Maggie takes center stage in an action packed issue that sows seeds of doubt in Rick’s leadership. The multiple angles of war are examined from many perspectives. Giving us an issue that deals with loss, doubt, and small victories. All Out War continues in “The Walking Dead” # 118.
All Out War has certainly been a departure for this series. Often this book feels like it’s treading the same ground without ever really moving forward in new or exciting ways. Then we have an issue like 118 that takes a step back and examines the repercussions of everything going on.
Rick isn’t the best leader. He makes due, but people see the error in his ways. For the meantime he’s fucked Negan over, but Gregory is losing hope. Too bad Gregory’s a fucking coward and should be mounted over Negan’s fireplace. Luckily, Maggie realizes this and when Gregory sows seeds of doubt she steps up. She sets him straight and looks after the camp.
The latter half of this issue goes into a stream of consciousness like narration accompanied by razor sharp art from Adlard. We follow someone’s voice as they walk us through Rick and his group attacking an outpost on the way back to camp.
Adlard springboards off the voice to show us some truly horrifying imagery that readers of the book are not used to. The voice speaks of the horrors of war, the vastness of the conflict, and the sheer insanity caused by it. Adlard takes the time to show the differences in this type of bodshed. Be it the constant “Baraka, Baraka, Baraka!” outside the warehouse, or soldiers being torn to pieces by bullets, it’s all-new here.
The lynchpin of the issue rests with the revelation of the disembodied narrator. It comes out of left field and serves as a nice surprise. It’s also touching, heartbreaking, and infuriating all at once. The narrator experiences a real loss in this issue, and its something that will resonate with this character for the rest of their lives. It demonstrates the needless destruction of war and the innocence that is lost with conflict.
Kirkman did a fantastic job at varying the pacing of the book this month. He takes a step back to examine the world at large, and the book is infinitely better for it. Instead of continually plodding forward this issue takes a step back and looks at the ramifications of what’s going in. It’s an interesting and welcomed choice; one that I hope will inspire the rest of the year. The larger context of the issue allows each member of the huge cast a little time to breath and still manages to push the story forward.
“The Walking Dead” has been a rollercoaster as of late. All Out War seems to push the book into an upswing that we won’t soon forget. The losses have only begun in this issue, but there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
Rating: 4/5 Skulls.