, there’s lots of blood and violence but there’s also a goofy aspect to it all. A killer is defeated by offering fingernails to chew or a trope of the killer running at the victim with arm raised with knife screaming. There’s just a style to it all that takes it from “scary” to “fun.”

That goes beyond the art but also the coloring by Adam Guzowski and lettering by John J. Hill. The use of black, white, and red is great never going over the top to be distracting with the amount of blood present. But, there’s enough to make it feel cartoonish in a good way. Hill’s lettering adds screams to pages and scenes that add to the atmosphere of it all. Like so much, it’s also over the top and full of energy that makes it all… fun.

Nailbiter Returns #5 continues the fun ride which takes a turn as our hunted heroes are now on the warpath. The series up to this point felt like a who’s who of serial killers hunting victims to up their body count. We’re at the part of the story where the game has turned with our heroes standing up and now hunting the serial killers. This isn’t a traditional outsmart the killer and survive, this is much more Terminator than Elm Street. It’s an infusion of a fun aspect that should make this series even more over the top and unpredictable.

Story: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson Art: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson
Color: Adam Guzowski Letterer: John J. Hill Design: John J. Hill
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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