Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Walking Dead #95

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

Robert Kirkman's taken a little time to introduce the concept that Rick and his friends are not the only people living in a self-sustaining community, or the 'Larger World' of the story arc.  Finally, Rick, Carl, and a small group of people have traveled to the Hilltop, the community where new character Jesus is from.  Most of this issue is taken up with Rick and friends entering the community, and being shown around by Jesus.

Charlie Adlard does a terrific job of designing this place.  We get a real sense (through the liberal use of double-page splashes) the size and scale of it, with its chicken coops, water tower, and various tasks being performed by the people who live there.  The place is centred around the Barrington House, a restored Gothic mansion or something, which seems to have some resonance to the characters, but which Google is unable to inform me of.

Things look great in Hilltop, but because Rick is there, it of course does not take long for bad things to start happening.  Very quickly, someone named Ethan shows up without the three people he had been traveling with.  We learn that someone named Negan (whose name is dropped a few pages earlier) has killed two people, and is holding someone named Crystal hostage, so long as Ethan does something for him, which involves him stabbing Gregory, the man in charge of Hilltop.  It doesn't take long for Rick to get involved (because that's what always happens), and things turn bloody quickly.

This is what I read this title for - the long stretches of calm character development switches, at any moment, to scenes of great violence that have lasting consequence.  It's not hard to predict that from here, either Rick's group will join up with the Hilltop (who, we learn, are out of ammunition), or they will be driven out, and will end up joining or in conflict with Negan themselves.  Either way, it's clear that Rick's not going back to his own community to just worry about keeping walkers off his gate.

The Walking Dead is always a terrific comic.  I know it's blowing up all over the place right now - I got caught up on the end of Season Two of the television show, and thought it was brilliant, and now I can't wait to see what happens in the next issue of this comic.

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