Review: The Walking Dead #112
The Walking Dead #112 continues the confrontational power struggle between “hero” Rick Grimes and the sadistic, foul-mouthed leader Negan. Though readers are now ten years into this series, Robert Kirkman makes fresh story decisions that keep the audience on the edge of their seat as events unfold in a powerfully dramatic way.
After last issue’s twist with Negan killing one of Rick’s people, readers know Rick would not be happy with what happened. The best parts of this issue feature both Negan and Rick’s verbal arguments over what is right, with Rick playing the aggressor and Negan being passive but slowly aggravated at Rick’s insubordination. Overall, Negan has been a fresh addition to The Walking Dead ever since his first appearance in issue #100. Glenn’s murder asserted him as a Governor type level threat, but he also brings a level of dark humor with his quirks; such as constantly swearing and treating his barbed wire bat Lucille as a person. What elevates Negan as an interesting character is his twisted code that he recites to Rick in this issue, explaining that he didn’t kill Carl and has been reasonable to Rick’s group.
Another great part of this issue is the surprising twist the narrative takes halfway through. After Rick has finished with his Negan interactions, his next decision is a shocking one from the usually cold and calculating Rick. Kirkman beautifully sets up the climax of the comic with a splash page scene that artist Charlie Adlard nails. The reveal near the end of the issue perfectly illustrates how much danger Rick and his group will be in while also showcasing how smart and tactical Negan can be. What keeps Negan an exciting villain is the element of surprise that Kirkman associates with his actions. One moment he is a friendly guy chatting in monologues about morality and how the world has changed, and the next moment he is violent reflection of the post zombie apocalyptic world.
Charlie Adlard continues his 100+ issue run on this comic, and his style is perfect for the gritty and nihilistic world that Kirkman has created. Adlard excels most with facial expressions, with the standout of the issue being a large panel of Rick screaming into the reader’s face. He gives just enough of a teary eyed expression to Rick that the anger and emotion can be almost heard. The previously mentioned two-page spread is also an amazing way to illustrate creative tension so that the reader does not know what has happened. At this point in the run of this series, it would be hard to envision The Walking Dead without Adlard’s black and white heavily shaded style. It’s great news to hear he will remain sole artist even through the twice a month shipping schedule starting in October.
The only faults in this issue are minor and do not detract from the overall product. In a late two-page spread in the comic, Adlard’s weaknesses as an artist come through with a far away shot of the different groups. His muddied style makes it hard to spot some characters emerging from wooded areas and houses at first, and some figures even lack facial features so they remain blank faces. Another weird moment is when Rick, who has told everyone else to remain calm and undertaken a ton of planning in order to take down Negan, suddenly decides to take quick action and eliminate Negan immediately. As established, Rick wouldn’t act so rashly with all of what he has planned and risk that for a uncertain shot at a man who has acted so unpredictable and violent.
The Walking Dead #112 continues the excellent current run for the series, and Robert Kirkman does not appear to be slowing down as All Out War starts up in October. With Rick and his group in a precarious situation at 112’s end, the wait until next month’s issue will certainly be a long one.
The Walking Dead #112 gets 4.5/5.