Or – “KIRKMAAAAN!!!”

We’ve officially reached the big anniversary issue of Walking Dead, marking 100 installations of the book that some people predicted wouldn’t make ten issues thanks to the glut of zombies back in ’03.  As a full-fledgd multimedia phenomenon, The Walking Dead is one of the great success stories of the decade, and things have been building towards what the creative team has been touting as a shocking status-quo-rocking issue.  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

THE WALKING DEAD #100
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sina Grace
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in The Walking Dead:  Rick and his band of survivors have once again found themselves a sanctuary against the flesh-eating monsters that wander the land, settling in the small town of Alexandria, and trying to establish a trade situation with another settlement.  There have been incursions by a group of thugs, controlled by a mysterious man called “Negan,” but Rick has been able to rebuff them with his usual cocktail of violence, violence, and the occasional murder.  Rick, along with Michonne, Carl, Glen and a few others, has set out again for the other settlement, leaving Andrea in charge back in Alexandria…

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT.

The story opens with a very ominous page, as two of Negan’s gang of Saviors, apparently watching over Alexandria in preparation for an attack, unbeknownst to our heroes.  Kirkman builds the tension, as we see various members of the group going about their daily lives, making it seem like something horrible is about to happen.  The previous 99 issues of the book have conditioned me to find the quiet moments terrifying, the “calm before the storm effect,” and with Rick away from town, I find myself sure that we’re going to see Andrea’s death.  I’ve heard people who have stayed away from this title because it’s black and white, but the use of gray-tone and the realistic texture in the art make me almost forget that it’s not in color, making the palette feel like the correct artistic decision for the story.  I am concerned about the decision to make the comic book and television show continuities separate and distinct, as well.  I understand the impetus to keep one from “spoiling” the other, but part of me worries that it will turn off fans of one medium to the other.  (I also missed Daryl throughout this issue.)

I HATE THIS GUY ALREADY.

Kirkman even swerves me, pulling off a bait and switch in this issue by bringing the attack down not on Alexandria, but on Rick’s traveling party, with The Saviors coming in the night and getting the drop on Rick himself.  Negan’s reveal is wonderfully, even masterfully handled, as the very first words out of his mouth make me want to cave in his skull (an urge that becomes horribly twisted soon enough.)  The sight of nearly fifty goons with various bloody weapons is horrifying enough, but Negan’s smarmy dialogue makes it so much worse, sounding like Larry from Three’s Company, all the while brutally discussing his new paradigm:  Rick and company will give up half their supplies, or they will die horribly.  He emphasizes his point by playing a game of “Eeny, Meeny, Miney Mo” (HATE this guy) to choose the person who will bear the brunt of his revenge, and then proceeds to kill a major character ON PANEL in the most graphic way possible.  We also find that the promised character “Lucille,” is Negan’s weapon, a bat wrapped in barbed wire, which he proceeds to bludgeon (SPOILER WARNING) Glen to death. It’s an awful moment, especially given the character’s history, but it’s so much worse to see the carnage while Negan makes JOKES during the murder, and threatens to rip out Carl’s other eye and make Sophia eat it if any of Rick’s party so much as moves.  The end of the issue leaves me feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut, and I suddenly realize:  They never showed anything to prove that Negan DIDN’T also attack Alexandria.

THE VERDICT: DEFINITELY SHOCKING, BUT ABRUPT.

I went into this issue expecting major repercussions, as Kirkman has been quite open that something horrible was going to happen in this issue.  But even that expectation, combined with the previous 10 years of books, didn’t prepare me for what we saw.  In terms of blood-chilling scenes, they haven’t been on this level since Lori and Rick’s daughter died during the Governor’s siege on the prison years ago.  The Walking Dead #100 does deliver on the hype, leaving me shocked and saddened by the new status quo and dreading the next issue, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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17 Comments

  1. July 11, 2012 at 11:41 pm — Reply

    So. I was just shocked. Everything you mentioned, from the foreshadowing (though they did give a little to who it happened to as well I just missed it until re-reading the comic), who you thought we were going to see an attack on, and the total lack of humanity our new favorite person to hate… It all just fit together for The Walking Dead’s universe. it fit together in a horrible way.

