Or – “Frickin’ Negan…”

There’s really only one burning question in Walking Dead these days:  Has anybody shot Negan right in his big rubbery head?

If you want to know for sure, your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
Excellent art, as always.
Some nice character work.
Cons

Caught in a plot loop.
Unnerving male-on-female violence.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 2.80 out of 5)
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WalkingDead113CoverTHE WALKING DEAD #113
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in The Walking Dead: The zombies walking the earth in search of human flesh are nothing compared to the murderous urges of the living people, and now that Rick has finally geared up for war against Negan, there’s probably more violence on the horizon.  Last time, Rick and company managed to pick off a few of their thuggish enemy’s men, but Negan has planned ahead, as his snipers disarm Rick’s people and once again leave him at the Saviors’ mercy…

EXTREMELY SLOW BURN…

It has been more than a year since the introduction of Negan and The Saviors into this book, and since the killing of Glenn in issue #100, he has become a larger and larger presence in the lives of Rick and the Alexandria survivors.  So much so that I keep dropping out of regular reading out of frustration at how broad his characterization and cardboard villainy is, and how Kirkman and company seem to love his every obnoxious utterance.  This issue begins with Rick and his people overwhelmed by Negan’s saviors after trying to kill him last issue, and covers two story-tracks:  Rick face to face with the villain and Andrea trapped in a nearby tower in her sniping position.  Rick’s half of the story consists of nothing but talk-talk-talk from Negan while he flails impotently against his foe.  Andrea has a little more action going on, but most of it consists of her getting beaten down by one of Negan’s men, with overtones of sexual menace.

…SO SLOW IT FEELS LIKE ‘SAME OL’, SAME OL’.

There are a couple of nice moments in play, such as Carl shooting a chunk out of “Lucille,” Negan’s favorite murder weapon/baseball bat/girlfriend, but it’s mostly posturing that reminds me of the least effective episodes of the last TV season of TWD.  There is clearly some build-up towards the much-vaunted ‘All Out War’ storyline that will hopefully give us something new to chew on, but I feel like we’ve been slogging through the mud for thirteen issues, and I don’t know that I want to wait another fifteen for a resolution of a plotline featuring a character who engenders nothing from me but X-Pac Heat (the sensation by which a villain is SUPPOSED to make us want to see him get his comeuppance, but instead just makes me want him to go away.)  Perhaps Kirkman really has something brilliant up his sleeve for the big event storyline (to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised, the man has pulled it off before) but that doesn’t excuse this long run of near-misses and long dry monologues beforehand.

THE BOTTOM LINE: GILLIGAN’S ISLAND HAD SIMILAR PLOTTING PROBLEMS.

In short, The Walking Dead #113 suffers from the same problems I’ve been feeling in this book since #100, with glacial plotting, endless posturing and dumb decisions being masked as in-character tactical brilliance, earning 2 out of 5 stars overall.  The basics of a cool story are here, but it’s just not getting through the endless static created by the fact that our villain feels like a warmed-over cross between Andrew “Dice” Clay and The Governor, and that we’ve being going back and forth over the same “Will they or won’t they?” storyline since last spring…

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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2 Comments

  1. August 19, 2013 at 7:39 am — Reply

    Agreed. This arc has left much to be desired. Maybe the series has run its course. How many outlandish villains can you come up with? It’s starting to turn into just like any other comic book, when it used to be so much more.

    Not a knock on Kirkman, I think it was just inevitable.

  2. August 19, 2013 at 10:17 am — Reply

    See, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum on this.

    I think Negan has been the best villain in the series thus far, if only because it’s so hard to hate him when you’re spending so much time liking what he does. He’s a whackjob, but he’s a fun whackjob where the Governor was just … not fun.

    The high point of the pre-‘All Out War’ build-up hit last issue with the survivors deciding to try to kill Negan, Rick’s ‘brought a baseball bat to a gun fight’ line, the ‘Blam!’ and the ensuing ‘effers’ being ‘effing effed.’

    This was a ‘plateau’ between the tension that was ramped up there, and the further ratcheting up we’re likely to see in the coming bi-weekly ‘All Out War’ bit.

    I like him so much that, if they let him survive the ‘All Out War’ stuff, I’d buy a spin-off book of just him and his group doing the stuff they do.

    Though I do agree with the ‘glacial plotting’ aspect, I’ve also come to understand (and accept) that most of this book’s readers are picking it up by the trade and compendium, rather than the monthly / bi-weekly issues and, as a result, Kirkman’s writing it for those folks.

    Unfortunately for those reading every issue, that means that each individual book reads a little like the bits between commercial breaks in a television show: full of action and/or talk but, at the same time, not enough of the ‘whole story’ to be satisfactory as a standalone.

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