The Walking Dead is consistently excellent. Charlie Adlard manages to keep his art consistent and well done every single issue. The story, while sometimes appearing to lag, always moves forward. Often, critics will get on Robert Kirkman, saying that “nothing happened”. Well, sometimes, you have to have a calm before the storm. This issue in particular is when we start to see the clouds again right before the hurricane.
It’s so hard to review The Walking Dead without spoilers. So I won’t even try. Spoilers within. Banana, banana, banana when it’s over.
The overall feel of the book is one that we aren’t too familiar with. There isn’t too much dread or stress about whether the zombies will kill them all. Anyone who’s kept up with the story in the comic books knows that we’ve flashed forward two years and Rick and Maggie have formed a few different communities and everyone is thriving. Civilization is back and rebuilding finally. How long can this last and still call the book “The Walking Dead”?
Marco, a survivor in the community run by Maggie, is resting after being attacked by talking zombies. Say, what?! Zombies can’t talk. Is he crazy? Everyone is sure that he has lost his marbles. Me, I’m not so sure. Are the zombies finally evolving? Are we going to be dealing with smart zombies soon? Maggie smartly sends out a trio to find Marco’s missing partner, led by Dante. There’s nearly two pages devoted to Dante discussing why he flirts with Maggie. Just another conversation with bros. The three scouts find the barn that Ken, Marco’s partner, was left in and they check it out, only to be attacked by zombies.
There is a wonderful scene where you see a communal dinner in Hilltop. What looks to be a hundred people are gathered for a nice dinner. Everyone smiling, working together, and breaking bread as family. This is how I would envision the world should we start to recover from zombie outbreak.
Carl shows that he’s still just a stupid teenager and finally asks Earl, the blacksmith, if he can still be his apprentice. There’s a nice moment where you see something relatable and real as if it was from our current world. Carl is uncomfortable because he thinks Earl has already chosen an apprentice. Earl informs him that he can have more than one. None of this involves zombies, love interests, or anyone trying to kill anyone. I am enjoying this piece of the story. It makes it all feel more grounded and real. Carl also has a chick macking on him which further establishes real life. She uses the oldest trick in the book and asks him to place chess with her.
Meanwhile, Rick and Maggie are happy. They’re working on rebuilding after the zombie outbreak and they’ve both established good communities where people work together. They enjoy a calm moment reflecting on their improved lives and about missing Michonne.
In Alexandria, Andrea is pulled in and threatened by the new group of survivors who are looking for answers.
Banana, banana, banana.
I really appreciate how well this book is doing now that the zombie plague seems manageable. I find it impressive that we the readers are consistently surprised by events. There’s always a sense that ANYTHING could happen at all times and the fact that Kirkman has pulled that off with his writing is a testament to his awesomesauce.