Kirkman and Adlard deal with the fall out of last issue as All Out War continues in “The Walking Dead” # 119. This month proves to be an interesting look at the horrible things a man has to endure during wartime. With some thought-provoking commentary on the war itself, and a neck biting tease of what’s to come next.
Rick has painted himself into a corner. He’s an ambitious albeit violent man who wants what’s best for his group. Negan is a monster, but he is intelligent. He carries out his plans with similar thought, and truly does want the best for his group. So again we’ve come to a head.
Ezekiel has fallen apart. The events of the last issue have left him a broken man. He was ill suited for leadership and less so for war. So for now he has taken a backseat to the action.
Kirkman begins to poke holes in Rick’s plan. It doesn’t seem entirely too well thought out, and it was designed only to succeed. See, Rick doesn’t really have the gift of foresight. Instead he acts and deals with the aftermath.
This fact comes back to bite him in the ass in a big way. The failure of Ezekiel’s team throws a wrench into this tightly constructed plan that we watch as it falls apart in the final pages. It’s the perfect tease for next month that manages to keep the ramped pacing from the rest of the event. So “The Walking Dead” doesn’t feel as plodding as it once was. It doesn’t really fix all of the issues with the series but it certainly alleviates the meandering narrative from losing its sense of danger.
Adlard continues to be on point. I’ve noticed lately that his depiction of Carl has grown a little older, and a little wiser. It’s great because he is coming to show Carl and Rick as equals. They way they are framed and the way they stand show two men, not a man talking to his son. It’s subtle but completely appreciated.
This being “The Walking Dead” Adlard really shines when the shit hits the fan. The panels with Negan are actually menacing and completely imposing. While the panel inside the meeting with Rick shielding himself from the broken glass is just the type of masterful Adlard has come to earn with time. His biggest strength is his use of black and white contrast in this book and its very apparent as Rick stands behind the gate with his head hung in the shadows near the end of the book. Truly terrifying stuff steeped in the everyday.
Kirkman has something huge planned for the end of this arc. That much is clear, exactly what it is may be beyond me, but I have a few ideas. We’re not done with the reign of Negan just quite yet, and Rick is bordering on a heavy losses here. Next month we’ll see a lot of casualties and the book will be better for it.
Rating: 3.5/5 Skulls.