Marc’s Review of The Walking Dead #s 117 & 118 *SPOILERS AHOY!*

Hi Comic-philes, Marc here again.  I just got done reading some Walking Dead, so let’s talk about it!!!!  This is obvious, but the Internet Police will come get me if I don’t put this in- There’s gonna be spoilers, so if you’re trade-reading or something, why don’t you go read our delightful review of Red Sonja?  It’s down the page somewhere…Okay, welcome to Spoiler Country, if you’re here with me.  A quick recap, though.  The Walking Dead has a big storyline going on called “All Out War”, which is where Rick Grime’s classic group of rag-tag survivors teams up with a couple other groups to take on another group, lead by Negan.  Negan be cray-cray.  Also, one of the groups that pledged to fight with Rick defected.  I’m pretty sure anyway, some of this stuff gets muddled in my head.  If I get any facts wrong, please leave a comment and I’ll fix it.  Anyway, the big Rick-led group and their allies go and attack Negan’s stronghold, shooting out windows and making lots of noise to bring zombies ( I know they don’t use the zed-word in the books, but I’m gonna use it!) so they’ll be seiged-in by the zombies.  Rick was going to let himself get captured in order to bust down the gates, but Holly jumped in front so the general could be free to order around the troops.  And that’s where issue #117 comes in…

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The Defiant Ones

So Negan has captured Holly, and thinks she’s Andrea, Rick’s main squeeze.  He thinks he has the ultimate bargaining chip.  He’s wrong.  This is a great scene.  It’s a really clever exchange, with Negan finally listening to Holly’s reasoning and figuring out she’s not Andrea.  I would think most stories would have Negan believing the woman is Andrea until he’s given definitive proof she’s not.  This panel made me laugh-

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Middle top is the one I’m talking about; Negan with his hand to the bridge of his nose in the classic “Goddamn it…” pose. The next panel is also humorous.

Then we see Rick be all Leader-y and guilty that Holly took the capture-hit instead of him.  Ezekiel the Tiger-Tamer gives him beans and tells him it’s not his fault.  Then the tiger eats zombies!!!!  Ezekiel and Michonne kill zombies and flirt for a bit, then Rick walks up and tells them they’ve gotta get back to the community before a counter-attack happens.

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How can I not show this?

Then Eric and Aaron talk to Heath (Over more beans!) over the horrors of war.  FORESHADOWING…. Meanwhile, Rick gives the troops an update, and reveals that two teams are going to hit a couple of Negan’s outposts, since they won’t expect it so soon after an initial attack, and they’re cut off from Negan’s stronghold.  Rick will lead one and Ezekiel will take the other.

Then we see Negan and crew try to thin out the zombie herd at their front door… there’s a lot of them.  Then Negan constructs a pretty cogent summary of his situation-

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We could fund universal healthcare if Negan took up a swear-jar.

Then a creeper comes in and tries to rape Holly.  Negan catches him and gives some surprisingly logical and emotionally-mature reasons why they can’t let their society degrade into complete chaos, where rape is excused or worse.  Then he kills the guy.  And apologizes to Holly, who he had hog-tied and put in a dark, vacant room.  This is a very perplexing scene.  On the one hand, we’re given more reasons for two opposite conclusions- that Negan isn’t fully evil/insane, and that Negan is a homicidal crazy-man.  I think this is one of those paradox-things.

On the one hand, good for Negan to be anti-rape.  It feels stupid to type that, of course everyone ever should be anti-rape, but when given villains in a post-apocalyptic setting, rape tends to be a thing.  He says that once this war is over, they have to be able to build a real society and you can’t do that with either rape having happened/happening or with mistrust in the air.  However, we saw Negan with a harem of women a number of issues ago.  Women who, if memory serves, sleep with Negan in order to get their families food, or favors, or they’re forced into it… I can’t remember 100%, but it’s not totally consentual, I know that.  These women aren’t super-stoked to be in a Negan-harem.  So that’s not rape in the sense of Negan holding them down, but it’s a blackmail-y, less distinct type of rape.  Negan’s a man of contrasts.  Also, this “no rape” standpoint could be a way to differentiate Negan from the Governor.  Some people, myself included, say these two have a lot in common.

