When then undead have you outnumbered, and you’ve found a place to stay among the living, would you be willing to risk losing it just to get your way? And what about the community, should they put up with your crazed actions? Those questions are answered in the latest installment of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead.
Previously in The Walking Dead: The Dead Live… well you get the idea, you can’t go five years on a series and not know the basic premise. While Rick and the rest of the group try to adjust to life in the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Rick takes matters into his own hands when he suspects one of the citizens is beating his wife and child. When push comes to shove, Rick pulls his gun threatening to take over the community. Before things got out of control, Rick was brought down by one of his own.
MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY
There’s no doubt the pressures of the last couple of years have finally pushed Rick to the edge; killing the cannibals, killing those that disagree with him, even ostracizing others and sending them to their doom weigh heavy on a man’s soul. Recent issues that feature Rick talking on the phone to his dead wife doesn’t help his cause either. Of course no one knows about those phone conversations… yet.
In a time of Armageddon, the true leaders are going to be those that can see past petty squabbles, and look out for the good of the Alexandria Safe-Zone citizens. Douglas Monroe appears to be that man. Instead of sending Rick and his son packing, he is willing to give Rick a pass but with a stern warning – one more screwup and he may find himself on the other side of the fence. For the past couple of issues, Monroe has come off as an older wiser version of Jules Winnfield, quite and in control, but ready to strike down with great vengeance and furious anger on those who would attempt to destroy what has been built. However, in this issue he comes off more as someone who allowed the events to transpire so he could get greater control over everyone else.
I found this issue interesting from the angle of how people exert control over each other, and the mind games they play in order to maintain that control. With all the paranoia, finger pointing, and plotting against one another that has been going on in this recent arc, this issue is refreshing in that readers get a little more personal character development out of both Rick and Monroe.
ART SO SIMPLE
With another issue of standing around and talking, the prospects of doing anything overly creative on the art is a challenge. Adlard and Rathburn step up and do some really interesting things with light and shadow, and a few times seem to channel Frank Miller’s Sin City in dealing with Rick’s bandaged face. Those moments pop when you see them, and if you think about Miller when it occurs, some may say the artists have failed, but I think it is a nice way of mixing things up.
It’s the facial expressions in this issue that stand out to me. With the serious conversations going on, revelations being made, and people finally starting to react to all the pressure, the faces tell more about what is going on than the words alone.
BOTTOM LINE: CHECK IT OUT
This was a much better issue than some of the previous I’ve reviewed, The Walking Dead #76 is worth checking out and fill in a lot of the back story that you may not have the time or inclination to read if you are new to the series. There are a few big moments that sneak in and set up the story for the next big story moment, and in the end this issue earns 3.5 out of 5 Stars.