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Review: Nailbiter Returns #7

Nailbiter Returns #7

Nailbiter Returns #7 delivers a trippy experience as our gang of heroes venture deeper into Buckaroo. The issue takes a hard turn as the group is drugged leading each of them to flip their lids and freak out. The story is out there and the visuals match. It’s best to not do drugs yourself while reading.

With a story and art by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson, Nailbiter Returns #7 takes things in an unexpected direction. The battles with returned killers is put to the side as we get a Wonka-esque trip. The issue drops hint after hint as to who might be behind everything as each character spirals in their visions. And the comic is all about the visions.

There’s some crazy stuff in this issue as snakes come out of eyes, it rains blood, monsters appear. I’ve used the word trippy a lot but it really does the comic justice.

But, what’s interesting about Nailbiter Returns #7 is that it gets us to its end point through a windy road. The issue is peppered with hints and teases as to who’s behind things and I’m sure it’ll be interesting to go back to when everything is revealed. The comic could easily have cut through it all to get us to the end of the issue but it instead has fun with a forest funhouse of horrors.

The visuals are fantastic with some truly disturbing work that game me pause and had me quickly turning the page. Those visuals are also maximized to create a flow to the issue that’s a constant slide to the next sequence. Characters break through panels and pages to fall into the next terror of their experience. The use of perspective is top-notch and the issue feels like it’s designed to keep the reader off-center.

Things are helped by Adam Guzowski‘s colors and the lettering of John J. Hill. Purples, reds, and whites, are combined for a look that’s not scary or sickly but does have a frightening sense about it all. Hill’s lettering adds a punch and emphasis to key moments and like the art often breaks the bubble to add an exclamation point on it all.

Nailbiter Returns #7 is a very different issue than what has led up to it and it’s beyond welcomed. The visuals are crazy without being over the top and there’s something fun about the “wtf” of it all. If you’ve been reading the series, the issue doesn’t add a ton other than teases but it’s a lot of fun. If you just like crazy art, go for it. This isn’t the best place to start but it continues a hell of a fun horror series.

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: 9.0 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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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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Review: Nailbiter Returns #2

Nailbiter Returns #2

Nailbiter Returns #2 is a hell of a second issue with twists and turns, some of which are completely unexpected. With a story and art by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson the second issue just surprises all over. With Sheriff Crane missing, Agent Finch takes her daughter Sharon to see the Nailbiter.

But, where things could easily go Silence of the Lambs, Williamson and Henderson inject a lot of humor to it. Warren has been locked away in a secret prison just passing his time. What has he been doing and why is he here? Finch and Warren explain it all and the trio together really take what could easily been a queezy concept and keeps it kind of light. Warren spins a tale that would be an awesome one-shot while Finch justifies his decision and recounts what he knows. It feels like a “cards on the table” type moment.

But, where things go from there is where it’s really intriguing. Williamson and Henderson flip the script in a way with two Buckaroo Butchers stalking a couple as their next victims and from there the comic gets really shocking as the rug is pulled out from under the reader. It’s really impressive and really entertaining. It also ups the action and pacing of the comic as it compacts expectations.

The art by the duo is fantastic with the addition of Adam Guzowksi on color and John J. Hill handling the lettering. The Warren scene which is just individuals standing around (lets face it a lot of this issue is) could easily be boring. But, the team delivers an expressive nature about Warren which both makes for interesting visuals but really enhances the fact this person has had little contact with the outside world. The art really stands out for the Nailbiter as his energy pops off the page and though he’s a killer… you kind of like him.

The series is fantastic and having fun with tropes and expectations with it being a sequel to a horror story. Like the best, Nailbiter Returns #2 plays with things keeping the readers on their toes and not expecting what to happen next. It creates an excitement and energy about it that’s a hell of a lot of fun to read and experience. It’s a sequel I didn’t know I wanted but two issues in, beyond happy it’s here.

Story: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson Art: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson
Color: Adam Guzowksi Letterer: John J. Hill
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Nailbiter Returns #1

Nailbiter Returns #1

Nailbiter Returns #1 takes us back to the world of serial killers and mystery. For those who never read the original series, Nailbiter, this first issue does an excellent job of dropping you into this world and catching you up. For new readers, it’s an entry point. For longtime fans, it’s a return to a world of blood, bodies, and horror.

