This is the second-to-last issue of the ‘All Out War’ storyline, so you’d expect some big twists and maybe even a few high-profile deaths, because on top of being the penultimate chapter of this saga, it’s issue #125 and usually quarter issues are marked by major occurrences.  Well, not this one.  Not entirely at least.

The character Dwight continues to be elusive to fully grasp as it still isn’t completely clear whose side he’s really on, but more and more I think he’s really on Rick’s side.  Going back a couple of issues, Negan told him to coat his crossbow bolts with zombie gore and then to shoot Rick, which Dwight does.  The question lingered, did he really do exactly what he was told and contaminate his bolts?  I’ll get to more on that in a second, but as of this issue, the people that were injured by the bloody weapons are growing sick and so far Rick isn’t.

Rick, however was seemingly struck in the kidney by the bolt, zombie-fied or not.  Even if the bolt wasn’t contaminated, that’s a pretty serious injury and not one you just walk off as Rick has done thus far.  I realize you can live without both kidneys but in the real world should you have one removed, that’s a major medical procedure and requires a long recovery period.

This brings me to the art and how it’s utilized in this series.  I assume that since Rick is up walking and talking and leading an army into a war that his injury wasn’t that serious, that he was struck elsewhere on his back and that the wound wasn’t that deep.  But that wasn’t how it looked in the drawing.  It really looked like Dwight’s bolt had struck a kidney.  I then thought back to when Carl lost his eye.  In the two-page spread where his injury was revealed in all its gory glory, it looks like half his brain was blown off.  Well, he’s still walking and talking and shooting, so presumably once again his injury was less serious than it was drawn.

That bugs me.  It means that Charlie Adlard– great artist, don’t get me wrong– is purposefully exaggerating these “money shots” for shock value.  As a reader, I feel like we’re being manipulated to get that “Oh S–t!” reaction this book is known for and which is a large part of its appeal.  In a way it breaks the reality that we the readers have been lured into, because despite the fantasy elements of the books, the human body presumably works the same way.  You don’t shrug off a kidney shot or losing a chunk of brain matter.  It’s not an every issue occurrence, but I hope not to see another exaggerated injury for a while if ever again.

Back to this particular issue, the art is otherwise really strong.  There is a big encounter between Rick and Negan and the facial expressions as the two leaders attempt to work out a resolution is actually very strong as you can see the hesitation and the real desire to find a way to solve their problems captured.  Negan actually makes a good case for himself and its one I’ve thought myself concerning Rick and the effect he actually has on those around him.  Is he the hero/savior that we’ve been told he is?  If you look at his track re

I’ve complained that this story is dragging but this issue all of a sudden jumped to lightspeed.  It did feel a little rushed, like Robert Kirkman dragged this story out and suddenly realized he had one more issue to solve everything.  But I am happy that we’re finally getting to the end of this thing.

There is a… cliffhanger.  I won’t spoil anything, but what happens, I think was supposed to be shocking but it actually felt a little unsatisfying.  I’m going to wait and see.  I’m sure there’s more to come.

All in all, I’m glad the pace is picking up.  A lot of what makes this book fun are here, zombie fights, characterization and a sort-of cliffhanger.  So in all, I’d say at the very least, its a step in the right direction.




Writer – Robert Kirkman
Pencils and Cover – Charlie Adlard