Capping what has been a fascinating and rewarding year to be a Walking Dead fan (what with the excellent Telltale Games series, and some very good TV episodes), issue 105 is further proof that Negan is here for the long run, Carl is moving more centre stage, and Rick? No Rick to be seen.
What we get is an exploration of the Saviors, the Sanctuary and Negans rule. To call him ‘hard but fair’ would be an understatement, as he is a conundrum. His methods of punishment can be cruel, barbaric, yet he also strives to look after his subjects. They respond with almost complete loyalty, but again Kirkman shows that Dwight may well be the weak link, one way of Rick being able to strike back at Negan. We learn that Negan took Dwights wife/partner into his own harem, and when she cheated on Negan, with Dwight, the punishment was the dis-figuration of Dwight.
Negans treatment of Carl is fascinating. The issue explores their growing relationship, and with Carl scared and vulnerable, Negan probes for information. On 2 occasions Negan inadvertently reduces Carl to tears, by forcing him to remove his eye bandage, and by singing a song and recalling his mother? More disturbing was the images of Negan swinging Lucille during Carls rendition of ‘You are my Sunshine’. Was that another scare tactic? Was all of it a way of breaking Carl down?
A slower paced issue. But there was more than enough talking points. Next time, Dad comes looking for Carl. Looks like it could be the perfect start to 2013.