Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Walking Dead #96

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

Rick ends up giving quite the speech in this issue of The Walking Dead.  The days of him questioning his decisions and his role as leader of his group are long over, and now we see the take-charge, confident Rick at his best.

In the last issue, Rick, Carl, and a small group of their people began to explore the Hilltop, a large community of about 200 people that appears to be quite self-sustaining and safe.  At least, it seemed that way until shortly after they arrived, some community member stabbed their leader, on the orders of some guy named Negan, and then tried to kill Rick.

As it turns out, the Hilltop is being extorted by this Negan, who sounds a little like The Governor of years past.  He gets half of the Hilltops resources in exchange for keeping them 'safe' from walkers, but also likes to beat up or kill the people who bring him his tribute from time to time.  Carl is the one that suggests that were Rick to take him out, their own community could benefit from the same stuff.

And so it seems that Kirkman is setting up the next bunch of issues of this comic.  I imagine that the confrontation with Negan will come in issue 100, and that makes me a little nervous, as Kirkman has a habit of killing characters I like in anniversary issues. 

The best part of this issue is when Glen, Andrea, and Michonne share their impressions of the Hilltop, and each of them are almost perfect encapsulations of those characters - Glen is sweet and optimistic, Andrea cynical and hard, and Michonne puts a brave face on her fears.  It is the complexity of these core characters, along with Rick, that makes this book so successful month after month.

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