Previously in Nailbiter #21
Nailbiter #22 | Writer: Joshua Williamson | Art: Mike Henderson | Colors: Adam Guzowski | Letters & Book Design: John J. Hill
When I wrote my first book, a bit of valuable advice I received was to make my chapter endings stronger. This made sense to me considering one of my favorites parts of losing myself in a novel was when “just one more chapter” turns into “okay; maybe just one more chapter after this.” I suspect this is harder to achieve when writing a single issue of a comic book since it is, essentially, a chapter on its own. Nailbiter takes every opportunity to make turning the page a delight, though. You never know when hitting the next page is going to make you laugh out loud, or gasp, or cringe in horror. Because of this, each issue feels like it goes by way too quickly.
This month, “Bound by Blood” picks up right where we left Alice: blindfolded and bound in the middle of the woods, thinking her classmates are playing some cruel trick by pretending to sacrifice her to whatever forces they believe are turning Buckaroo residents into serial killers. What Alice doesn’t know is that her tormentors are dead, killed by the creepy-ass guy in the horned mask. But what we don’t know is that the killer is still there, watching as she yells into the night with body parts on the ground around her. And the reveal was terrifying.
I really appreciate the layers given to Warren. I’ve not yet figured this guy out. In 22 issues we’ve seen him be a murder suspect, a hero, a weirdo (that dance from last issue, man), and even a schoolboy in love. I suspect he has more answers to Buckaroo’s secrets, and so far getting those answers in small doses doesn’t feel like it’s being drawn out for the sake of it. The Warren-Finch road trip wasn’t as long as I’d wanted, but it didn’t disappoint – especially the moment when Finch refers to Warren’s daughter and we all realize at the exact same second that, “Oh, shit. Warren doesn’t know he has a daughter.”
Note: I wish we could have seen them play just one of Warren’s road trip games.
Of course, the offspring of Warren and Crane would be able to get the best of the masked killer. Alice runs, she hides, she slices, and she runs again. But before she gets away, he reveals a bit about himself: The mask is hiding scars caused by Warren and a young girl years ago. I don’t think we’ve heard Warren mention an incident like this, so this probably isn’t meant to reveal his identity to the reader – except it sounds like he might be an old classmate of Alice’s parents.
Another interesting nugget of information came from Crane’s meeting with The Blonde, who claims she’s never actually killed anyone and admits that the process behind her release from prison was sketchy AF. Could someone be trying to get all of the Buckaroo Butchers back home? This “master” the masked killer mentioned, perhaps?
This month’s cliffhanger promises that chapter three of “Bound By Blood” will be a great one as Warren looks to spend a little father/daughter time with Alice.