What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Nailbiter: Returns #4! New game, new rules, new players. Some would say that the past is beginning to repeat itself, but the truth is that this is something different. The town of Buckaroo isn’t ready for what is about to be ground zero for a game in which the people are nothing but collateral damage and points. Like the Butchers themselves too? What’s the deal with that? Only four issues in and yet so many new twists like this.
With this new issue of Nailbiter, I loved the depth they continue to give Finch. I remember when this guy was an onion who we had to peel back to get to know, but here they are allowing us the room to jump right into what goes on in his head. And there would be no better time to when this is a version of Finch who has been the happiest he could be after everything he has been through. So after what happened in the previous issue, and still happening now? I have to say the timing so far has been excellent to show us what it looks like when you have a main character with so much to lose.
That said, let’s turn back to what’s going on in the present, because I have to say this creative team is pulling no punches when it comes to how fast this town can find itself flipped on its head under siege by the resurrected Buckaroo Butchers. This development right here is also brilliant for the fact that you would never have expected this kind of boldness from these killers. When you think of serial killers, you think of everything horrible that is done in the shadows. Things no person has to believe with their own two eyes. Yet here they are out in the open and stirring chaos. Firing guns like that right into a house from the outside? That gave me chills. Especially since one instantly had to question if someone wasn’t about to get filled with holes. Everything about that scene succeeding in keeping me at the edge of my seat since as I said before, this is a different game. We don’t know who is meant to see the end of this. We don’t even know who would truly be called the main character when there is so much going on here that isn’t fully revealed.
All we have is what is given to us bit by bit, and that part is important too. Mainly for the fact that at the core, Nailbiter is mystery. That is what made us invested with the first story, from start to finish. So I would say they have done wonderful making sure that we are only knowing what we need to know. I know I want to know what it means to win this game. Not to mention how one plays this game.
As always, solid work from this art team. There was nothing too standout from this issue specifically because most of it took place in one area, but that did not stop this art team from going above and beyond with the horror elements. And for this issue in particular, I would like to hand it to the letterer, John J. Hill. I don’t think I find enough time to talk about what the lettering adds to this story. You would think that so many sound effects would be saved for action-books, but you would also forget what this can do for a story where even a sound can create a reaction for you that words in sentences cannot. The contrasting colors, the boldness, not to mention the sizing of the font make a big difference as well. It just throws a reaction right in your face which elevates a scene much more than if there was just empty space.
In the end, Nailbiter: Returns #4 was one hell of a page-turner. So much madness packed into one issue, and they did not fail to leave us hanging with a banger of a cliffhanger. A month will be too long to find out just what the heck is going on in this town right now.