Review: Nailbiter #22

What’s your favourite scary movie? Mine? That’s an easy one – Scream. I know that some might consider it to be an odd choice but it’s one of the first movies that truly terrified me and I love it still to this day. Not only is it an incredibly enjoyable film and an example of some of the late Wes Craven’s best work, it’s also extremely quotable. Now of course everyone remembers “what’s your favourite scary movie?” and of course “hello, Sidney” but some of my favourite lines are delivered by the unrequited love-slave of Sidney Prescott; Randy Meeks. Now, why am I going on and on about Scream and Randy Meeks? Well, the second last page of this month’s Nailbiter shows Alice’s stepparents asleep in front of the T.V. You can’t see what they’re watching but the voice from the television calls out “if you were the only suspect in a senseless bloodbath, would you be standing in the Horror section?” - a classic Randy quote. That is without a doubt one of the most obscure, totally awesome, unbelievably cool ways to reference the film and give a little nod to Wes Craven. Well played, Joshua Williamson; well played. Your cool-stock has grown exponentially. I totally got it, loved it and I will be reading The Flash now because of it. Alright, now that I’ve got that out of the way let’s cut into this issue of Nailbiter. More of a slower paced read this month as the pieces begin moving into place. The Butcher of Buckeroo is revealed as Alice’s savior, but then quickly engages her in his own sadistic game of cat and mouse. Still almost nothing is known about this mysterious new Butcher, except for the reason why he wears the Minotaur mask: many years ago, Warren (The Nailbiter/Alice’s father) Nailbiter-#22-1alongside an unknown female accomplice, disfigured his face with a flaming baseball bat. It would seem he would have all the motivation in the world to hurt Warren but if so, why leave his daughter unharmed? Also, as I expected/predicted Sheriff Crane and The Blonde are becoming very close very quickly. Crane’s hero-worship of her one-time favourite Butcher is clouding her judgement and not allowing her to be objective. It’s evident that The Blonde is slowly starting to infiltrate and manipulate the situation in her favor. What will happen when Warren learns of her return and could she be the unnamed woman who burnt the face of The Butcher of Buckeroo? Finally, Finch accidentally lets the cat out of the bag to Warren of how he’s Alice’s father and upon learning the news, Warren goes completely ballistic. He starts attacking Finch as the two are driving down the highway, chomping and biting at him furiously and causing a car crash. Finch has to move fast to get to Crane and Alice; to warn them before Warren, The Nailbiter can have a family reunion all his own.

I suppose the best word to describe the state of the Nailbiter world right now is volatile; ready to erupt at any minute and without warning. Though as mentioned above this was much more subdued issue in terms of pace, it is laying the foundation for a final act that promises to be violent, bloody and totally shocking. That is what continues to make Nailbiter worth reading month after month: it hasn’t become formulaic; you can’t guess what’s going to happen in advance. That’s how you truly scare someone; by being completely unpredictable. Wes Craven knew this better than perhaps anyone to have come before him; Joshua Williamson exemplifies this ideal and carries it forward better than any of his contemporaries today. Had time not been premature in its taking of Wes Craven, it would have been interesting to see his directorial-take on Nailbiter. Sadly, such ideas are now only the stuff of dreams…or nightmares…

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Nailbiter #22
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99
Release Date: 6/1/16
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital