“No Way Out” continues as both Jordan and Adam give their thoughts on the issue. Here’s a quick blurb before their reviews and let us know your thoughts on the issue.
In the aftermath of the battle of Sanctuary, Ezekiel must survive on his own.
Wow. I can’t think of a better way to spend an issue that doesn’t involve the actual war than this. To start off, I thought it was an extremely clever writing choice to have Negan’s plan of finally getting to Rick thwarted because he thought Holly was Andrea. It was funny seeing Negan have that “d’oh!” moment when he realized that Andrea is badly injured, there’s no way she could be in as good shape as Holly is. When the book shifts back to Rick and company, Ezekiel informs us that even though Shiva is eating a walker, it has no effect on her. This means that Shiva could be very useful in the upcoming war if she’s practically invulnerable to walkers.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the plan that Rick came up with this issue works out. Will the two groups he’s split up get to and clear out Negan’s outposts before Negan can inform them what’s going on? Will Negan actually attack Rick’s group first? I don’t know. What I do know is that the art for me on this issue was some of my favorite I’ve seen in a while from this series. For some reason, in my opinion this issue was extra detailed and seeing Negan’s view of all the walkers that he and his Saviors were about to get attacked by was genuinely terrifying. Negan’s dialogue is top-notch all across the board in this issue, as he lets out his most hilariously explicit curse when he realizes his back is up against the wall in this situation. The ending was one of the biggest surprises to me and I won’t ruin it here, let’s just say maybe we don’t truly know Negan just yet.
I know I’ve banged this drum before, but this time I really mean it, Negan is one of the greatest characters in comics right now and if there was any doubt, after this issue? There won’t be.
In an industry where villains are often one, two, three note characters, Negan is a fucking symphony. On the surface this character is a lot of things—serially obscene, unpredictable and mostly just a downright pig. It’s when you look past the impressively creative use of every one of the seven words you can’t say on television that this character truly sparkles.
Read Negan's vagina monologue (heh) at the start of this issue you realize that, though wrapped in a crust of cartoonish X-rated language, this guy has a damn impressive grasp on human psychology. Watch him lead his men into an assault on the undead, “I better not lose one man to these undead fucks...die and I will fuck you up.” and you realize that he actually cares about the people he leads and does so with a respectable dark humor and charm. Witnessing his reaction as a leader to an attempted rape and you get that he feels for people`s fundamental humanity. This guy has layers on layers. The most tragic part of all? Beneath the obscenity it’s apparent that Negan is deeply empathetic about the human condition and a powerful and brilliant leader. I even suspect his whole persona is pretty damn exaggerated in an effort to inspire his people's belief in him as a being of powerful charisma. It works. In this issue I saw more than one parallel to Rick and began to see this guy as a leader I, in some alternate reality, could actually get behind...if it wasn’t for the propensity towards sporadic super-violence. And that feeling, that sympathy, that feeling that this guy could`ve been a few little experiences away from being a powerful force of good and hope like Rick is what makes him such a powerful foil to our hero, and a damn compelling villain. This issue`s last few panels alone brilliantly tell all about the guy we’ve grown to love to hate.
The rest of this issue satisfies as Rick and the gang move into phase 2 of their plan to take down Negan's forces, deciding to split into groups to take on the task. In the settling dust between last issue`s battle and the next pending series of attacks we get a nice chance to sit down with some of the members of the group as the deal with anger, loss (in the capturing of Holly), and more impending bloodshed. Rick's war weary monologue to his troops and his and Michonne talking uneasily to Ezekiel about his tiger Shiva as she hunts zombies like really slow gazelle are highlight bit of characterization.
This is the calm before the (second) storm. Bring on assault #2.
Score: 5/5 and 5/5
Writer: Robert Kirkman Artist: Charlie Adlard Publisher: Image/Skybound Entertainment Price: $2.99 Release Date: 11/27/13