Comics Review: "The Walking Dead" #115
- by Señor Editor, 11 October 2013
It's the 10th anniversary of "The Walking Dead" and Kirkman, Adlard and company got some big things planned. Other than an intensified publishing schedule, a special for Tyrese and a re-release of #1 in color, we're also gonna be treated to an event (these things didn't totally lose their meaning yet as far as TWD comics are concerned, folks). "All Out War" is starting and it's this week's issue, #115, that's supposed to set it off.
But hey! I still consider this book to be one of the most interesting ongoing series, and it seems we're finally gonna have a much needed change of status quo. I'm tired of Rick just sitting in his fancy little community, with a working bathtub, Andrea wearing nice lingerie and Carl probably having his own little room, with all the niceties a teenager could wish for (except for the internet and stuff like that, I guess). Sure they've had a tough situation with Negan, but they've been living in luxury (compared to zombie apocalypse standards, at least) for what seems like ages now. Most of Rick's current group are wusses, sheltered for months now. Let's get this goddamn war on already.
We start off with the, by now classic, motif of Rick whining about people wanting him to be the leader when he doesn't always know what tozzzZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz... This time his self-doubt is more understandable than usual, though, as the following day Rick's, Ezekiel's and the Hilltop's forces are gonna go to the Savior's base and make a stand.
Andrea cheers Rick up, and we move on to Michonne, who woke up next to Ezekiel and is talking with him about their "potential relationship". This is actually a nice scene, and while I don't yet care for Ezekiel, Michonne has been a cast member for years and she's been slowly moving away from her "silent psycho with swords" persona. Development is nice, even if that means Michonne may now be more "vulnerable" than ever before - something that may not do her much good during the "war".
The next scene is something "TWD" fans have been waiting for ages - Eugene finally made the bullets he's been talking about for about a year and a half now. Good man, Eugene! So far so good. Rick has to do one more speech (okay, two...) and it's this panel:
...that made me think "Man, I really don't care about most of these people..." (I don't even seem to know most of them, even though I read this regularly, but I'm talking about the "established" ones, the ones with names). That's a problem that I mentioned earlier: TWD used to be a series where the characters didn't have to be badasses who were kung-fu Jesus lookalikes, who had tigers or pet baseball bats in order for me to be interested in them and like them. There's been plenty of regular people, with all sorts of weaknesses that you still cared about and liked (I like Maggie, who is still around I guess, though she is sort of 'retired' in the Hilltop now). It can be argued that, well, yeah, these regular Joes and Janes were nice, but it's getting harder and harder to survive and it's the badasses that made it out. Except it isn't harder to survive, is it? Other than Rick and Andrea and Jesus and Carl, all of the others have been sitting safely in a guarded community. There were no zombie attacks in a long time. MICHONNE HAS HER OWN, WORKING BATHTUB!!!!!!
I hope this storyline really ends up changing things, killing off some characters (including some of the supposed badasses) and putting the focus on making sure we like these people more and care if they live or die.
Andrea and Carl stay to guard the place, while Rick and company head to the Saviors. They get there and stand together, armed and ready to kick some ass, when Rick fires a few shots into the air and yells for Negan to come out.
I have to point out that there were no shown walkers on the road to the Saviors' base, and that I miss having zombies in the book, actually doing something.
Anyway, Negan shows up and Rick delivers a poorly thought out ultimatum: either Negan surrenders, and gets killed later on while his group lives, or Rick and his group go in there with guns blazing and more people die. That's when Negan pulls the ace outta his sleeve: he has the Hilltop leader guy right there with him!!! The guy who was sort of shown as not much more than a figurehead before... I forgot his name. Gregory? And that guy says that the Hilltop stands with Negan and the Saviors and says that the Hilltop forces will return home, or they will be banished. Rick grimaces.
And that's how it ends! So. No casualties yet, but something certainly started here. This issue set a few things up, and while I don't really see how that one Hilltop "leader" dude could talk everybody out of attacking Negan now, it may at least add some confusion to Rick's ranks. Does Negan have his people at the Hilltop already? Would that mean Rick backs down? I am not sure. I think this standoff at the Saviors' gates wasn't really that great of a cliffhanger, but maybe the next issue will surprise me.
I am happy this event is happening - like I said, I was tired of the status quo, and frankly a little tired of Negan (and Rick too, to an extent, but he's still Rick, the guy I've been rooting for for a few years). I think Kirkman is a very good writer and I am sure the plans he has (and apparently he has for the series many, many, many issues into the future) are interesting ones. "The Walking Dead" is also a series that reads better in trades, but at least now we won't have to wait so long between issues to see how things play out.
This was an interesting issue, because it pushes things forward (though the previous issues did a better job of furthering the story to a point of no return), and not really because of anything else. Now that all the pawns are in place though, let's hope Kirkman and Adlard show us something truly epic. I'll be here to check it out.
P.S.: Remember my "Walking Dead" Comic Survivor Speculation article from last year? There sure hasn't been many deaths since then, but I called Spencer being the one who gets killed first (okay, killed as one of the first two!). A few months later: Spencer is no more. You know what means, right? I KNOW YOU READ MY ARTICLES, KIRKMAN.
Have you read #115? What do you think about the issue? What are your thoughts on the event and where do you think it will lead us? Sound off in the comments!