In issue eight, we finally get a glimpse of the villain and the end game. Up until now, Nailbiter Returns has been a subversive, ultraviolent horror comedy laying a little to the left of the more serious tones of the original Nailbiter run. If the original was Se7en, then this is Se7en but directed by Sam Raimi. It’s been fun as hell. I will not lie; it has also been relatively contained among our handful of characters and the killers who are playing a serial killer game to the hilt which actually involves killing people.
This new development takes the story from a microcosm to a sudden macrocosm, veering outside of the characters we’ve been following to create stakes on a much larger level. I’m not sure if it’s necessary to create greater tension, and I’m not sure if I care. That makes me sound apathetic, I’m sure, especially if you’ve read the issue. If we are to care about a larger-scale problem, then we need something to personalize that problem, otherwise it remains abstract – a story construct. We care about San Francisco in the Nicholas Cage movie, The Rock, because that’s where his wife and Connery’s daughter lived. The abstract is made personal.
Now, this new story twist is an idea that has only just been introduced, and I admit I am swinging a bit blind, because I have no idea how Williamson and Henderson are going to handle it. These are simply thoughtful reservations. I’m invested, because it’s genuinely been wonderful thus far, so it’s not like I won’t read the next issue to see what happens next.
I want to give a shout-out to Guzokski’s colors; they just pop off the page. This is the most fun blood I’ve seen on the pages of a comic book in a while.
And being someone who has performed and directed Shakespeare, the first few pages are pretty funny. Also, the young Nailbiter has some pretty hilarious reactions to some pretty terrible things. It’s funny what a crush does to a person. I’m curious to see where these flashbacks are taking us.
Creative Team: Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson (story and art), Adam Guzowski (colors), John J. Hill (letters and design), Rebecca Taylor (editor)
Publisher: Image Comics
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