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"Nailbiter Returns #3" 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 29th, 2020


Buckaroo, Oregon, the hometown for many of the world's worst serial killers, has seen a resurgence. The Buckaroo Butchers, long thought dead and buried, have seemingly all come back to life to wreak havoc once more...or have they? The twists and turns continue in Nailbiter Returns #3 as we get a glimpse as to what's really going on and what role Alice, the daughter of the infamous Nailbiter, has to play in it.

Writer Joshua Williamson always keeps you guessing. The first two issues of this series filled me with questions and I was dying to know more. We're starting to get some answers, although they're not said outright. Instead, much is implied and we're able to make those connections ourselves. That makes it a bit scarier, as my mind is racing with what this all means. I like that the creative team has faith in the audience to figure this out.

Click images to enlarge

I desperately want to talk about this twist here, but I have to hold back. I can't spoil that for you! What I will say is that Nailbiter Returns #3 provides a fascinating look at our current obsession with serial killers, taking it to a whole new level.

OK, enough with the vague talk. Let's chat about Mike Henderson's artwork. Surprising no one, it's awesome. He stretches some different muscles this time around with the introduction of Li'l Biter, a cartoon version of the serial killer that's somehow even scarier than the original. We're taken to an imaginative and frightening world where Warren devours fingers with rows of razor-sharp teeth like a sick hero. This gives us a look at the twisted perspective of the serial killer fans and how they can distort reality to meet their own sick obsession.

This isn't the only area where Henderson excels. The action sequences in Nailbiter Returns #3 are top notch, adding so much to each scene with some key shots. You really feel like you're in the midst of a car chase or tense standoff. This is pure pulse-pounding stuff.

Dialogue is sparse in some of these segments, yet letterer John J. Hill gives each statement some impact. The words are important, even people are screaming at each other. Much is said in few words.

Click image to enlarge

Colorist Adam Guzowski amplifies this a thousand-fold, doubling down on the horror element with some great shadow work. Buckaroo is a dreary town with a dark cloud hanging over it and it shows in the palette used. Despite this, there are still some vibrant shades on display, particularly when blood is spilled. Seriously, I've never seen blood splatter like it does in this series. It hits the page like an explosion.

I do wonder if Nailbiter Returns would have played out the same way if it had continued right after the original series ended. The growing popularity of true crime TV shows and podcasts really puts Nailbiter into a different perspective, particularly in the world of this comic. Buckaroo would be the subject of so many documentaries. This is a fascinating look at these characters and this world, while also keeping the tension high and the scares plentiful. Damn, I love this book.


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

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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