Last issue, Negan and his crew, the Saviors (a rag tag gang straight out of The Road Warrior) continued to taunt Rick and his people at the Alexandria Safe-Zone, bringing tension to a tipping point. Quick, intuitive decisions were made (an attempted assassination of Negan by Andrea), and potentially fatal mistakes resulted. Other than a couple of nice panels of zombie slaying at the hands of Michonne, the crowning achievement of issue #112 was some really clever use of sequential art to misdirect the reader towards the end. It looked like Rick (and by proxy, the reader) was finally going to get his revenge on Negan for terrorizing his people. It wasn’t to be, as Negan proved yet again that he’s not just an annoying frat boy braggart, but a cunning and ruthless leader. Negan never goes into a town without several snipers of his own scouting the area, and a well timed shot from said snipers proves to be an intimidating show of power.
Issue #113 opens with Rick and company at the absolute mercy of the Saviors. Negan demands that Carl come forward to be punished in Rick’s place (Negan believes executing Rick outright would make him a martyr) in retaliation for the attempt on his life. Carl responds in one of the best ways possible, proving Carl’s favorite status in the comic series over his unpopularity in the TV show.
Meanwhile, Andrea is still up in a nearby tower, struggling to get a good shot and save Rick, while hoping her position wasn’t already given away to Negan’s snipers (Like Carl above, this issue showcases Andrea as a beloved character from the comic version of Walking Dead over the much maligned version of her from the TV show). Here, Kirkman and Adlard give us another example of sequential art as suspense through misdirect (though not as strong as the example from last issue).
This is a comic book firing on all cylinders (the first time through, I didn’t even notice the utter lack of zombies in this issue). The tension and pacing are palpable. It will be interesting to see what issue #114 brings, since #115 gives us the first issue in the much promoted “ALL OUT WAR” story arc, which will run twelve issues, all coming out between October and April (the letters page proclaims this,”a year of TWD mainlined in 7 months”). If you’re a casual reader of The Walking Dead, or a fair weather fan of the TV Show, this might be the perfect time to jump back in. I know us hardcore fans won’t be missing an issue for awhile.