On the other hand, Negan doesn’t have any qualms about hurting and killing people.  He’s put hot irons to peoples’ faces, brutally murdered people with his barb-wire-covered baseball bat, and in this scene, put a Bowie knife through an unarmed man’s neck.  Granted, the Bowie knife man was despicable, but was still murdered by Negan.  I don’t know all the psychological terms and reasonings, but I don’t think the average mentally-healthy person can kill tons of people with no real remorse.

Anyway, on to issue #118.  Gregory, the defector-guy, and his crew get back to the community.  He acts like a baby because he had to walk a bunch and it’s obvious everyone hates him.  He explains to Maggie that he thought Rick was crazy and had to pull his people out in order to save them.  Maggie calls him a coward and punches him really awesomely.

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Remember the older guy that wanted to hide in the basement the whole time in Night of the Living Dead? His name was Cooper. This guy is the Cooper of this issue.

Maggie gives a really great speech about how they can’t trust Negan and how Rick is the man with the plan.  Then there’s this full-page spread-

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You don’t get the full effect here on the beautiful Internet, but turning the page, seeing this giant face, with strange, out-of-proportion eyes and lips, and a distracting crease and staples going through the right eyeball… it’s jarring.  I don’t like this.  Go away, weird close-up of Maggie’s face.  You’re not welcome here.  Like I said, the eyes and lips seem too big.  Also, there’s nothing, and I mean nothing, in the background, except for Charlie Adlard’s signature.  Did someone ask Adlard for a super close-up of Maggie for a commision, and he just killed two birds with one stone?  It reminds me of the full page spread Adlard did when Carl’s eye was blown out, and how powerful and emotional that moment was.  That was an incredible use of the double-page spread, and that’s one thing you get in the medium of comics that you don’t get in any other medium- the next-page reveal, and the power used in putting one image on two pages.  I guess they were going for a very powerful moment, when Maggie says she believes in Rick Grimes.  I just don’t think it was pulled off successfully.  Also, as I previously mentioned, there’s a lot of dead space in this image.  It’s a distracting amount.  How about filling that up?  I know Adlard is in drawing over-time due to issues of All Out War being double-shipped, but this is not the answer.

Anyway, Carl and Michonne catch up with each other.  These two are great together (This also happens on the TV show, and they’re great on there, too.).

Next we see Rick’s assault on Negan’s outpost #1, with Ezekiel narrating his assault.  Basically, Rick’s succeeds, meaning they get in the building and seemingly take everyone out in it.  Ezekiel wasn’t so lucky.  The guys in outpost #2 lured Ezekiel’s men in so they could shoot them easier.  All of Ezekiel’s men retreat in different directions, leaving the Tiger tamer on his own with zombies hot on his trail.  Just when the Walkers have him cornered, BAM!  Shiva to the rescue.  But this was a suicide mission for the striped wonder.  She sacrifices herself so that Ezekiel can get away.

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R.I.P. buddy.

It turns out that Ezekiel’s narrative is him explaining what happened to Michonne.  And that’s the end!  I’m really liking All-Out-War so far.  It’s a big, epic story, and a welcome one, too.  Issues #101-114 were all slower, lead-up type stories.  It’s nice that there’s some action and big doin’s a transpirin’.  I thought that issues #117 was better than #118, due to more cogent story-telling, and that awesome scene between Negan and Holly… well the first one.  Where Negan thinks she’s Andrea.  That exchange still cracks me up.  Anyway, #118 is only Chapter 4 of 12 in the All Out War storyline.  So stay tuned, I’m sure there will be more bloodshed, more Negan zaniness, more zombie hordes, and more punching of Gregory before the surrender flags go up on this war.

Now, I was in the middle of the classic John Hughes movie Sixteen Candles.  I’m gonna go find out what that Long-Duck-Dong is up to.  Have a good one, everybody.

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This character is really racist. John Hughes, you’re amazing, but this guy…