The Walking Dead is a strange book to try and review by single issues I’ve found. I’ve read all this issues up to this one and I’m a giant fan of the books and the TV show (now that they’ve made a season that doesn’t blow), and maybe I’ve been spoiled. I’ve purchased both compendiums that collect fifty issues a piece and that’s the way I’ve gotten used to reading it. The thing is though, that’s also the way I think it is best read, as one complete and cohesive story. Reading in single issues almost feels like a preview of next week’s episode and I’m just left starving for more. “Oh, you’re organizing a massive assault against a rival camp? Tell me about it!”
And just as Rick and the gang let me in on how they’re going to distribute canned goods to the town and who gets what weapons it’s the wait until next time. Dammit I want to see this thing play through. It’s like starting a new series on Netflix vs. watching it week by week. Some things are just better enjoyed as a total piece and The Walking Dead is one of them, not that the individual issues aren’t good, very much the opposite, it’s just like eating a mini sized candy bar on the cheat day of your diet, just give me the whole damn thing don’t tease me!
That being said this is a good issue with plenty to like, its starts off with a nice moment between Brianna and Maggie where the latter tries, somewhat awkwardly to empathize with a young woman mourning someone who’s past away. Ultimately though Maggie sooths her thoughts over and delivers a sobering monologue about death being common place these days and how maybe it’s okay to not be so cold in dealing with the departed. A thought Maggie inspired, maybe from now on the groups loved ones can be marked with graves, (maybe visiting a grave is nice), and the two become fast friends.
From there we essentially watch Jesus, who has snuck into the camp in stealth mode and let all of the sympathizers of Ricks offensive know what’s up. The camp has various reactions, from outrage to fear and all in between. We get a nice moment where Rick tells Andrea the plan and a very emo looking Carl overhears and accuses his dad of treating him as a child and not letting him into things to which Rick replies, “I was telling you next, your time as a child has passed, I want you by my side.” it’s a nice moment and marks a transition of Carl from a boy into a young man, at least in his father’s eyes.
Next Rick goes to visit Michonne and we get arguably the best part of the issue with Michonne telling the history of her sword and how it was retired, she is willing to take it back up but let’s Rick know she was hoping to leave that version of herself behind. Its good stuff and really drives in the type of character that Michonne is and really lets you see why she’s a fan favorite, she’s going to help Rick, but she’s not going to smile about it. It ends with a cool bit where Rick promises that after this fight she can hang up the katana for good, to which the ever-badass Michonne replies, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, even if you believe them.” It’s a good line and a wise one.
Spencer fronts on Rick for his plan and lets him know that he’s calling him out sometime down the line. We see Maggie introduced to the towns charming blacksmith Earl by Jesus who tells her forebodingly he’s having a knife made for her, “just in case.” The whole thing ends with Earl the blacksmith telling Jesus that one of his confidants, Kal, has screwed them over. Damn.
Art is nice, the thick lines and black and white we’ve come to know and love setting an appropriate tone for the book, close-ups and shadows are used well making what is essentially a book mostly consisting of conversations interesting. Characterization is well done as always and, just like the show its exciting when we get to fly across the map and visit a character we like. It’s all very commendable and well done. The Walking Dead is so popular for a reason, and this is a solid issue. Now give me the trade paper back and leave me alone.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 4/10/13