Contains vague Spoilers, go read it first! – All Out War # Issues 115-126
This is a series of issues in which Rick unites a number of small communities who all suffer from a common foe, in the form of Negan’s Saviors. Negan is one of the best villains that has been introduced to the series, and has a nice psychotic edge to him. The death of one of the main characters (Glenn) in issue 100 of the series will live long in the mind of this particular reviewer, and was one of the most violent and shocking scenes I’ve read in comics in recent times.
One of the main strengths of this series is the slow introduction of quite likeable character before they are dispatched in grizzly fashion. Glenn is a character we followed for nearly 80 issues, and to see him beaten to death by a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire is quite hard to read. It’s one thing for a zombie to emerge from the under growth and attack, but quite another for a human to carry out the act. Negan is a character that has his own set of morals and has killed a number of his own cohorts for relatively innocuous actions. There is a feeling of unpredictability about his actions, and that allows Kirkman a freedom to move the story in unexpected directions.
The most impressive part of this series is that Kirkman spotted a flaw with the basic zombie movie, in that they end! There can never be a happy ending to a zombie story, as they are limitless in number and just keep on coming. It is much more interesting to explore what type of world the long term survivors will set up for themselves, rather than the initial frantic battles.
At the start of this series, Rick is proactive about the war with Negan, taking the battle to his home turf. He uses the hordes of undead to his advantage and simply makes a lot of noise and then allows the walkers to enter the site of his enemy. This is an inventive battle plans from our hero Rick, showing once more he’s not just a pretty face! They then attempt to pick off Negan’s outposts, as these groups are isolated and should be more easily defeated. This attempt ultimately fails.
The end of the battle that ensues allow for a vision of hope, and that something positive has come out of the war. Rick explains his plan for the future of the communities, and how they can set up trading centres between the groups, with each focusing on a particular skill. While this is unlikely to ever happen, as a comic book series about a small group of traders does not sound that exciting, it is again clear that Kirkman has put thought into the world, and sees a future for them. And after ‘All out War’, the next series is called ‘A New Beginning’.
The Walking Dead series is published by Image Comics.
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard/ Stefano Gaudiano