REVIEW: The Walking Dead #110

by

Or – “It Doesn’t Help That I Just Can’t Stand Negan…”

I have been taken to task recently on the social media sites in my assessment that both the Walking Dead TV series and this book have jumped different sharks in recent months, leaving me unhappy with the storytelling (which is different from being unhappy with what’s happening in the story, something this book has always excelled at.)  Will this be the issue that changes my mind?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

WalkingDeadCoverTHE WALKING DEAD #110
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Colorist: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound
Cover Price $2.99

 

Previously, in The Walking Dead:  Negan.  Always Negan.  The forces of Alexandria are preparing for war with Negan’s Saviors, but there may be a viper in their midst…

GEARING UP…

As someone who gets a paycheck due to the monthly distribution of traditional comic books, even I will occasionally admit that there are books that read better in the trade.  Walking Dead has always been one of those titles for me, and I generally do read more than one issue at a time (albeit as much due to availability factors as anything else.  It sells out quickly.)  So, when you miss one or two and then leap back in, you occasionally get a huge surprise upon your return to the black-and-white worlds of Rick and his amazing friends.  This issue is one of those, starting out with new guy Jesus flipping the script and turning full-on protagonist as he tracks down seeming turncoat Kal before the latter can reveal to Negan and his men that war is in the offing.  At the same time, Rick, Michonne and Carl (with hangers-on) head off to meet with a new ally in a place called ‘The Kingdom.’  Having not yet read the previous couple of issues, I knew I was in for a surprise, but I was not expecting what I got…

Y’KNOW, I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THE TIGER-THING…

Friends had mentioned how cool Ezekiel was on the intarwebz here and there, but this issue serves as my first introduction to him, and…

…he is pretty frickin’ awesome.  His Kingdom also has the manpower and resources necessary to assist Rick and company in their war with Negan, a double-plus, but what he doesn’t have is the trust of Michonne, who pulls her sword immediately upon the sight of “King Ezekeiel” and his pet tiger.  Their conflict is short, though, and makes me love Ezekiel immediately, especially when the last quarter of the issue is a quiet conversation between Michonne and the erstwhile King wherein he answers many of the questions that everyone reading TWD had to be asking.  Kirkman does a good job in making the idea of his pet as accessible as the idea of a one-handed man repeatedly winning fistfights or a one-eyed child successfully killing a dozen men with a heavy machine gun.  Artistically, Adlard responds to the story’s upturn in hope with a change in his art, and the greytones also seem to lighten up this issue, starting to dispel the fear and hopelessness of this book for the first time since Glenn’s murder.  Moreover, we get to see Michonne smile, something that Adlard’s art makes painfully adorable…

THE BOTTOM LINE: THE OLD ENGAGING WALKING DEAD…

Long story short?  I enjoyed this issue a lot, as it reminds me of what I always enjoyed about this world while not undermining the seriousness of the survivors’ plight and the upcoming conflict with Negan.  (It may help that the foul-mouthed jerk doesn’t appear in the issue at all, and I kind of hope to see Maggie take him out as this storyline plays on.)  The Walking Dead #110 does indeed rekindle my love affair with Kirkman’s quirky world and the characters, and he takes great pains to play fair with even the goofiest elements of the story, but in the long run it’s all about seeing Michonne’s subtle grin, leaving the book with a well-earned 4 out of 5 stars overall…  Now, if only the TV show can dig itself out of the pit that finale dug, I’ll be another voice in the wilderness, crying “KIIIRKMAAAN!”

Rating: ★★★★☆

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