“The Walking Dead” continues its foray into war with another chapter that feels undercooked. Small more subtle moments are met with bombastic action pieces that serve to compliment the fact that Kirkman has been leading us along a very murky path all along. The constant back and forth of this arc continues here, to diminishing returns.
When All Out War began I was probably first in like to tell you it was going to be the best. Negan was getting some real depth and the characters felt ready for a huge conflict that threatened to change the series forever. Instead, we’re given a wholly undercooked look at war through isolated pockets of battle and teases of character moments.
This arc has locked all of the main cast in this perpetual state of backtracking. With the exception of Ezekiel, no one has grown or changed since the beginning of the arc. Maggie still mourns Glenn, Andrea is still coming to terms with being a lonely defender, Carl is still angry, and Rick is still determined. Which is all well and good, but it doesn’t make for a very interesting read.
Adlard’s pencils provide a lot of depth to the somber moments of the issue this month. He shows the staggering size of the new camp, and just how many people’s lives are at stake. He deals with a ton of characters at once and his layouts provide more than enough room for everyone to get the attention they deserve in the frame. Action beats are cleanly communicated and nothing ever feels overly busy.
I’ve grown weary of this series. This issue ends with something that is supposed to be shocking and devastating but acts as somewhat of a cop out. If the actual implications do come to fruition than I’ll be ecstatic and read the following issues with renewed vigor. I suspect however, that the final moment is a tease to keep readers on the edge of their seats, and nothing will actually come of it.
Perhaps I’m in the minority but I’ve felt that this arc has been a series of elaborate dodges in service of prolonging the story. There is an even slower pace than ever before and things feel drawn out to the point of boring, which is never the emotion a war should inspire..
Negan’s charisma only goes so far, and unfortunately it has stopped charming me. He is a cunning villain who much like Kirkman has hit a wall. There can be no forward progression in this book until he dies, and with so many opportunities on the page for Kirkman to kill him, I suspect sales are keeping him alive. The natural energy that “The Walking Dead” once had has finally been sapped out.
Rating: 2.5/5 Skulls