Warning – spoilers!
I cannot shake the feeling that right now comics do not seem as vibrant or as necessary to me as a couple of years ago. The only titles I anticipate now are Sweet Tooth, The Boys, Unknown Soldier and Walking Dead. And, over the last few weeks, irritated by the delays for #71, I had begun to get a little ‘anti’ about The Walking Dead as well. Could I possibly be falling out with the title that got me back into comics over 3 years ago?
What nonsense. Issue 72 is of the usual high standard – so if you know anything about The Walking Dead, you will get much of the same excellent writing and brilliant art. For me, this month I found the art excelled, and the writing at times a little too cloying, though to underestimate Kirkman is more than foolish – he always has the ace up his sleeve.
Our protagonists are having varying degrees of success ‘fitting in’ to the new sanctuary / suburban hell / salvation. For some it is a chance to try and put the past behind them (a superb montage of past incidents in the life of one of the characters is rendered brilliantly by Adlard), and for others, it seems, it is a chance to go back to doing what they do best (and for Glenn, the upshot of this is a bit of a domestic with Maggie).
Rick seems quite at home in his new surroundings, and although his Mr Reasonable persona was beginning to grate, with a string of Mr Nice Guy words of wisdom and platitudes unspooling throughout this issue, don’t be fooled. Rick is a bastard. Rick is a bastard and although he is playing the good guy, that is all he is doing. Playing a game. Rick is out for himself and his son, and whoever else he has feeling for and is useful / necessary to him to enable Rick Grimes to survive alongside his son. If you were in any doubt that this new scenario, on the outskirts of DC, is going to end in tears, take a look at Rick on the last page. Devious bastard.
But one more thing – Charlie Adlard. His art is so good you have to look at it at least twice to get all the nuances. Check out the panels where Rick speaks to Douglas as he prepares to leave the party with Carl and Sophia. And check Sophia’s reaction to Douglas. Absolutely magnificent.
Oh, and thanks for getting an issue out in May, Mr Kirkman.