The hunt for Dale takes up pretty much all of this issue, but we also get to know the answer to a question that has been at the forefront of recent Walking Dead activity – but more of that later. The Walking Dead has some slower installments, that are neccesary as Kirkman likes to put all his pieces of plot into position before flicking his finger and the whole thing topples over like one of those Domino tracks. This issue is one of those, with ruminations on God and Christianity, the survival of the group against the need to find the missing Dale, further clues on Zombie lifespan and Rick and Abraham leading from the front.
But more than that, you finally get to see the Hunters, and without wanting to give away too much, you finally find out what their motivation is. It is pretty grim, but also logical. There is one panel that have this group (the Hunters) sitting around a garden bench in a backyard at night, the reflection of an open fire of some sort reflected in patio doors. In that one panel, the mundane collides with the horror of the situation that people are in. You find out later why the panel is so horrible, and the flames are a clue….I am saying too much here. The art in that scene is brilliant – gloomy, seemingly innocuos but with an undercurrent of menace. Adlard delivers so much good work, but sometimes he nails it to perfection, and in that panel he really gets it good. Just read it.
Back to the ‘burning question resolved’ I mentioned earlier. There is some focus on ‘Father’ Gabriel Stokes, and the question of whether or not he is in league with the Hunters. Well, maybe it gets answered in issue 63…but maybe not. Who can tell what twists and turns Kirkman has in store? Stokes certainly tells a good story, and maybe he is a good actor?
The Hunters are still fairly shadowy, and the terror they induce with their anonymity is palpable. You do get to meet Chris, though, and he exudes a perverse banality, complete with good manners, that leaves you needing to back off from the page in revulsion.
The final panel is pure Kirkman and Adlard genius. I will say no more, other than this – with 3 more to go on this arc, I get the feeling that next time around we will start to see some people heading for the chopping board. Figuratively speaking, of course…..