The following Nailbiter #20 review has major spoilers, so if you haven’t read the issue, buy it! Otherwise, read on…

To say issue 20 of Nailbiter is intense would be an understatement. Not only was it the end of the current arc, which always leads to some pretty crazy revelations, but in the Image solicitations, it hinted at the death of a major character. If this were DC or Marvel, you would shrug and move on, but death in Nailbiter is cruel, harsh and bloody. There are no resurrections here.

LISTEN: We talk all things NAILBITER in episode 62 of our ComicsVerse podcast!

So there was a sense of dread and anxious slowly settling on my shoulders as I opened up this latest issue. And when I finished, exhaled deeply afterwards. As promised, we find out who the Devil Killer is. It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments that plays out to a satisfying conclusion. It also brings forward the suggestion that there is a person behind the madness that is Buckaroo. The Master. Someone lurking in the shadows, whispering to those who would listen, putting murderous suggestions into people’s heads.  And that’s just the beginning of the issue.

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Meanwhile, Finch sits down with Warren for a brief talk. It’s a well played out scene, balanced between probing questions and silent panels. It is a perfect balance of great writing and strong art. Mike Henderson is excellent as always, filling panels that have no dialogue with an underlying tension, at times giving us more answers than any dialogue balloon could. And then Joshua Williamson asks the question: Did Warren kill all the people he was supposed to have killed? The answer is…It’s complicated.

WATCH: We talk to NAILBITER creator Joshua Williamson at NYCC 2015!

And then we have agent Barker. Grabbed by the Butcher back in Buckaroo, but somehow escaped, she has had, over the course of the arc, many vivid hallucinations about killing a lot of people. Here, she finally explodes, in a wash of tears and blood, as she caves in to her instincts. It’s at once expected yet shocking when it finally happens. Adam Guzowski’s colors here add so much horror here.  The blood almost jumps off the page as it sprays everywhere in a fine mist. It then settles down, looking like it’s staining the very page your reading. But amongst the shock is the sadness, as you can’t help but feel sorry for Barker. With every death blow she brings, she pleads for forgiveness, smearing herself in gore as she says “They made me watch…”

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It’s a strong and gripping way to finish this current arc. It gives us hints at who is behind Buckaroo, it puts a question mark over Warren as a serial killer, and Barker finally breaks down. After saying he’s down with it all, I suspect Finch will be back to finally get to the bottom of these mysteries.

Issue 20 of Nailbiter has it all and more. If mystery, suspense, and buckets of blood are your thing, get on this, and support a great comic series!

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