Review – The Walking Dead 108 (Image/Skybound, 2013)

SPOILERS!!! from here on in….

Issue 108 is the last of the current ‘arc’ – in other words this will be the last few pages you read when the next trade (volume 18) is released in June (currently scheduled for 11 June according to Amazon UK). What that means is, is that issue 108 gives you enough story without much being resolved. It whets the appetite but not much more. The major talking point is the arrival of Ezekiel and his Tiger. No, the Tiger is not stuffed. His name is Shiva (the name of a Hindu deity – Shiva means ‘auspicious one’). Shiva abhors violence apparently. Maybe that’s why ‘King’ Ezekiel is able to treat him like a pet. Yes – ‘King’ Ezekiel is actually the ruler of ‘The Kingdom’ another one of the pockets of Survivors that make up Kirkman’s ‘Larger World’. King Ezekiel appears to have all the affectations of a ruler of a past age, complete with men on horseback trotting out to meet visitors and questioning them with antiquated speech. It is all fairly ridiculous, and Kirkman knows this, so this is all a bit tongue in cheek. Ezekiel isn’t the first to go a bit eccentric in a post apocalyptic setting – Lord Humungus from Mad Max 2 not only gave himself a lofty title, but also liked wearing a medieval type Hockey Mask and not much else;

Back in the comic, Rick has been introduced to Ezekiel by Jesus. Rick does not like Negan (recap later) and guess what? Neither does Ezekiel, who finds his Negan’s style of leadership not up to his Royal standards. To add to the party atmosphere, there is a surprise appearance from Dwight (of The Saviors)! I think its fairly safe to say that his potential to betray Negan was apparent after we learned that not only had the potty-mouthed tyrant a) nicked Dwight’s wife but then b) burnt half his face of when poor Dwight tried to steal a few moments with his wife! Rick, however, was not happy to see Dwight and remains suspicious, and can you blame him. After all, not only have the Saviors been responsible for the deaths of 2 important members of Rick’s group (Abraham and Glen), but they also held Rick’s son, Carl, when he went all Scrappy-Doo and tried to do the job that his Dad won’t do right now (which is to KILL NEGAN). AND the Saviors want to come along to Rick’s walled community whenever they feel like it and take whatever they want. So you can see why there is some hostility. Hey, I am sure it will all work out fine. Kirkman is letting the readers know that there is an alliance of like minded communities and individuals forming here, with the express purpose of taking Negan down.

We had another peek into the world of Negan this week, when we learned that he has to win at Ping Pong. If he doesn’t, I assume ‘Lucille’ (that’s ‘Lucille’ the Baseball Bat) comes into play. So the lower orders of The Saviors (ie everyone who is not Negan) have to simply throw the match. I believe this proves beyond doubt that, alongside the awful language and general anti social tendencies, that Negan is one big bully and a sore loser. The sooner we are rid of him so we can go back to Rick having long dialogues with himself or any unfortunate who happens to be caught in his gaze, the better!

Speaking of which, there was too many words in the final few pages. Everyone caught a bug and the result was a wave of verbal diarrhoea. It’s pretty much mandatory to have at least a couple of pages of this sort of verbosity. I guess its something you just have to get used to.

I flagged Spencer as a problem a couple of issues back – see here. There is something in this issue that only reinforces that. A small scene, but it could be growing into a major plot point over the next few issues.

There was a little bit of zombie action, which was surprising only for how insignificant it felt, other than to give Carl a moment to be vulnerable. This isn’t  a comic about Zombies any more is it? They appear to be nothing more than an annoyance.

Michonne and Andrea had a few panels together. Michonne is refreshingly frank and sparing with her words in this issue. I wish Rick was.

Was it a good issue? Well, it wasn’t bad. It was faintly ridiculous (all that King Ezekiel stuff) and there was some forward momentum (the conspirators coming together against Negan).The cover is amazing, and is the very best thing about The Walking Dead 108.

3 thoughts on “Review – The Walking Dead 108 (Image/Skybound, 2013)”

  1. Thought this issue came as close to jumping the shark as the comic has ever come. Will wait to see how the Ezekiel stuff unfolds but the whole thing seemed entirely ridiculous and out of place.

  2. I hear you loud and clear. The term 'jump the shark' came into my mind when reading 108. It seems like Kirkman wants to take the comic in a new direction and I get the feeling that that direction is all about how these disparate communities interact. What concerns me is how those communities are going to be populated. Too many 'larger than life' characters will alter the tone of the series too much, and at that point I think I would probably drop the title. We shall see.

  3. The series has made a very strong recovery with the "A Larger World" and "Something to Fear" arcs. The series was really stagnating in the arcs prior to that. I really like the idea of separate communities, with different story lines and feuds emerging as a result. What has made Walking Dead so compelling is the gritty realism of the human relationships. Obviously we're talking about a zombie book but it's strength has been that this is a survivor's tale and it unfolds the way you would expect a post-apocalyptic world to unfold. I have difficulty believing normal, rational, sane people would follow a "King" Ezekial. A more likely scenario is he would be dismissed as being crazy. Same for Negan (who I generally like as a character). As I said, I'll wait to see how it unfolds but for the first time maybe ever in the series I really found myself groaning in disbelief at what I was reading.

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