Story by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Mike Henderson
Colors by: Adam Guzowski
Letters and Book Design by: John J. Hill
Edited by: Rob Levin
Again, Joshua Williamson doesn’t disappoint. He’s kept the thrill going for twenty-two issues straight, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. As we know, this arc is all about Alice, and her dealing with being the Nailbiter’s daughter. But, as we see in this issue, that girl can take care of herself.
Alice escapes from the Butcher, after he kills all of the hooligans that attacked her in the last issue. Her fight scene with him is hide-under-the-blankets intense. Interestingly, he tells Alice, “Can you guess why I wear this mask? Because once upon a time your father and a young girl just like you with a flaming baseball bat ruined my face.” Was that young girl Crane? So Warren knows the Butcher’s identity, and all Alice has to do is ask him who he maimed with a flaming baseball bat—and why.
It’s great to see the buddy-cop duo of Warren and Finch again. Warren humorously wants to play a road trip game, but Finch slips up when he accidentally tells Warren that Alice is his daughter. This causes Warren to go a bit psycho (out of excitement?) and bite Finch, thus causing them to crash. When Alice makes it home, guess who’s there in her basement? “Daddy’s home,” he says. (A bit of an Easter egg—as Alice climbs through the window and sneaks past her sleeping foster parents, the quote from the TV is from Scream: “If you were the only suspect in a senseless bloodbath—would you be standing in the horror section?”)
Crane is also teaming up with The Blonde (who somehow knows Warren) to find out more about the tunnels around the city and about the White Chapel Project. I’m a bit scared for Crane. The Master might not like her getting so close.
Henderson’s art continues to impress. The scenes in the rain are some of my favorite yet; you almost feel drenched like the characters. He somehow makes decapitated heads beautiful. His cover art depicts an androgynous, Misfits-esque Rosie the Riveter displaying an arm tattoo of the Butcher. Does this symbolize Warren, Alice, and Crane teaming up to take down the Master in true “We can do it!” fashion. They’re definitely an untraditional family, why not represent an untraditional Rosie? And they are bound by blood, as the arc’s title suggests. Or perhaps it has a more literal meaning—maybe it represents the serial killers teaming up, as we’ve seen, in service of the Master. Are more people under his thumb than we’d expect? Whatever the meaning, I quite like this cover. By not displaying Warren or another main character, it’s different than the rest. I like the androgynous feel—it really could be anyone. The strong red background juxtaposed with the black-and-white face paint really helps the image stand out.
I’m excited to see where this arc goes. I’m a bit worried for Crane; she may be getting in too deep with the Master. Hopefully with Finch back, they’ll team up. I can’t say enough about how incredible this comic is. It has all the best things: impeccable storytelling and artwork mixed with a little (OK, a lot of) gore. The dark and gruesome nature of Nailbiter keeps me coming back every week. Is it just me?