2 things worthy of note;
1 – Charlie Adlard celebrates his 100th Walking Dead issue, which is probably not a record for an artist on a title but is absolutely something to cherish. He gets a glowing appraisal in the ‘letter hacks’ section, and in it we learn that;
2 – because of Charlie Adlard’s singularly superhuman appetite for the work, The Walking Dead has been monthly (and sometimes even more regular) for around 3 years. As I can remember the days when 1.5 / 2 / and even nearly 3 month delays were a semi regular occurrence for the single issues of this title, it would not be hyperbole to suggest that it is because of Adlards dedication and craft that have helped propel this IP to the fame it currently enjoys.
Next up is the review of the issue itself, there is some plot reveals so please be aware SPOILERS from here on in;
As for the issue – well, the cover is a classic. One of the best of Adlards tenure, a suitable work of art to celebrate his centenary, and his art inside is not shabby either. The guy is consistently good, in my opinion, with his own style. It is one of the better pairings of story to artist that the comic medium has produced, up there with Miller & Jansen, Lee & Ditko, Lee & Kirby, Simonsons time on Thor, and Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four.
The storyline this month has the requisite sub-plots; Kirkman throwing in an interesting development revolving around Spencer, and Eric voicing his doubts to Aaron on the security of the community since the arrival of Negan. The reveal of cracks in the community is not surprising, as there has been that underlying threat of dissent in the ranks for a few issues now. But the Spencer reveal, while only getting a few panels, is probably one to watch. Jealousy can drive a man insane…
There is more Negan, who reminds us all that Carl, now minus face bandage, and despite having sung a song to Negan, is still up for a suitable punishment. Which leads us nicely on to the cliffhanger of a nicely paced issue with enough storyline to satisfy and enough unfinished business to make the 4 week wait a bit painful;
It goes like this – Rick is desperate to find Carl. Jesus turns up in the middle of the night (after a brief scene showing that, yes indeed, he is still absolutely kickass – it’s like he is really trying hard to get a more central role in this title). Jesus tells Rick that he knows where Negan is based. Despite having been on patrol the best part of the day searching for Carl and some perfunctory zombie slaying (see the cover), Rick gathers Andrea and Michonne, and along with Jesus they head off towards Negan’s. I will not say any more about the plot, but I will mention Ricks attitude / approach regarding how he wants to deal with Negan. Rick has quickly adapted to the enforced change in dynamics, and being a generally smart guy, knows when to play it cool. Michonne, on the other hand, seems to favour a more direct approach to solving the Negan problem. I wonder if that is going to cause her some grief in the near future? Anyway, Negan and Rick meet up, Rick wants to know where Carl is, and Negan, with his best shit eating grin, tells Rick he cannot wait to show what he has done to his (Ricks) little boy…..ugh. More than a little worrying, and slightly disturbing.
Finally – I am still not 100% sure about Jesus. How did he find Negans hideout? We didn’t see how he did it, we just know he did it. Is he fooling us as well as Rick? Is he deep cover? And what has Negan done to Carl? Until next month!!!