By Robert Kirkman (writer), Charlie Adlard (art) Cliff Rathburn (gray tones)

Instead of trying to up the stakes after last issue’s riveting climax, Robert Kirkman throws us into the battle we’ve been waiting for. Michonne fires an errant shot that grazes the Governor’s face and takes out a bunch of his men before fleeing into the woods. This brush with death prompts the Governor to launch a full scale assault on the prison. It’s a completely irrational response, too. His men are demoralized, he’s wounded, and the most dangerous woman he’s ever faced is on the lose. But he realizes he may never get another chance.

Back at the prison, Rick delivers the horrible news of last issue’s events to his wife and son. It doesn’t go well with Lori, but his son, ever the anchor of sanity and rationalism in this book, takes the news well, while preparing himself for the worst. Soon, the battle begins and the survivors begin to fall – but not without inflicting heavy casualties to the Governor’s numbers. Finally, in a move that I’m surprised wasn’t used before, the tank busts through the fence, penetrating the prison walls. With their defenses compromised, Rick runs to his wife and son’s rescue.

While this issue didn’t stun me, it did what it usually does: entertain. We’ve finally¬† got the battle we’ve been waiting for and while this is only the first half, there’s already plenty of ramifications in store for the survivors. It all happens so fast, too, that we’re barely given time to mourn the loss of those who die. But in true fashion, Kirkman reminds us that this is a war, and there’ll be time to mourn the dead later. Right now, it’s a desperate fight for survival (for both sides) and we’ve gotta wait another month to see who lives. Argh! (Grade: B+)

– J. Montes