Category Archives: countdown to walking dead 100

The Walking Dead #100 Preview / Review / Prediction

The preview is here;

http://www.thewalkingdeadnewsfeed.com/2012/07/walking-dead-100-real-preview.html

The review is here;

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/07/09/review-the-walking-dead-100-by-robert-kirkman-and-charlie-adlard/

and the prediction? Well, I think the following will happen (SPOILERS!!!!!!!!)

This is my predicted body count for issue #100 of The Walking Dead (purely speculative)

Glenn and Maggie are going to die. I think something horrible is going to happen to Maggie, something to do with the fact she is pregnant…..

I think Sophia is going to die.

I think Heath is going to die.

I think Carl is going to die.

Review – The Walking Dead #98 (image/skybound, 2012)

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. 
In tribute

Review – The Walking Dead #97 (Image / Skybound, 2012)

We have reached a point in The Walking Dead where Rick’s decisions are leading the main cast of characters into uncharted territory. If the turning point for these people was ‘Fear The Hunters’, where they turned the tables on a group of Survivalists with a taste for Human flesh, then the journey from survivors to aggressors is now complete. In ‘Something to Fear’, they meet force with force. In a quick and brutal mid-section, issue #97 is a game-changer. After confronting and eliminating a small group of ‘Negan’ foot-soldiers, there is no way back from a confrontation, unless ‘Negan’ acquiesces to the demands Rick is setting out. Rick has been through so much, and at this point in the story he is a man desperate; desperate for hope, desperate to keep his son and   by extension those he keeps closest to him alive. He is desperate for the working relationship with the Hilltop Community, which will probably guarantee some measure of safety and comfort for his own community. He is desperate enough to take on the unknown threat of Negan. But a desperate man can make bad decisions, and this issue seems to pulse with the threat of violence and death.

And then there is Eugene.

Eugene, largely forgotten over the last couple of years, comes back into focus, teasing and cajoling Abraham into a mission outside of the walled community, for ammunition supplies. You get the sense there is more to this. Is the real motive to get Abraham away from the safety of the community? And to what ends? It is clear Eugene has feelings for Rosita that are not reciprocated, and the weight of her past relationship with Abraham is maybe too much of a burden for Eugene. By the end of the issue, there is probably a lot more for Eugene to worry about, in a great cliffhanger, promising some unpleasant consequences in issue 98.

One throwaway moment towards the end was the appearance of a zombie in advanced stages of decay. I am sure this will be revisited in the future, but what is its significance? An indication that the undead do eventually decay to the point that there threat is negated? That the undead do have a limited ‘life’ span?

Lots of action, some plot development (Maggie pregnant – probably not a good portent for her or Glenn), and a fantastic cliffhanger. Some great splash pages from Adlard, although some of the smaller panels felt rushed (but considering the time constraints he is working under, his consistency is amazing). All in all, this is The Walking Dead back to its best. ‘Something to Fear’ is promising to be a real event. I really hope its promise is fulfilled.

Review – The Walking Dead #96 (Image/Skybound, 2012)

The conclusion to ‘A Larger World’ is intriguing, though let down in part by the ending, where Rick gives another grandstand speech that is more Hollywood than Woodbury. That is not to say this issue is poor by any means, but the tendency to let Rick espouse at length is now a common trend in this comic book, and it is not one of the books strengths.

So, this story arc was essentially a foundation stone, setting up a bigger storyline, which will develop as we move towards issue #100. We now have a better understanding of The Hilltop communities situaiton, and the threat that looms over them. This issue also further develops the change in Rick Grimes. The man who would do anything to keep his surviving family safe will go to some extreme lengths to ensure this. But I also think that we are seeing the gradual shift from Hero to anti-Hero to Villain. That famous truism ‘Power Corrupts’ is a constant nagging feeling as you witness Rick verbalise his thoughts.

The art seemed a little different this issue, a little sparser, with less detail. Some of the big splash pages were really well done. Considering Charlie Adlard is producing one of these at a rate to ensure The Walking Dead ships every 3 weeks until issue 100, the end product should be commended. He is the rock of this creative team, and he keeps on delivering.

Another grumble; I accept that, for economic terms, the monthlies need to be rounded up, story-wise, for Trade considerations, but does every story-arc now also need a sub-heading to absolutely sign-post the reader through the plot? As ‘A Larger World’ ends, so ‘Something To Fear’ begins. I find it unneccesary. I used to like it when it was just called ‘The Walking Dead’, without the unnecessary exposition implicit in giving these story-arcs titles and splashing them all over the cover. And it makes the covers look messy and takes some of their power / attractiveness away.

The ending. It gave enough for us to understand that we are a long way from being done with Hilltop and its external threats. You came away absolutely understanding what a tight team Rick has around him. But his speech at the end was just hyperbolic and way too cheesy. Robert Kirkman has a tendency more and more to let the dialogue impede the flow of the story. There is less economy with words, and the verbosity can grate. It does here. I understand the sentiment that Rick is espousing, and I think that this will make for  exciting plot development. But its the execution that sometimes fall short, not the ideas.

Review – The Walking Dead #95 (Image/Skybound, 2012)

This is a review of issue 95 of The Walking Dead, and contains mild SPOILERS!

There has been a paucity of really great issues of this series over the past 3 years, but in terms of what this issue did, I think it ranks with the last truly great episode (which was out a year ago)  in issue 83 (and you can click here for a synopsis of what happened in that issue) ;

The Walking Dead tends to stick to a cyclic plot progression. Rick & co. meet new people, new people have own community, Rick & co. unsure / wary of new community, eventually all hell breaks loose, and their may be some zombies thrown into the mix (just to remind you that though the living are the real threat, this is generally marketed as a ‘Zombie’ comic). Rick & co. regroup, and the whole cycle starts again.

Issue #95 (or ‘part 3 of A Larger World’ if you prefer) is no exception to this tried and tested formula. Rick & co. have been taken to the gates of a walled community (aka ‘Hilltop Colony’), to be introduced and welcomed into it. Several issues have led up to this particular moment, as we have seen Rick struggle with his natural instinct of distrust and finally come to an understanding with ‘Jesus’ (aka Paul Monroe), the advanced scout / lead recruiter for this new community. We are given a snapshot of life within the walls of ‘Hilltop’ thanks to Adlard’s great pencils, showing bored sentry guards, rows of trailers, a fantastic Stately building and scores of people going about their business.

So far, so the-usual-Walking-Dead of late. Slow paced, but with a little less exposition and a lot less word balloons fit to burst with Kirkman’s dialogue. But then something great and unexpected happens. Without wanting to give too much away, we are introduced to a leader / elder called Gregory, and in quick succession, another resident, Ethan, comes back from a mission that has gone wrong. There are other names, of victims, captives and potential aggressors. Then all hell breaks loose, and Rick is right in the middle of it, as usual. It really reminded me of this, for some reason;

That’s a good thing by the way.

These final pages left me really impressed, especially the final shot of Rick and his apparent nonchalance to the events that had just occurred.

For the first time in ages, I really do not know where this series is going next. Again, that’s a good thing, as the unpredictability of issue 95 left me with the distinct impression that Kirkman is planning something superb for his centenary celebrations on The Walking Dead. I really hope he can deliver on the promise of this current instalment.

Solicitation for The Walking Dead 97 (Image/Skybound, 2012)

THE WALKING DEAD #97
Written by Robert Kirkman, art and cover by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn.
Two issues in one month! The start of a new storyline, leading up to our monumental issue 100! After nearly 100 issues, Rick and the other survivors finally have “Something to Fear.”
32 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on May 9.