Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Walking Dead #105

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

Robert Kirkman and The Walking Dead never stop getting a rise out of me, it seems.  Really, the best way to get me worked up while reading an issue is to put Carl in danger.  Over the years, as we've watched him grow into the cold, hard kid that he's become, my sympathy and love for the character has only grown.

Last issue, Carl snuck into one of the trucks belonging to the Saviours, the group that work for Negan, the psychopath who has killed a major character, and has effectively taken over the Community where Rick and his group live.  Carl jumped out of the back of the truck with a rifle, and killed a few of Negan's men before being captured.

This entire issue is given over to Negan showing Carl around the compound where the Saviours live, and it's pretty disturbing on a few levels.  It feels like, when creating Negan, Kirkman felt the need to outdo the work he did on The Governor, the man who chased the group out of the prison a long time ago, and who is currently being used as the villain on the TV show.  Negan is a much more controlling and dangerous psychopath than the Governor was, as we learn when he shows Carl through his harem of 'wives', and we see him dispensing punishment on one of his men for an indiscretion (and also learn why the guy who attacked the Community has such a messed-up face).

Most disturbing of all though is the scene wherein he forced Carl to take off his bandages.  Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard have spared us this sight up until now, but the full-page illustration of Carl's full head, after the injuries he sustained when the Community was overrun, is going to be in my mind when I go to sleep tonight.

And therein lies the strength of this series.  Sure, the villains have been pretty over-the-top, but most of the characters in this book are everyday people who are shown having to survive a terrible situation.  When faced with Negan's evil, Carl reacts like many twelve-year-old kids would, and it's a touching and terrifying scene.  Adlard and Rathburn portray the complexity of Carl's emotions perfectly.

I love this book.

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