SPOILERS. Please do not read if you are not up to date with the single issues, specifically, if you haven’t read Walking Dead #98, and you do not want it spoiled, then do not go any further.
We approach #100 rapidly, what with the 3 week release schedule, and the pace really picking up. Issue 98 absolutely whizzes by, with a momentum that is gripping and a reading time of mere minutes. But there is an event within the first few pages that is truly shocking and relatively unexpected. Yes, its MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH TIME in The Walking Dead. It’s one of those story arcs. This one, I got to admit. I would not have predicted. Notice I am not saying his name. I would not have predicted its (ahem) execution, which is done with a black humour and a certain amount of sadness. But more importantly, I really did not want this character to die. I will not say his name. He was probably the only one with any humour and vitality, and anything approaching a personality, while the rest of the characters either got locked into soap opera dialogue or were reduced to snarling dogs. I cannot say his name. IT’S A WASTE OF A BLOODY GOOD CHARACTER.
While there is no doubt that the latest arc is threatening to match the body count (and death = excitement, right?) of The Woodbury Prison siege all those years ago, this latest issue is still hard to swallow, where it feels that Kirkman is simply tossing away a great character, with lots of untapped potential, for the sake of shock value. I am not sure how ‘Letter Hacks’ is going to read in a couple of issues time when the reaction to #98 most likely gets published, but I get a sense that this issue will be a polariser. For me, this was a needless death. Shame. Shame!
When Kirkman didn’t give Carl the death that we all anticipated, it felt like a mistake, a bad piece of sensationalism with an outcome that made no sense (I know, we are talking comics here, but still, even by this logic where the dead roam the Earth – Carl should be dead). With this latest twist in the tale, it just feels like a cheap shot. He didn’t deserve to go just yet. I doubt many readers were tired of him. And in the final panel, you see Rick – lost and unsure of his next move. Well, that may be mirroring the emotions of reader reactions to #98. Still, I will be there next time.