Rick and his survivors must regroup after the horrible events of last issue. The will to fight breaks down this month and tensions are on the rise. Negan believes he has all but secured his victory and Kirkman makes a strong case for impending chaos. “The Walking Dead” has been a roller coaster this year. Extremely exhilarating issues are followed by somber afterthoughts and while conventional wisdom would have you believe this issue would be the latter, it’s not.
Rick and his group reel from the insane damages brought on by Negan’s assault. The camp where they have called home for the last few years has been effectively destroyed. Rick’s reputation may be in shambles and Carl is rising up to show he may have potential to be the leader the group needs.
Meanwhile Negan and his crew continue to cut through Rick’s forces and take new prisoners in an exciting turn of events for he and The Saviors. Adlard certainly seems to be in a state of absolute merriment when he pencils Negan. The imposing figure dominates almost every panel he’s featured in.
The most interesting concept Kirkman toys with this month is losing the will to live or the will to fight. It’s crazy. After years of surviving in the apocalyptic wasteland people are losing hope in a conflict brought on by clashing tribes with different ideologies. It’s scary to think about because this is a world completely ripe with madness and violence. It will never end, and different people have different breaking points.
In contrast to that Kirkman takes Eugene. He makes him the beacon of hope. He’s confident that Rick aims to build a better and new world for those that survive the conflict. His starry eyes don’t seem to be clouded by the gigantic wasteland Rick has created. I mean the guy is willing to lose hundreds for this brave new world.
It’s clear that this clash of ideologies will leave the reader somewhere in the middle to decide. “The Walking Dead” has always been a beautiful grayscale book about the muddled grey area in an apocalypse situation. What would you do? And how far would you go? Are common questions that Kirkman’s narrative asks of us.
This month he contemplates those questions on a deeper level, but with an inability to turn back. We’ve just crested the halfway point of “All Out War” and so many have perished for the hope of a new society that very few will be left to populate.
This month is more about the emotional aftermath of what’s going on during this war than the war itself. The chess pieces slide around the board and there are moves that are about to be made, but it is anyone’s guess who will come out on top. The only sure thing is doom. Doom is on the horizon and its going to take many more with it over the next five issues.
Rating: 3/5 Skulls.