Review: The Walking Dead #114

Written by Guest Contributor: Jordan North Mmm, The Walking Dead. So simple. So effective. So tasty.

This issue is about Rick Grimes defining and refining his role as leader. And realizing there’s more at stake when dealing with his life than he realizes. It’s about being smart and banding together. A man is also mauled by a tiger and that’s cool.

The Walking Dead nearly can’t disappoint me. Outside of some buildup that seems a little too... well, built up the series consistently is able to produce wonderful human moments in a way that is nearly unparalleled in comics. In short, it’s realistic. In a fantastic setting. And that’s what makes it awesome.

Just when things are looking hopeless for our hero and Neegan seems to be redefining batshit again everyone’s crazy kung-fu hippie Jesus steps in and man is that motherfucker cool. Not to spoil too much but Jesus manages to single-handedly thwart Neegan’s men in a display more at home in a Bruce Willis flick than The Walking Dead. But the very fact that its set in a believable backdrop make you completely buy Jesus’ moves, making him feel like a commando Bruce Lee. Love that guy.

TheWalkingDead114_coverThe rest of this issue sees Rick dealing with the aftermath of his decision to impromptu attack Neegan. It seemed like a good idea. Enough was enough. If you go back and read my reviews I sung Rick’s praises for the decision, but at the end of the day, this is reality and Rick`s decision—however cool-- was a dumb one that almost lost the lives of his people. It was him (and us readers) being reminded of this that was great. In a bad piece of fiction Rick’s plan would have worked. In an okay one it wouldn’t, but in the end Noone would slight him. In The Walking Dead? Noone cares how much of a badass Rick was in that moment, just that he put all their asses on the line. Even as their beloved leader it was too much. It would have been easy for Kirkman to just write everyone pissed off at Rick but he took a different, more realistic and more nuanced approach. What Rick got from his people was a mix of sadness, anger and betrayal that felt like it was actually happening. If getting lost in a work is the mark of good writing (and I believe it is) than Robert Kirkman deserves wide-spread applause. No one writes “real” people quite like him.

King Ezikeil steps in and we finally get to see his tiger Shiva put to gruesome good use. I’m excited for his and Rick`s pair up. Ever since his introduction I’ve applauded the character of Ezikeil for his strangeness and complexion. Whether he ends up being a shady bastard or not I do not know, but what I do know is that he`s the guy with dreds and a tiger, which is good enough for a thumbs up from me right now.

And then there was the end bit with Jesus. A pivotal moment for Rick where he`s reminded that his life isn’t just his life, everyone is counting on him. It’s a realization Rick has had before, but not quite like this. Jesus puts it clearly that Rick is the only man fit to lead, to lead everyone he comes into contact with really. He has that special sauce. And that sauce is invaluable. Jesus is no bullshit and a really cool, down-to-earth character that also happens to be able to kick a boatload of ass. He continues to shape up to be one of my favorites this book has ever offered.

A bit at the end where Neegan`s goons fail to understand his lofty war speech is hilarious too and a great way to cap an issue about, loss, ignorance and looming bloodshed. Soon there will be war. Get psyched.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Robert Kirkman Artist: Charlie Adlard Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 9/11/13