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Review – The Walking Dead #109 (Image / Skybound, 2013)

There will be spoilers of the contents of issue 109 from here on in.

It’s a sure sign that you are a lapsed comic purchaser when you only have 1 title on your pull list and you don’t even get that excited when that 1 Wednesday in the month rolls around and you had barely remembered that your 1 title was due to be released. Maybe it’s taken me longer than expected to get over issue 108 (not really – I managed to make it to work next day and eat and sleep etc). Maybe I just don’t have the enthusiasm for this title compared to 5 or 6 years ago (closer to the truth).

Anyhow – here we are with issue 109, which, by my calculation, will be part 1(of 6) of Volume 19. So lets not expect too many fireworks  – although I suspect this arc will involve some sort of challenge to Negans authority (him and his saviours will have been around for nearly 20 episodes by the time we get to the end of this arc, so you would expect events to reach a crescendo).

What I am trying to say is, not a huge amount happens in this issue.

For example;

Maggie grieves for Glenn. She gets commended by a woman who really talks too much about  how cool it is that she has a headstone for her deceased love (this scene goes on too long and is afflicted by the verbosity that causes word balloons to pop). Maggie visits the Hilltop Doctor (she is pregnant with Glenns child). Maggie meets the Hilltop Blacksmith. Jesus pops up and lets Maggie in on the big secret (ie Rick is going to beat up Negan). Jesus pops up all over the place at the Hilltop, very keen he is to spread the wonderful news that Rick is going to wait outside the school gates with his mates and give Negan a good kicking. The end result of this announcement to all and sundry is that one guy who Jesus thought he could trust – some Hilltop guard called Kal – appears to have done a runner straight to Negan to tell him the very same news. Jesus berates himself for being so stupid. Considering Jesus has not put a foot wrong so far in the comic, this moment poses the question that if he doubted the reliability of ‘Kal’, then why approach him with the news? Surely there would have been other useful people in the Hilltop community? Jesus seems to know them all anyway, so why go to the one that was potentially the weak link?

Apart from all that excitement, Spencer makes his first passive aggressive move at Rick. It fails.And Carl has grown a floppy emo type fringe to hang over the abyss of his face. And his dad wants him fighting Negan, side by side, father & son etc. At least he won’t be whingeing about being left out of all the ‘fun’ now, or going all Scrappy Doo when he feels he isnt getting involved, and killing grown men with weapons bigger than he is as a result.

Ezekiel Watch – there was not one Tiger in this issue. Shame.

Review – The Walking Dead 107 (Image/Skybound, 2013)

A typically misleading / playful (depending on your mood) cover shot for the latest installment. Is Carl really dead this time?

SPOLIERS AHEAD!!!

No, of course he isn’t – though he doesn’t look too good without the face bandages. How would they work that into the TV show?

Meanwhile, Kirkman continues to confound with Negan. Or maybe exasperate. The guy is a conundrum. You want to hate him but at the same time Kirkman throws in a new side to his character so that you might possibly end up respecting him a little. He still forms sentences with Tourettes levels of bad language, but his reasoning behind cooperation over conflict worked for me. Rick, as usual, leads with his head (butt) and his one good fist when faced with the threat of his sons safety. The fact that his attack on Negan is met with minor amusement  then slight annoyance suggests that to Negan, Rick is no threat.

So we get the idea that The Saviors are aptly named – they work with all the neighbouring communities, the proviso being cooperation means bending to Negan’s will and surrendering good and services on demand. But as long as that is maintained, Negan’s ‘army’ keep order and the undead at bay. Saviors indeed.

Which brings me onto the next point of note (Negan’s ‘army’). Carl was not just being an impetuous pre-teen who decided to take on a group of well armed adults with psychopathic tendencies. Well, in truth he was that, but a happy benefit of that rash decision is the intel that Carl has on the inner workings of  Negan’s fortress. When quizzed by Jesus and Rick, it seems that the ‘army’ may not be as well manned as previously thought. Which brings us on to the conclusion of issue 107, when Jesus (who gets better and better and is probably my favourite character right now) suggests a meeting with ‘Ezekiel’. Ezekiel, you may know, or may not, is this guy;

Fun times ahead. Looks like there may be a new Revolution coming to the US in the months ahead.

There were also a couple of sub-plots worthy of discussion. One good, one bad. The good was Eugene and his factory find. Despite all but disappearing in the slipstream of Abraham (RIP), he may now have a chance to shine and actually prove to be useful, providing he can walk the walk as well as he can talk the talk (i.e. produce ammunition to specification and that is fit for purpose). If that is the case, then we may see a tipping point and the odds swing towards Rick in his struggle against Negan.

The bad sub-plot involves Michonne and Heath. Michonne hits on Heath, with no prior warning. Her grab at him is as unsubtle as this new plot development and just begs the question why? It served no purpose and made Michonne look foolish. If it looks like filler and feels like filler, it probably is filler. Not good.

Overall, the issue is another success. No great drama, but layering on the intrigue, fleshing out Negan and Jesus a little more, with the promise of a new character next time round. Apart from that one blip, this continues the comics good run of form.