By Robert Kirkman (Writer), Charlie Adlard (Pencils, Inks, & Cover), and Cliff Rathburn (Grey Tones & Cover Colors)
Some Thoughts Before The Review: I really can’t say enough about how much I am enjoying the current Walking Dead arc. Robert Kirkman continues to put on a clinic about how and when to toss a twist or bit of information into a long-running story to make sure it hits with maximum impact. And now that I have the next chapter in my hand, I can’t wait to see what comes about as a result of the intriguing notion that the zombies may be slowly starving to death and Maggie’s apparent suicide.
The Story: Unsurprisingly, The Walking Dead #56 is a fairly slow, character-driven issue that centers around Maggie’s actions. I’ll keep from going into more detail to avoid heading into spoiler territory, but I can say that the events that take place allow Kirkman to put a spotlight on the tensions inherent in the eclectic group of survivors. In particular, the dynamic that exists between Rick and Abraham, the most prominent of the new cast members.
What’s Good: If you are a regular to this site, chances are you already know what I am going to say in this section. Robert Kirkman continues to do what he does best by delivering another issue driven almost entirely by the incredible strength of his cast. Obviously, Maggie’s actions have a huge impact on the simmering group, and reactions are written in a way that is both extremely effective and unquestionably realistic. I continue to find myself amazed by the depth of The Walking Dead.
Visually, the issue is pretty much business as usual. Don’t take that as a negative though. Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn continue to display an impressive visual range with their character work and their handling of the action beats.
What’s Not So Good (Possible Spoilers Ahead!!): I have little doubt that many longtime readers will find some frustration with how things play out in the book. It’s a classic Walking Dead moment, for both good and bad. While I have no real problem with it personally, it definitely warrants mentioning as a negative because similar things have happened a few too many times before. In short, your reaction to the opening few pages will probably play a large part in how you feel about the issue as a whole.
Conclusion: The Walking Dead #56 is another strong chapter in a series that continues to impress, but some may find themselves a bit irritated by it. I can’t say that I blame you if you do.
A Second Opinion
Some great character moments here, but Rick leaving himself open while he takes a piss seems a bit out of character. I love what Robert Kirkman is doing with Abraham. Conflict and tension is what drives this book (with the zombies taking a secondary role as the background threat), and it’s clear that an emotional basket case like Abraham is going to cause lots of trouble for our team of survivors. We’ve been so focused on a new direction and the zombie menace that we forgot how many loonies there are in this bunch! Bring it on!
– J. Montes