To catch new readers up sixteen of the world’s worst serial killers were all born in the same town. The previous volume solver and buried that mystery… right? Well, violent copycat murders imitating the infamous Buckaroo Butchers have begun on Portland, Oregon bringing Agent Finch back into this strange world. Instead of Sheriff Crane, he’ll be teaming up with Alice, the daughter of one of the serial killers, the Nailbiter himself, to solve this mystery.

Accessible. Leaving you wanting to already know the answers. Slightly scary. Nailbiter Returns #1 is a solid debut comic that builds the tension and delivers some shocks. Writer Joshua Williamson nails, no pun intended, the first issue with all the beats and surprises you’d want from this type of story. There’s not traditional scares but definitely a lot of “wtf” moments that’ll have you excited for the next issue.

There’s such an ease of going into the first issue. With an excellent previous volume, it’d be easy to rely a bit too much on knowledge from that. While I read that volume, it’s been so long, I don’t remember a lot of specifics. So, this debut felt like a fresh read and it delivers just enough info that you’ll feel caught up.

Part of what makes the comic so good is the art by Mike Henderson. There’s such a good use of panels and framing of a scene. The right details are focused in on. Along with the colors of Adam Guzowski and lettering by John J. Hill, the comic delivers chills without the gore. At times it approaches the line into gore porn but never quite crosses it. There’s added smarts there as it allows our minds to fill in the gaps and horrors we imagine can never be equaled by what’s on the page. There’s a good use of letting the reader fill in the gory details.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Mike Henderson
Color: Adam Guzowski Letterer: John J. Hill
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends Unveils its Long-Lost Finale!

IDW Publishing has announced that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends will finally be concluded. The monthly comic book series reprints the incomplete TMNT series originally released from 1996 to 1999. The all-new story runs from issue #24 through #26.

The original creative team of writer Gary Carlson and artist Frank Fosco reunite to bring their long-awaited ending to the Urban Legends saga, colored by Adam Guzowski (who skillfully colored the entire series). The new storyline, debuting with issue #24 in April, unmasks the mysterious and deadly Lady Shredder, leading to a senses-shattering showdown that TMNT fans have waited two decades to see!

Review: Star Trek: Manifest Destiny #2

ST_MD02-coverSpace: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before. The blockbuster mini-series continues as Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew face off with the Klingons in deep space… a conflict that could ignite all-out galactic war! Will Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise stop the Klingons or will they fall to the Empire!

IDW Publishing is back with issue #2 of Star Trek: Manifest Destiny and issue #2 is much better than issue number one. As I stated in the last review (which can be seen here) I had a hard time with how the Klingons were being depicted by doing actions that made them dishonorable in their culture which has never been the Klingon way despite the Klingons being a very savage race. This time around writers Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott did a much better job with the Klingons they were more in line with how Trekkies know them which I think is a way to keep their readers, Trekkies like what they know and anything that deviates from how it should be frustrates them and they won’t be inclined to pick up the issues if they are unhappy.

What is also nice about this issue is how much action there is here, I was very impressed that there would be so much action early on in a comic book series. There was a lot more Spock and Kirk in this issue and very little about the away team on the Class M planet. Also Chekov had a more prominent role with this issue and for once the Enterprise was attacked in a way we have never seen before which was really unique and fun to read.

Artist Angel Hernandez and Colorists Doug Garbark and Adam Guzowski did a tremendous job with issue #2. Garbark and Guzowski are new to this issue as colorists as in issue #1, Esther Sanz was the colorist and I think they did a great job with again capturing the mood of the issue and Angels artwork was spot on in capturing everyone’s likeness I am just blown away in this series as to how well the artwork is.

Overall issue #2 was much better than the 1st issue and hopefully this trend will continue. Star Trek the Original Series is near and dear to a lot of people (not so much me as I grew up the Next Generation) and these fans want to see stories and characters that they are familiar with and have come to love. Trekkies like Star Wars fans get crabby when things are out of place and aren’t what they are supposed to be, but what’s nice about this series is that I think it has the ability to bring a new generation of people to the Star Trek universe which I think doesn’t get enough credit. I highly recommend you go out and buy a copy of this issue today!

Story: Mike Johnson & Ryan Parrott Art: Angel Hernandez Colors: Doug Garbark & Adam Guzowski
Story: 8 Art & Color: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review