All Out War continues in “The Walking Dead.” Rick and his forces push to make the first strike in an incredible issue that ratchets the pacing up to eleven. This is purely pulse pounding stuff that will have you contemplating the next move for everyone. Which is exactly why this year will be absolutely dizzying. Already things are moving faster than they ever have and there appears to be no end in sight.
This issue took me around five minutes to complete cover to cover. There isn’t much dialogue, and not a lot of time is wasted. The result is an issue that never stops moving for better or worse.
All Out War kicked off with a resounding success. Negan’s threat feels large and disastrous but for once Rick actually feels prepared. I’m starting to believe in his leadership again. He brilliantly plans and executes an attack using his knowledge of Negan and the world around them.
Kirkman shines here. As it is clear he is developing a whole new type of warfare. Zombie warfare. Something we’ve never seen before. He aims to give us a full-scale war between these camps within a world gone to shit. It’s totally admirable and it’s working really well.
Adlard’s pencils are on point yet again. He is able to capture the frenzied pace with relative ease. I’ve had my times where I haven’t been his biggest fan. His unclean, hard lines seem to be at home within the flurry of battle. His work shines brightest when he takes a step back. Showing us the grand scheme of the war, pulling out from the intimacy of the frame and showing us the lumbering legions of the undead. Adlard dances this fine line between Rick and the walkers, and in the end it all comes beautifully crashing together.
Small character moments rise to the top of the script. Kirkman makes sure to stop in briefly with all his major players. Showing how they react under stress and how they stick to a plan. Some are more interesting than others.
Negan’s reaction to the events is typical. He is cool, calm, and completely unhinged. It works wonders for his character, but also shows that his sense of confidence may be a little unfounded. As he is not ready or aware of what Rick has just done to him. Ezekiel has a nice moment here as well. Showing him amidst the battle in complete control. He’s a phenomenal character who has only just begun to develop.
So far this arc is truly unlike anything Kirkman has done before. Which is no easy feat after writing the same series for ten years. With any luck the fantastic pacing will keep up and we’ll be treated to a new gold standard of zombie story by years end.
Let the good times roll.
Rating: 4/5 Skulls.