Review: Nailbiter: Returns #1

What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the debut of Nailbiter: Returns #1! When Nailbiter’s return was first announced, I was over the moon with excitement. There was a time where horror books were the big thing, and for me Nailbiter sat right at the top. This was a story which terrified you for all of the right reasons, and took you on a journey through the mind of a serial killer. That is a rare opportunity to get in comic form. By the end of that final issue I felt that my investment was rewarded through twists, turns, mysteries, and reveals you couldn’t have seen coming till the moment hit.

Though here we are with the book surprisingly picking up with a brand new story. I was shocked at first, because it seemed as though they wanted to leave the rest to our imagination. That would have been fine with me too. Though can you really argue with the chance at getting more out of your favorite series? No, you can’t. Which brings us to the reason for this return. As they said, sixteen of the world’s worst serial killers were all born in the same small town, though Agent Finch and Sheriff Crane solved and buried that mystery. What more do you do after that? Easy, create a situation where the cycle of madness continues. It’s easy to assume that closing the case meant breaking the chain of serial killers created, but that’s not really how this world works. People always find a way to be inspired and pick up from where someone else left off. It made sense that v

With that said, this first issue gave us a warm welcome back into the world of Nailbiter. With so much time since the end of the main series, of course for some of us a refresher is going to be appreciated. It was worthwhile to take a small trip through who the Buckaroo Butchers are, and some examples of their brand of murder. Just as quickly as we got this refresher, I enjoyed the execution of actual story to understand when this is all taking place. One of the big things for me was seeing just where they were going to pick up with Alice’s story if this is supposed to be a new case which involves her teaming up with Finch. She older, she’s more under control than the rebellious streak she was on when younger too. The best thing was seeing her comfort level with it being a known thing that her father is the Nailbiter.

Picking up with Finch’s side of things was quick, but it was also appreciated that we were seeing a version of him who has finally found some sort of normalcy in his life. What we were so used to before was this guy who really only had the work to keep him going. There was no one else genuine in his life to focus on aside from his old partner.

The case which brings Finch back into this world was an interesting one. Mainly because it only assumed the idea that these murders were starting up again. The only ones who were aware of what was actually going on is us, the readers. This was a creative twist on the approach taken in the previous series. There we were all in the dark about everything unfolding, but in Nailbiter: Returns? This creative team showed no fear in allowing us to get a taste of what Finch and Alice are in store for. To say that these were just violent copycat murders imitating the infamous Buckaroo Butchers beginning in Portland, Oregon was quite the understatement. The page count was used well to ensure that the foundation was set for what is now unraveling, because the questions and mysteries don’t stop at just figuring out who is behind the latest murders.

Jumping into this continuation of the series, of course one of the more promising factors is the fact that it is the same creative team working on it. Same writer, same art team. Having the same art team was a big one for me. One of the things I enjoyed more than anything else was the visual storytelling and style they brought to this series. Off the bat, there was a unique style to the way these characters are drawn. That didn’t change, neither did the detail in the settings, or the uniqueness of the layout design for the panels/scenes. I loved the chills I got from a scene where something horrific happens because they have this way about the aspects they focus on, the sound effects which are in your face, the way some scenes even play out as if episodic. The cuts in particular made a big difference in holding your attention and changing up your perception of certain events. In general, they go into this with a game plan in how the art controls the atmosphere and your reaction to everything unfolding within these pages.

A brand-new mystery has been set in motion, and the stakes are bigger than they have ever been before. I mean, the first mystery was all about the murders which never truly ended. Though here we are with Nailbiter: Returns #1, and it seems that the idea is to remind the world that they still have something to fear. Nothing is more dangerous than a copycat(s) who wants to make a statement. Well that and make their presence felt. As an extra-length first issue, this creative team did not disappoint in giving us every reason to look forward to more!

Nailbiter: Returns #1




Jideobi Odunze Author

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