Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Walking Dead #108

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

Have you ever, after putting up with someone for a long time, finally decided to vent to a third party, only to discover that the other person's friend was eavesdropping?  That's more or less what happens to Rick in this issue, as Jesus takes him to meet Ezekiel, and they begin to plot against Negan.

Ezekiel is the ruler of a small 'kingdom' that he has set up, centred in a high school.  He's an interesting character - all white dreadlocks and pet tiger, and one has to wonder exactly why people in his land have chosen to rally around him, going so far as to refer to him as their king, and put up with his Medieval Times speech.  He's probably the most eccentric person Robert Kirkman has ever introduced into The Walking Dead, where even extreme characters like Negan and The Governor can be understood within the context of the times they are living in.

When talking to Ezekiel, Rick has no idea that one of Negan's Saviors are present, and Rick is immediately sceptical.  Kirkman has a long history of making things look one way in his comics when they are really another, so it's hard to predict if Dwight is serious about betraying Negan, or if he is playing Rick and the rest.  It's that unpredictability that makes me love this comic so much.

The other thing that works very effectively are the quieter character moments Kirkman sprinkles throughout the book.  Michonne is getting a lot more screen time lately, and becoming an even more complex character.  Now that everyone is living in relative safety in the Community, Kirkman has more time to explore the various ways in which they are coping with their new lives.  For the longest time, this was a book about pure survival, but once those basic needs are being met, people actually have the time and the space to react to things.  Exploring that makes this book as interesting as whatever is happening between Rick and Negan.

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