From writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard comes The Walking Dead comic series from Skybound and Image. Check out my review of issue #144.
The Walking Dead revolves around the life of Rick Grimes, a small-town police officer and his family, and a number of other survivors who have banded together in order to survive after the world is overrun with zombies.
This review is MAJOR spoiler free. In other words I won’t tell you what happened to whom precisely, but I will tell you that the severity of the consequences that Rick’s group has encountered here – is dire. After the leader of The Whisperers “Alpha” threatens Rick by showing him the largest horde in the history of the series – it doubly doesn’t help when she says that she’s in control of it and not afraid to move it wherever she wants. She’s disturbed by Rick’s society which is trying to rebuild a civilization that she feels should have been left extinct.
The majority of this issue is a back and forth dialog between the two leaders which eventually comes to a head when we realize why Alpha’s daughter wants to leave The Whisperers and join Carl’s group. It’s pretty nasty stuff and we wind up getting a little more insight into the mindset of this woman who has become borderline feral in nature. A decision is ultimately made in regards to her child and it’s not what I expected in the slightest. But that’s not what is so shocking about this issue. Remember Alpha’s machete – you know the one covered in blood? Well. If you wanna remain completely spoiler free – even minor spoilage – get the hell out of here now.
Alpha put that machete to WORK. Robert Kirkman has been doing this thing recently where he’s submitting his characters to off-screen deaths, neglecting to show us the carnage as it occurs, but still leaving us with the horrifying aftermath. There was an execution not long ago – had the same effect. Take that moment and multiply it several times over. Artist Charlie Adlard’s response to the script for this issue? “Oh my god.”
Yeah pretty much. As Rick heads back to where Michonne and Andrea were waiting, he sees exactly how Alpha has marked her territory and it’s one of the most disturbing images in the series’ long history. Several severed heads are stuck on poles, making up this border that Rick has been threatened to never cross. Atop those poles – are the heads of many, many characters. Some very minor, a couple definitely NOT so minor. You could argue that there were a couple major death reveals here.
The way Adlard and Kirkman reveal the head and then directly below it, show a conversation between people back at Rick’s camp asking where “so and so” is – was one of the most brilliant moments I’ve yet to read in The Walking Dead. As we go down the line of severed heads, we know we’re building towards something and by the final two – we the readers are fucking put through the ringer. Issue 144 gave me that same uneasy feeling that I had while reading the epic 100th chapter… And we all remember how that went.