"Nailbiter #29" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Mike Henderson
Colored by Adam Guzowski
2017, 32 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on February 1st, 2017
For years, we've wondered what the secret of Buckaroo, Oregon was. Why did so many of the world's serial killers come from this small northwestern town? We've been pulled along through this mystery with bits and pieces of the answers showing up every so often. The tension never let up. Now, in Nailbiter's penultimate issue, we get some revelations, an unmasking, and a whole ton of exposition.
Much of this issue is like that scene in every James Bond movie where the villain delivers a monologue detailing all of his evil plans. We went twenty plus issues without any clear answers and suddenly they're all dumped on us in just a few pages. I know the series is ending, but it feels like a bit of a letdown to have all of this happen at once, like a massive info dump. It solves almost all of the mystery the comic has offered, leaving little more than a climatic final battle between the new Buckaroo Butcher and the main characters, which doesn't seem all that different from your run-of-the-mill slasher flick.
|Click images to enlarge|
All that being said, the answers we receive are incredibly satisfying. They're the kind that will make you want to go back and read the entire series from the beginning to look for all the clues you might have missed along the way. Now that everything stands revealed and you have a clear timeline, you wonder what you should have picked up on earlier.
Mike Henderson's artwork never fails to deliver. He shows massive action set pieces one moment and then close, emotional beats the next. It's a healthy mix that keeps the book going at a breakneck pace. Even though much of this issue is just people standing or kneeling and talking to one another, there's an unmistakable suspense that permeates through every panel. It's clear that not all of these characters will make it out alive.
Henderon has a talent for facial expressions, especially with the eyes. You can tell someone is crazy by how small their pupils get. It makes for an uneasy sight. Similarly, the intensity in Sheriff Crane's eyes is matched by that of her daughter's. They're both fierce and not willing to give up, even if hope seems lost. Then there's Edward James Warren, the Nailbiter himself. One look at him and you just know that he's up to no good. His face shows a conniving smirk and a knowing glance.
|Click images to enlarge|
Adam Guzowki's colors make the flashback scenes really stand out. They're portrayed in grey tones with red hues, giving them a feel of something like old forgotten drive-in movies. The blood pops off the page in these panels, contrasted against the black-and-white figures.
The vast majority of your questions about Nailbiter are answered in this issue. It's a payoff that's been building since the series debuted in 2014. I would have preferred if it wasn't all at once, perhaps saving some of the pacing out some of the revelations to build up to the finale. As it stands, it's still a pulse-pounding comic that I will be sad to see come to an end.