Two weeks after the harrowing events of the last issue Kirkman and Adlard return with another chapter of All Out War. “The Walking Dead” has recently succeeded in widening its world through the addition of other communities. These additions have been interesting, but the real focus of this larger world is Negan. Originally introduced as the major antagonist of the series Kirkman has taken several steps to paint him as a second protagonist, and this month solidifies it.
If you told me last summer that I would he sympathizing with Negan I would have laughed in your face. His introduction was steeped in cruelty and he was sold as a man who would eat the Governor for breakfast. Over a year later Kirkman has done something truly special. He has made us sympathize with this character and come to understand his motivations.
Desperation is one of the core themes of the book. Kirkman often enjoys painting his characters into desperate corners to see who they become and how they’ll react. So with the events of last month fully in motion it’s Negan’s turn at desperation.
He is lost, fucked, and completely at odds with his own camp. He keeps it together. Kirkman has been hinting that he is more than a psychopath. He’s a man with a code and he’s a natural leader. He sees the light at the end of the tunnel and in many ways he is remarkably similar to Rick.
It’s truly a shame Rick and Negan don’t get to spend more time together. Thier similarities are so overwhelming that any time spent in close proximity would only make them come together. Instead both are so headstrong that they’re unwilling to compromise. So here we are in the midst of a war over egos.
Adlard’s art continues to be on point this month. His work paints Negan into an inescapable situation and depicts it with beautiful simplicity. He also ensures to spend extra time with Negan’s emotional range. Adlard treats the reader to an emotional roller coaster with Negan’s struggles. The entire thing is particularly riveting and makes you question whether or not Rick was correct in his actions.
Regardless of the actions that brought on the war, it is clear now that this struggle could have been avoided. Kirkman has effectively pitted Rick against himself, and while it may seem like he is winning the war, I’m sure Negan won’t stay down for long.
The added depth to Negan is much appreciated but the growing cast of characters leaves much to be desired. Too many characters are left in limbo with each passing issue. Which leaves many storylines completely hanging for months. “All Out War” continues to be paced with breakneck speed, but perhaps slowing down is just what the book needs.
Rating: 3/5 Skulls.