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Review: Nailbiter Returns #9

Nailbiter Returns #9

Nailbiter Returns #9 delivers all of the reveals as we get a better sense as to the big picture of it all. With our heroes captures, the issue is that stereotypical moment where the big bad does a monologue and reveals their motivation. This is mixed in with flashbacks that delivers more history about Warren and has us questioning a lot of what we believed to know about the world of Nailbiter.

Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson continue their dive into the world of Nailbiter playing it up as both a sendup and homage to horror sequels. Nailbiter Returns #9 has moments we expect so much from these types of films but also offers so much more for fans of the series. We get the villain going on about her plan but Williamson and Henderson also tie it all into the world they’ve built. There’s implications here that go back to the original series which again is something we see at times with horror sequels.

There’s a brilliance about Nailbiter Returns #9 as it adds some real depth and mystery to the overall story but it also uses a hook we’ve seen so many times before. It’s like the revelations in the Scream sequels which tie into the original’s story and changes it up ever so slightly. It’s smart, fun, and generally, really interesting. It has me wanting to go back and read the original series again.

Nailbiter Returns #9 is a solid issue in that it also gives us a lot of history between Warren and Penelope. We get to see a slight slide of Warren but also question what pushed him over the edge. There’s young kids in “love” but also something very sinister about it all as well. It’ll have you looking at Warren in a different way by the end.

Williamson and Henderson provide the art with Adam Guzowki on color and John J. Hill on lettering. Like all the issues before, the art does a dance. There’s over the top moments which might gross out some but it’s kind of hard to not see the humor in it. It’s just so silly at times, it delivers laughs and it’s hard to take seriously as scares. There’s so many moments of blood and some gore, none of it is played straight. A necklace made of eyeballs, a tender moment taken a bit too far, it’s weird and creepy but never meant to be sickening.

Nailbiter Returns #9 isn’t an issue new readers can jump in to. But, those who have been following this volume will be satisfied as to the reveals and where the issue takes things. Those who are long time readers of this and the previous series will be very happy as the issue delivers reveals that adds a lot to the series’ world and has us wanting to know more.

Story: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson Art: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson
Color: Adam Guzowski Letterer/Design: John J. Hill Edits: Rebecca Taylor
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 #8

Nailbiter Returns #8

Nailbiter Returns is the horror sequel I didn’t know I needed. For seven issues the series has danced around horror tropes, and especially sequel tropes. It’s made fun of and had fun with them. As someone that’s not the biggest horror fan, this is an approach I appreciate. It’s comedic horror in some ways reminding me of the film Behind the Mask. Nailbiter Returns #8 finally pulls back the curtain like a messed of Wizard of Oz as we learn who’s behind the return of the Buckaroo Butchers.

Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson continue their at times over the top horror sequel amping things up by the end of the issue giving us reveals and motivations. Like so many horror sequels the motivations and plan is taken to 11, a somewhat ridiculous level and reason.

Williamson and Henderson are having fun with the issue delivering their usual comedic styling along with the horror. This isn’t one that’s meant to scare as much as laugh and entertain. It’s not a campy horror, there’s gore, but it’s hard to take things seriously. It’s tone is defined by laughs and ridiculous (in a good way) imagery.

Blood flies, eyes are gouged, and the heroes trip balls. It’s all done in a style and way that it’s hard to not laugh at. Like a Tarantino film, the violence is so over the top it’s meant for laughs.

Henderson and Williamson are joined by Adam Guzowksi on color and John J. Hill on lettering. The group lets the blood fly with glee. The series as a whole has featured art that’s popped and this issue delivers eyeballs that do too. Nailbiter Returns #8 continues the acid-inspired hallucinations playing it for humor and takes us to the past giving us a bit more history into the characters. There’s a lot packed in the issue and the art is no exception as there’s so much subtle storytelling with just the visuals.

Nailbiter Returns #8 is the big reveal of who’s behind the current game of murderers and we get the master plan which is… very horror sequel. There’s a goofiness to it all that’s hard to not sit back and just enjoy. The series continues to play with expectations and delivers entertainment with every issue.

Story: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson Art: Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson
Color: Adam Guzowski Letterer/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 #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 #6

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


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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


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

The Nailbiter Returns in Nailbiter Vol. 7 Out in October

The beloved thriller/horror comic series by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson is back—just in time to add some thrills to your Halloween. Nailbiter, Vol. 7 will collect the Nailbiter: Returns #1-5 into trade paperback and will be out from Image Comics this October.

Sixteen of the world’s worst serial killers were all born in the same small town…but Agent Finch and Sheriff Crane solved and buried that mystery. Didn’t they? In Nailbiter: Returns, violent copycat murders imitating the infamous Buckaroo Butchers have begun in Portland, Oregon, and if Finch wants the killings to stop, he’ll have to team up with the daughter of the Nailbiter himself.

Nailbiter, Vol. 7 trade paperback (ISBN: 9781534316904, Diamond Code AUG200095) will be available on Wednesday, October 28 and in bookstores on Tuesday, November 3.

Nailbiter, Vol. 7

Preview: Empyre: Captain America #3 (of 3)

Empyre: Captain America #3 (of 3)

(W) Phillip Kennedy Johnson (A) Ariel Olivetti (CA) Mike Henderson
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 26, 2020
SRP: $3.99

A mountain of trouble arises for Captain America and his ground forces – literally!
Will Captain America and his allied soldiers be able to stop this terrain behemoth…
…or will they find themselves buried in an early grave in this shocking series conclusion?

Empyre: Captain America #3 (of 3)

Preview: Empyre: Captain America #1 (of 3)

Empyre: Captain America #1 (of 3)

(W) Phillip Kennedy Johnson (A) Ariel Olivetti (CA) Mike Henderson
Rated T+
In Shops: Jul 29, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The invasion has made landfall! Captain America stands on the front lines – but when the threat goes global even he won’t be enough to stem the tides! Will Captain America be able to find allies willing to fight alongside him – or will he fall in the face of this intergalactic incursion?

Empyre: Captain America #1 (of 3)

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


Purchase: comiXologyKindleTFAWZeus Comics

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