    It was so disheartening to read through. We all know that Rick will probably be able to take his revenge and it’ll most likely be the most satisfying scenes to date. As much as we all hated The Governor I think that this guy is going to finally be the person who outdoes him as THE villain in Kirkman’s universe. I never thought they’d top The Governor but.. just wow.

  2. Raghavan
    July 12, 2012 at 3:30 am — Reply

    And I thought the governor was bad!

  3. Aimee
    July 12, 2012 at 8:28 am — Reply

    Yeah….I muttered nonono to myself and then actually cried…WTF, as a long time fan of the comics this death destroyed me. It was really graphic and just terrible. It’s the next morning and I still have the images in my head :( I can’t wait for Nagen to get his most horrific and deserved cumupance.

    • Roman
      July 12, 2012 at 9:55 am — Reply

      I am so with you man….it was just horrible. I had a hard time falling asleep last night thinking about it. I still can’t get the image out of my head of him crying out for his wife, and the way he looks…..god it just made me want to break down. A gut punch of an issue indeed. People saying nothing shocking happened or this wasn’t a game changer didn’t read the same issue. Yes there were hints and foreshadowing but this is one of the most beloved characters in the series and if it didn’t effect you in some way; you have NO HEART. I can’t wait to see the horrors that are inflicted upon Negan. Fuck Lucille, I’m hungry for Negan’s blood.

  4. J_Michael_T
    July 12, 2012 at 8:29 am — Reply

    I don’t think that this issue lives up to the hype, but I also don’t think that ANY story could have lived up to the hype that was built around this issue. Having said that, I really enjoyed it. But not in a good way. What happened to that one character had been telegraphed for various issues, but the way it happened left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was rough and hard to watch. So when I say that I enjoyed the issue, I mean that the story reminded me of some earlier issues when I had to put the book down and chill for a minute while a sense of despair and sadness passed from my mind.

    Kirkman is not a great writer, but he is writing a great story, so I forgive him for things like the cliche scene of Rick threatening the bad guy.

    This issue left me looking forward to upcoming issues, which hasn’t happened for a while with this series.

  5. Matt
    July 12, 2012 at 11:38 am — Reply

    I completely agree with most of what has been said here aside from J_Michael’s comment. I was entirely ready for several other characters to go down. I had fully prepared myself for ****Spoiler Alert*****

    Rick or Andrea or even Michonne dying, but definitely not him. Like everyone else said, seeing him scream Maggie’s name is an image that I think will forever be engraved in my mind.

    It affected me more than any other comic I have ever read in that it made me really think about how I would feel having to watch something like that happen to my wife or another beloved family member. Kirkman brought me into the story in the most horrible way possible, and I applaud that.

    As for the comment about Rick spitting a cliche death threat???? Really???? Put yourself in that position. Glen has been the reason on several occasions why Rick is still alive. They have been together for 2-3 years?? The kind of life they have lived brings two people together like they were better than brothers. If you don’t think you would say something similar in that situation to the man that has just brutally murdered your (possibly best friend), then you have no feelings. Cliches are called cliches for a reason, because they really are that common and true.

    In conclusion,
    I agree with J_Michael in that this issue has really brought me back to wanting to read this series monthly again as I had, since issue 50, been reading the trades each 6 months or more. Bravo to Robert Kirkman for that because really, isn’t that what a good writer does, gives you enough to keep reading, then shoots you with way more than you had expected.

    Great issue, my wife had to practically talk me down after I finished reading it saying, “They’re fictional characters!”

