With just two more chapters of ‘All Out war’ to follow, things are heating up as Maggie takes on a leadership role at the Hilltop and Negan and the Saviors to attack the settlement.  Last issue, he instructed his soldiers to “dirty” up their weapons, covering them in walker blood so that even the victims they didn’t kill outright would become infected and turn, attacking their fellow inhabitants.  The true shocker is that am0ng the injured is Rick, who was struck by one of Dwight’s crossbow bolts.  Negan actually nearly takes over The Hilltop, but some quick thinking drives him and his followers away, but not too far away.

There’s a subplot about some of the other Saviors escaping their stronghold to go join Rick’s side, but it doesn’t really play out much here.

Is Rick really going to die?!  That’s the big question.  Some of the other injured are starting to fall ill with a powerful flu, apparently the first step in their transformation.  Thus far, Rick doesn’t seem to be showing the same symptoms and it’s still unclear which side Dwight is actually working for.  He’s still working with Negan, but he has secretly been aiding Rick’s side at times as well.  Did he make sure to shoot Rick with a clean bolt?  That’s my theory, since I don’t think Kirkman will actually kill off his main character… but you never know.  This series thrives on shock value and I’m sure that by the end of this story, someone major will die, either Rick, Carl, Andrea, Michonne or Maggie.  Any other deaths wouldn’t really impact the title by much.  I can’t see it being Carl, but I’d put money that one of the others won’t make it out of issue #126.

There were some issues with pacing and storytelling from my perspective.  The last issue ended with Rick getting shot by Dwight and with Negan and some of his men approaching.  It was also daytime.  When this issue opens, it’s suddenly night time and the book opens with the escaping Saviors on their way to Hilltop.  When the scene shifts to Hilltop, it’s still night but things are scrambled a bit.  Negan is no where near Rick, who is struggling to get indoors.  Maybe it made more sense to some readers, but I was a little lost.

There was actually a lot of action in this issue, but it felt generic.  Just people and some walkers getting shot and stabbed, which is like an every issue occurrence.  There has been more innovative kills in the past, so this didn’t impress me.  And there weren’t really any new reveals for the reader or even any character development.

I hate to come across as blase.  It wasn’t a bad issue, I just had some issues.   I would not call this a filler issue, because I think it was better than that.  But there have been other, much stronger issues.  So this one comes in right above average.

Written by Robert Kirkman
Pencils and Cover by Charlie Adlard