By: Robert Kirkman (writer), Charlie Adlard (pencils), Stefano Gaudiano (inks), Cliff Rathburn (grays) and Rus Wooton (letters)
The Story: Locking Negan up was always going to be a bad idea…
Review (with SPOILERS): If The Walking Dead could have a sub-title, it could be, “Hoist by one’s own petard.”
This whole shift in tone for The Walking Dead over the last several issues has really focused on a kinder, gentler and older Rick Grimes. To me, he seems almost like Herschel, and I almost felt like they had made him too old.
But, what we saw in this issue is that he’s still the same old Rick. For one thing, the scene where he beats the hell out of the highway patrolman shows how he continues to put a lot of stock in symbols. Whether it is The Prison, some walled town, or now a Road, Rick always looks at these sorts of symbols as things that show that humanity is getting its act back together. Or he’s had some selfish motive for valuing the symbol. With the Road, it is obviously important because it is linking the various human settlements, and those settlements are important because moving from single-cities to a network of connected communities is a natural evolution. But Rick really cares about the Road because his son is going to live in another community and he needs the Road open so that he can go see his son. If a few highway patrolmen need to get flogged so that Rick can see his son, so be it.
You also see Rick’s ego coming into play with Negan. He tells people that Negan is a prisoner because their community is too civilized to execute him. But, the real reason is that Rick wants to rub his victory in Negan’s face. He wants to visit Negan every day and spike the football in front of him. That’s why he brings Negan his food personally, but makes a minion clean out Negan’s shit bucket. The clever thing is that Negan knows the score. He knows that Rick is making a mistake by not killing him for prideful reasons, and he knows that Rick will eventually pay for making the wrong choice for the wrong reason.
The other development in this issue is that we see the newcomers find Negan. One of our commenters last month pointed to this possibility; that the newcomers would find Negan, he’d fill their heads with lies about Rick and they’d release him from jail. I’m happy to see this storyline moving forward. As readers of these reviews know, I’ve grown weary of the deliberate pacing of The Walking Dead. It is has never been a fast comic book, but it has gotten slower over time and my opinion is that stories need to move more rapidly as they age. And this story is gracefully moving forward. I’m not entirely sure I want to see another round of Rick vs. Negan, especially after finishing two years of . But we’ll see what Kirkman & Co. come up with for these two…
Filed under: Image Comics | Tagged: Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Dean Stell, Image, review, Robert Kirkman, Rus Wooton, Stefano Gaudiano, The Walking Dead | Leave a comment »