Previously in Nailbiter #20
After its longest break yet, Nailbiter is back with a brand new arc. In chapter one, “Bound by Blood,” we catch up with Alice, Crane, Finch, and, of course, Warren. By issue’s end, it appears all of our major players will be reunited in Buckaroo, where all the madness began.
Everyone knows Alice’s true parentage, and being the child of a serial killer isn’t going over so well with her classmates or Alice. Being evicted by her raggedy-ass foster father, and refusing to allow Crane to be a mother to her means that Alice is particularly vulnerable when her classmates decide she needs to be sacrificed in order to stop the Buckaroo curse.
Meanwhile, Crane finds herself the leader of an unlikely trio as she works with Morty the mortician and Fairgold. Between Morty’s expertise in all things Buckaroo Butchers and Fairgold’s access to the town archives under the church, Crane sees it as a necessary alliance, albeit an annoying one. Unfortunately, before she can share with them the details of breaking and entering Dr. Glory’s house, the return of a Buckaroo Butcher demands Crane’s attention.
Finch isn’t around for much in this issue – two pages, I believe. Still, he connects with Warren and suggests they go back to Buckaroo together and finish what they started. While this exchange featured a laugh-out-loud moment (What was that dance, Warren?), I was disappointed that we didn’t get to learn how Finch is dealing with Carroll’s death. I suspect we’ll get it sooner than later, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of Finch and Warren on the road. That has to be good for a few laughs.
The issue began at the end of the arc with a gruesome scene, and the events that followed were a flashback leading up to it. We didn’t quite get there at the end of the issue, but the cliffhanger was no less gruesome or terrifying. It also featured an amazing splash page filled with carnage that was unlike anything I’ve seen in Nailbiter prior, and something only Henderson could pull off.
Perhaps the most disturbing development in “Bound By Blood” is Alice’s homicidal hallucinations; much like the ones Barker had before she snapped, killed Carroll, and found herself in a mental hospital.