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"Nailbiter Returns #2" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics


Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Mike Henderson
Colored by Adam Guzowski
Lettered by John J. Hill
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 1st, 2020


The town of Buckaroo just can't escape its bloody past. Right when they thought the last of the Buckaroo Butchers had gone away, something new and terrifying rears its head...and it's bringing some familiar faces with it. Alice, the Nailbiter's daughter, is right at the heart of this. Her mother is missing and she's looking for answers. She might not be happy with where she finds them.

Nailbiter Returns, the sequel series to one of my all-time favorite horror comics – wait, let me amend that – all-time favorite comics, simultaneously digs deeper into the history of this world while also propelling it forward. It's an interesting dynamic, as the Butchers are on full display like they never have before. Sure, they were always referenced and known, but they're a major part of this story.

Writer Joshua Williamson performs a deep dive along with this riveting new mystery. I'm full of questions and although there are many unanswered, there is so much to dig into that I am most definitely along for the ride. This is the kind of story that you can lose yourself in, poring over every single detail as you're enthralled by it.

Click images to enlarge

I am continually impressed with artist Mike Henderson's work. He is in constant control of the pace of the story, staying on certain shots for multiple panels to let the terror sink in. Alternatively, there's a great sequence full of smaller panels that works like a montage. You can compare it to tricks used in movies or television and they're just as, if not more, effective here.

While Nailbiter Returns #2 has a handful of funny moments to serve as comic relief from the otherwise tense thrill ride of the story, there's a constant feeling of dread. You know that these characters are a split second away from bloodshed with how the surprises can pop up in this town. Henderson's work with facial expressions creates this fun balance between comedy and terror, saying so much with a simple glance.

When dialogue is needed in sequences like that, letterer John J. Hill has a careful touch that adds to the personality of the characters. There are certain words bolded or appearing in bigger font that give these people a real voice.

Click images to enlarge

Although the sun does come out in Buckaroo, there's an ever-present darkness that hangs over the town like a rain cloud. Colorist Adam Guzowski creates this perfect foreboding tone for the book that adds to the tension.

Reds really stand out in Nailbiter Returns #2. They have to since that's the color of blood. Guzowski makes this pop on the page with an electric energy. We know to expect blood, but it's still shocking to see with how bright and vibrant it is. There's a flashback sequence where this is especially true, as the other colors are faded, making the red appear as the only regular color.

I realize that I've been rather vague about what actually happens in Nailbiter Returns #2. That is intentional, as this is a mystery. You should come at this completely blind and pick through the clues yourself without having them spoiled for you. I can assure you that this comic is absolutely incredible from beginning to end. Horror is at its core and it certainly excels at that, while also playing with elements of thrillers, mystery, and comedy. It's a great blend that works incredibly well.


Story: fivestars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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