    • J_Michael_T
      July 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm — Reply

      Good points, and I am glad you enjoyed it as much as you did, although my “mileage” did “vary” a little bit from yours. I agree that “his” death was a powerful moment, and it impacted me as well. I think what happened to me is that I fell into the camp where I felt the series was just repeating the same ol’ cycles over and over (find camp, settle, crisis, start over) and it started to feel tired. In part I blame Hickman for having blown my mind in earlier issues and then waiting so long for him to do it again (which granted, he did do in this issue). And really, Hickman has stated that this is how the world they are in works; they struggle to find “normalcy”, then they lose it. So my bad for expecting something other than what he wants to deliver. Having said that, this issue puts me back in “I want more” mode so I am left feeling happy with how things ended up working out.

      As for the “cliche” death threat, I would have liked to have seen Rick just stare at him and plan ia seed of doubt in Negan’s mind. I think that would have been more effective (for me) in the sense that at that moment Negan was going on and on about what a badass he was and how Rick had never experienced anything like him blah blah and I think Rick just staring at him would have shown Negan how far Rick has been pushed in the past and communicated back “and you have never dealt with anyone like me”. Then again, maybe this saved Negan from really feeding Carl’s eye to Sophia! I think the scene set up by what was happening was meant to show Rick at his lowest point, completely helpless, with no options, and yet he felt that it was an appropriate moment to threaten the guy. And that could have gone really wrong right then and I didn’t think Rick would do that at that moment (I mean, he let this happen BECAUSE he knew he couldn’t do anything about it without getting everyone killed). For me it just didn’t fit the moment.

      But that’s just me nitpicking when I felt this was one of the strongest issues so far. And I cannot wait to see what’s next…

      • JacinB
        July 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm — Reply

        I think the scene set up by what was happening was meant to show Rick at his lowest point, completely helpless, with no options, and yet he felt that it was an appropriate moment to threaten the guy. And that could have gone really wrong right then and I didn’t think Rick would do that at that moment.
        I think, though, that if this series has taught us anything, it’s that Rick is capable of doing exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time.

        Because, ultimately, he’s human. He makes mistakes. He follows his gut. He reacts emotionally.

        Rick also doesn’t, typically, react well at first to a threat whatever that threat may be. He didn’t with the zombies, or with Shane, or with the Governor, or with the guys on the road who tried to molest Carl, or with the Hunters. And, because of that (and because he’s human), people around him die.

        I think his threat to Negan, while at that lowest of points, is exactly who Rick is. It’s reacting badly to an extremely dangerous threat at first.

        The problem, I think, for Negan is that Negan doesn’t get that he’s never dealt with anyone like Rick before and that realization will likely be followed shortly thereafter by his comeuppance. So, I’m kind of glad they held it back so that we can savor it.

        • J_Michael_T
          July 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm — Reply

          Haha! So true. Can’t wait to see what happens next. See you guys here after #101 :)

  6. Firefox
    July 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm — Reply

    I totally agree, this is a villain that you just can’t like. He is so much worse than the Governor was. I hope before Rick does kill him, he sticks Lucille so far up his ass that he can see the top of the bat in his throat. Poor Maggie. I never thought I would see a death worse than Lori and the baby. That there was so upsetting for me. I was just waiting on Michonne to break free and get her katanas, but then again that would have ended worse I think.

  7. ray
    July 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm — Reply

    I wish I would have stopped reading with #99. Great book, just have to wonder if it is entertaining.

  8. Matt
    July 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm — Reply

    In the letter hacks at the back, Adlard mentions that #106 is when things are really going to happen. I honestly don’t think that Rick is going to be able to kill Negan without a lot more people dying. Even if he enlists the help of The Hilltop people. I am fairly certain that more people will die at the hands of Lucille. There was so much hype about the “Lucille is Coming” poster that I can’t believe for a second that this will be all. I feel like Kirkman is going to clean house quite a bit in these next few issues. It will be bigger, better, and deadlier than the “No one is safe” arc. These are just my opinions obviously, but I feel like now that Kirkman has established that zombies are no longer “something to fear.” I think it is very possible that Negan and his group may become the enemy for a bit longer now. That is a scary thought.

