Review: Nailbiter Returns #6
Nailbiter Returns has been the type of horror story that I love. It clearly loves the genre playing with the tropes and expectations. It is as much a love letter to horror as it is a send-up at the same time. It has fun with something the creators clearly enjoy. The previous issue spun the genre a little turning the tables on the hunt and the hunted. It went Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Nailbiter Returns #6 continues in that direction with our heroes on the hunt for the killers and heading back to Buckaroo to look for clues and figure out who is playing the game.
The sequel to Nailbiter has kept the concept somewhat simple. Serial killer fans are acting like the Buckaroo butchers and seeing who’s the greatest killer of them all. It’s a sequel in every sense and delivers a meta-like story that’s as much commentary on the genre as it is a story by itself. Creators Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson feel like they’re tapping some of what drove the creation of Scream (another horror film series I enjoy). Like that film, the comic series has played with expectations and in many ways makes fun of them.
That fun is on full display in Nailbiter Returns #6 which cracks jokes at those expectations. Repeated asks to call in reinforcements, jokes about zombies, double/triple/quadruple tap, are all touched upon and delivered with a wink and a smile that’s hard to not laugh with.
The art helps deliver the humor of it all. Adam Guzowski provides color with lettering by John J. Hill, enhancing Williamson and Henderson’s art. It’d be easy for the art to focus on gore and go for gross scares. But, the series instead delivers visuals that are just a bit over the top to not crack a smile. A serial killer is capture and left in a dog cage during travel, snarling with a frothing manner. Blood pops but in a way that’s just a bit over the top. There’s a use of both over the top imagery and underplaying it that works so well. Never at any time is it gore for gore’s sake. That’s not the focus nor does the comic need it. This is horror/action/comedy and the art reflects that voice and focus.
Nailbiter Returns #6 is another fantastic issue and I wish I could read more of the series as Halloween approaches. It’s a fantastic balance of humor, action, and horror. It knows exactly when to hit the punchline and when to deliver the blood. It also knows the genre so well to both be an homage and spoof in some ways. With the series now shifted to the Scooby-Doo investigated portion instead of just the scares, we get to see what else this creative team can have fun with. If you’re a fan of the horror genre, this is a must and so much fun.
Story: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson Art: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson
Color: Adam Guzowski Lettering: John J. Hill Design: John J. Hill Edits: Rebecca Taylor
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review