Check out our interview with the Nailbiter creators Josh Williamson and Mike Henderson about this story arc!
After last month’s shocking opening chapter to Bound By Blood, Nailbiter returns this week with an even more explosive issue. If you thought things got weird in #21, you might want to make sure you’re sitting down to read this one.
Is it good?
Nailbiter #22 (Image Comics)
- Mike Henderson can somehow make blood and rain soaked corpses look beautiful (or maybe I just need to adjust my meds).
- I already knew what was coming on page two (we all did), but the image still gave me one of those chills that makes your pelvis feel like might rattle out of your butt.
- Finch and Warren: Still a great buddy cop team-up…
- …until one of them completely loses it. Holy crap!
- Not sure how I feel about The Blonde and Crane teaming up, but it’s growing on me fast.
- Ah, the reunion we’ve all been waiting for…
- …and another that we weren’t, but might be even better.
Is It Good?
Maybe it’s because I first read this issue in black and white, but Nailbiter #22 represents some of the best art and color work we’ve seen in the series. Mike Henderson completely outdoes himself. The issue’s opening and its subsequent chase scene are gloriously unsettling. He also does fantastic work on a couple of close quarter dialogue scenes that have wildly different dynamics.
Colorist Adam Guzowski also deserves a great deal of credit for how beautiful the issue looks, particularly the scenes that take place in the rain. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention John J. Hill’s lettering. It’s a part of making comics that often gets overlooked, but it’s hard to miss how he makes The Butcher seem even more terrifying with a simple change in font.
Story-wise, this is Williamson at his best. He draws you in with great dialogue, starts to answer some questions, then makes your head spin with something new–but not in way that’s cheap. The big ‘bitey’ moment (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it) doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s the type of thing we really should have seen coming, but the narrative had slyly kept in the background until the time was right to strike.
Williamson also does a fantastic job showing how the series’ main characters have evolved during the course of the series. As new-reader friendly as Blood By Bound is, this one feels like it pays off some of the growth (or regression) we’ve been observing over the last twenty-two issues.
I also find myself liking The Blonde a lot more than I did last issue, especially after watching her and Crane together. I’m still not completely sold on why she’s back in Buckaroo, but (as usual), Williamson addresses the bizarre plot point in a way that feels organic and links back to the main story.
On a related note, Williamson reveals in the letter column that despite his new DC exclusive contract, Williamson will still be writing Nailbiter. This is exceptionally good news. I was going to chew my fingers off if my favorite series got canceled.
But I might have.