  9. Clint
    July 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm — Reply

    This book has been going downhill for awhile. I get that Kirkman is trying to eclipse his ‘Governor’ arc and have the new issues be more prudent, but he’s just repeating himself. Negan is a more obnoxious, less evil version of the Governor. Also, for the special 100th issue he seemed to want to jam the word f*** in 100 times, regardless of how moronic and awkward it came off. Glenn’s death was wonderfully handled and it hit home though, and I think its a perfect way for me to ditch the series. I considered Glenn the humanity of the series, Rick’s conscience and the one character left with real good inside them, and now he’s gone. I removed this from my pull list and will instead be borrowing a friend’s TPB when he buys it (he gets them all that way, so I’m not worried about getting to read it). This series seems to have not quite known what to do with itself after the Prison storyline and its finally starting to show in a bad way. The art is still great, the death was emotional, but the writing and dialogue is sloppy and forced. Hardcore fans will love it…because they love everything Walking Dead that comes out no matter what. They’re like…Coldplay fans, they’ll swallow whatever is offered with a smile and proclaim that it just keeps getting better. Not me though, I’m washing my hands of this one. Got a cool variant cover with Todd McFarlane art and I’m calling it good. You made it to 100 issues guys, now quite while you’re only a little behind.

  10. July 15, 2012 at 9:44 am — Reply

    Yeah, that panel stayed in my head for couple days afterward. Still sort of haunts me.

    But, as several have said, the only thing that has bothered me about this has been the repetition. Don’t know if I’m being too sensitive to this, but this sequence, where someone from Rick’s crew is captured/killed/tortured, Rick vows vengeance, and then horrible retribution is enacted at a terrible price, multiple times now. We saw it with the Governor and the cannibals. But the thing is that there’s not other way to end it rather than making the bad guys pay, one way or the other. I, as a member of the audience, won’t be satisfied unless Negan is adequately punished, but you’re sort of trapped into kind of a repetition, here. The story arc will remain the same:
    1) Rick screws up and gains the attention/ire of a bad guy
    2) Bad guy does horrible stuff. Other people die.
    3) Massive confrontation where people die.

  11. Matt
    July 18, 2012 at 9:43 am — Reply

    I am kind of leaning toward the idea that the only way this could end in an unpredictable way is if everybody dies from this, Rick included, and maybe just Carl makes it through. That would be interesting for me to read. I think that along the same lines of what Clint says, the book is somewhat realistic in the fact that there is a lot of downtime between big action. Also, the big action has gotten kind of predictable, or follows the same pattern. All the main characters could possibly be killed off, however, it is very difficult to kill off your main characters and start again fresh. So far, the only writer who has done this well in a zombie story is Charlie Higson, author of The Enemy series. He kills off anyone at any time, and he always keeps you wanting more even with the loss of beloved main characters.

    So, let’s see what Kirkman does.

  12. Craig
    July 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm — Reply

    I’ve often wondered if Kirkman will kill off Rick and spin the story with another protagonist, like an aging Carl, or a broken Michonne….I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point. Right now, a week after Glenn’s death, I’m still crushed a little, and I think the worst part was I kind of pictured it happening to Glenn from the TV series played by Steven Yuen, and that kind of made it more unsettling.

  13. hunterdan
    July 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm — Reply

    I read this in line whilst waiting for a Kirkman sigining at SDCC. When I got to face the man – I told him I had just read issue 100 whilst queuing. He asked me what I thought of the book…all I could utter was “You B@stard”. Kirkman looked please with my reaction.

    What was more sickening than the book’s outcome was the comic book slabbers who had mutiple issues and varients of book #100 read for him to sign and then slab and grade. Comic books are meant to be read not slabbed!

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