"Nailbiter #22" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Mike Henderson
Colored by Adam Guzowski
2016, 32 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on June 1st, 2016
Alice, the daughter of the Nailbiter, is currently standing in the woods blindfolded with her hands tied behind her back. Dead bodies are strewn around her, but she's clueless because the Butcher murdered everyone in silence. Now he's standing right in front of her, machete in hand. When you think about some of the best opening scenes in comics – hell, in any medium for that matter – what is more gripping than this? That's just the first few pages of this issue of Nailbiter. Welcome back to Buckaroo, kids.
That tension is thick from page one. Page two reveals Alice standing with the Butcher at her side. Rain is pouring down. It's so dark and terrifying. Artist Mike Henderson's work is off the charts. This is the kind of scene where you let out an audible “Holy shit!” with almost every turn of the page. It's that exciting chase in a slasher movie, however it's drawn out over a few pages, with the Butcher circling Alice, the blades coming closer and closer to her throat. My heart is pounding just describing this right now. Of course, nothing is what it seems in Nailbiter, and just when you think you know where writer Joshua Williamson is taking the story, he takes a sudden turn.
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To balance this terror, we've got a comedic scene with Finch and Warren (aka the Nailbiter) as they head back to Buckaroo. Finch lets it slip that Alice is Warren's daughter. The result is hilarious and more than a little creepy. Warren doesn't know how to take the news and practically loses it. His calculating mind is knocked out of alignment, reverting to his base instincts. Somehow, even this scene leads to another “Holy shit!” moment. Seriously, there are so many with this issue.
The rain falling on Buckaroo casts a dreary tone over the town. Adam Guzowski's colors hammer home that feeling. There's a segment with some characters talking outside of a diner. The rain has this red hue to it, giving it a quality that's almost blood-like. It's rather fitting considering this is the serial killer capital of the world.
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The previous arc had the central characters leaving town for a little while. Now, everyone's making their way back to Buckaroo and getting back to the mystery at the root of the series. What's causing all these serial killers to come out of this place? Who is the new Butcher? What's his (or her?) connection to Warren?
Nailbiter never misses a beat and this issue is no different. This is a riveting story with stellar artwork that will keep you enthralled with every single panel. I want to come up with theories to answer the questions above, but I also just want to sit back and go on this journey that the creative team is taking us on. There are certainly plenty of surprises and twists to keep you coming back for more.