Unlike a group review, in a “Dual Review” two writers (in this case Jordan and Adam) will take a look at the issue and give a numeric score for the issue. This is still the “All Out War” story arc so check the recap from previous issues if you need a refresher. Jordan:
The Walking Dead #118 takes place in two chunks, one sweet and one salty. Both end with big moments that are delivered with the appropriate amount of bravado.
The first leads in with a scene between Maggie and a Negan sympathizer in Rick’s community who is filling the air with the kinds of settling and weak-minded self-preservation that tyrants like Negan play on in the first place. The only thing is, after his great attempt to sway everybody? He just gets punched in the face. What follows is a great example of a strong-minded person who has just, “had enough of the bullshit” in Maggie. She forces the facts on everyone and confronts them directly with the potential dismal existence that would be reality if they continued living in tandem with the Saviors. She ends on a note that surely will be all over Twitter and T-shirts by then end of the week, and one that truly defines TWD’s central leader and protagonist, “...I believe in Rick Grimes.”
The second chunk is a TWD boy and his dog story, a tale of a siege by none other than King Ezikiel himself. The king got cocky and underestimated his battle prowess and leadership ability and ends up finding himself alone and in a tight spot. It’s the power of an interspecies friendship in the end that saves him, and illustrates the nature of deep loss inherent in the post-zombie world. The format chosen to have the king “narrate” over his own experience was cool and simply being able to see these kinds of conflicts play out in Walking Dead pages at all are great. Tigers and machine guns? You can never go wrong.
Outstanding were some of Adlard’s big close-ups in this issue showing the kinds of facial detail he rarely does for a change of pace; while Kirkman connects with a nice emotional polarity this issue giving us a little sweet with our sour.
Since Image didn’t send this issue out to review this week, I figured something huge was going to go down. I have to say, this is the first time in this story arc where I was even the least bit disappointed. There were a few things I enjoyed about the issue. First off, I liked that the whole thing was in the point of view and narrated by Ezekiel. We get a glimpse at the chaos and destruction this battle is doing to the collective group. We also see the vulnerability that they’ve put themselves into by attacking a heavily-guarded outpost. Ezekiel shouldn’t have been as sure of himself as he was. The beginning argument between Maggie and Gregory was a great bit of dialogue, especially with that two-page spread with Maggie showing her trust in Rick. Spoiler alert: There are deaths of characters we’ve come to know (maybe not necessarily love, but you get the point).
As for the cons: I really didn’t enjoy the lack of Negan, it would’ve been nice to at least see him scheming with his cronies or something. I felt the pace of the issue was too quick also, I got to the end and it felt like I had just started reading. Also, the deaths in this issue seemed like huge teasers, but didn’t have much impact. Overall, I was a bit disappointed in this issue so I hope they are building to something much greater in the upcoming weeks. That said, it’s The Walking Dead so it’s already better than a lot of stuff out there.
Score: Jordan - 5/5, Adam – 4/5
Writer: Robert Kirkman Artist: Charlie Adlard Publisher: Image/Skybound Entertainment Price: $2.99 Release Date: 12/11/13