By Robert Kirkman (writer) and Charlie Adlard (artist) and Cliff Rathburn (colors)
I realize Robert Kirkman doesn’t like holding up storylines for the sake of milestone issues, and for that he gains much respect from me as a reader. That said, I can’t help but express my disappointment for Walking Dead #50 – not just as a milestone issue, but as a normal standalone issue itself.
This 50th issue finally gives little Carl a chance to let out all the angst and sadness that’s built up over the last few issues (and perhaps months/years). His reaction is pretty genuine considering the emotional trauma he’s been through. And as night and day pass, Carl fights with himself and his unconscious father until he finally comes to an understanding that in the end, he’s still a kid. This is a nice, personal story of growth and I have no doubt it will prove more rewarding as time passes and Carl takes a larger role in the Walking Dead storyline.
However, having this story for a book’s 50th issue just doesn’t feel right. A milestone issue like this needs to have a more significant story. Perhaps if we had some flashbacks of Carl when he was younger where we saw memories of his parents, or perhaps if we saw how he and his mother escaped the zombie infestation before meeting up with his father – stories like these would have proved more rewarding. Even making this issue double-sized and giving us a hint of the new status quo or a new character would have served as something more momentous. Instead, we’re left to sulk by ourselves in our own self pity… like little Carl himself.
Congratulations to Kirkman, Adlard, and Rathburn for making it this far. They’ve crafted one of the most engaging reads in the medium and have continued to grow their fanbase. Here’s to 50 more issues. But please, don’t give us another issue like this for issue #100. (Grade: C)
– J. Montes
A Second Opinion
I am going to have to disagree with Jason here, but not because I take issue with any points that he made, which are all totally valid. I enjoyed this issue quite a bit because I honestly think that if some earth shattering event had occurred, it would have felt somewhat forced. Kirkman literally shattered The Walking Dead foundation in issue #48 and there was no reason to shake up the status quo again so soon. While a part of me thinks that maybe this milestone should have been what #48 was, there is no denying the emotional impact that this issue has. Carl gets the spotlight here and, honestly, it’s about time that he let it all out.
I actually applaud Kirkman for telling the story that he wants to tell and not giving into the temptation to shake things up just because this is a milestone. The Walking Dead #50 is all about the emotional toll the recent events have had on Carl and it works extremely well in that regard. Congrats Mr. Kirkman, it has been a great ride so far. (Grade B+)