Issue #110 is perfect; delicious Walking Dead. Classic tropes from the series stand out unabashedly and because of it, we get a pretty wonderful comic book. Rick Grimes couldn’t have done better himself.
The first half of this book is exciting and follows Jesus (pronounced the Christ way) as he goes on a one man mounted crusade to confront the traitorous (potentially) Kal. The result is a scene of conflict that throws both parties off balance when a group of ruffians from the tyrannical Saviors clan comes by and starts mad-dogging both of the Hilltop natives. If Kal, who realized The Saviors were a bit less godlike then their namesake, still wanted to make a deal with these guys he damn sure doesn’t anymore. The two reconcile and decide those Savior punks totally need to eat shit and die and they hug it out even though Jesus is still all like, “not cool bro,” about the whole nearly betrayed thing.
I joke but really this book shines. Especially in the second half which sees Rick and his group come together again as a group of “fighters” as one Hilltop resident puts it. The group finds their feet firmly planted in the otherworldly “Kingdom” a clan and land that has armored knights on horseback and fights with melee weapons led by a white dreadlocked man who keeps a tiger as a pet and is larger than life itself.
It’s this wackiness that really makes this thing good. It takes people that feel like real people, things that feel like real things, and makes it all play by the rules of our world. The real world. So that when something (or someone) like this happens it feels completely bat-shit. But it’s awesome because you can empathize, it feels more real and so you expect to see this thing which would never happen in real life, essentially happen in “real life”. It’s a cool storytelling mechanism that I think such television shows as Louie on FX and AMC`s Breaking Bad are knocking out of the park lately... but I digress.
The real standout here is watching this man, King Ezikeil, interact with Michonne. As a very guarded, cold and reason based character she reacts more skeptically to this whole thing then do even the other members of her group, who are appropriately sketched out by this situation too. This tension accumulates with an early standout that has Michonne holding her katana out threatening to lobotomize a tiger. This, by the way, is every bit as wicked sweet as it sounds.
In short she’s not having it, until that is the king himself slips away to pay her a visit out on one of the royal balconies during a celebration banquet. This is a Michonne we’ve never seen and a wonderful introduction to Ezikiel`s character. In a few pages we watch the two talk and get to see King Ezikiel become just Ezikiel the zoo keeper and Michonne the samurai women become just Michonne the...what did she do for a living again?
The scene is wonderfully done with great lines written on both sides and really expert characterization getting to show out (Takes notes. Seriously. I know I did). Watching the king make an ass out of himself and basically show his belly, “ rule number one is to never bullshit a bullshitter”, to Michonne to get her to do the same was brilliant (seriously whens the last time you’ve seen that woman crack a smile) and heartwarming. Sometimes all it takes to win over a heart of stone is a story about an orphaned tiger at the end of the world. Life lesson learned indeed.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Publisher: Skybound and Image Comics
Release Date: 5/8/13