Monday, 9 March 2015

The Walking Dead #119 - Image Comics

THE WALKING DEAD No. 119, December 2013
A moment of recuperation and solemn reflection in the aftermath of some desperate fighting or simply the quiet before the storm. Both are suitably valid reasons as to why the tempo of Robert Kirkman’s writing for Chapter Five of “All Out War” is so painstakingly slow and thoughtful. But such an understated and dialogue-heavy interlude should surely not last the entire length of a comic book? Any latecomers to this series would certainly struggle to acquire any sense of excitement from such a twenty-two page marathon of introspection and character development. Indeed this issue clearly demonstrates why at the time of publication, there was a growing unhappiness amongst some of the title’s longer-term readers; a palpable concern as to what was happening to “The Walking Dead” as a result of its unremitting bi-weekly publishing schedule. A belief that the lamentable slow-pacing was possibly due to “Image Comics” concentrating more on “trade-paperback-time” than offering ‘value for money’ to its fortnightly followers.

Whatever the explanation there really is little in the way of storyline progression within this book until a grenade suddenly explodes within the walls of the Alexandria Safe Zone. An event which heralds the much-anticipated yet unwelcome arrival of Negan and a large group of Saviours. Only then, some two thirds of the way through the issue, does the action and suspense finally start to mount and this is hardly created expeditiously as a result of some unashamedly large panelled drawings by Charlie Adlard.

Admittedly the comic’s closing scene of Holly being abruptly revealed as a zombie is as shocking a conclusion as a comic can probably get. But it still takes three whole pages to depict the hooded infected survivor stumbling towards the embrace of an unsuspecting Denise, and once freed biting her would-be rescuer on the arm.

Disappointingly, though hardly unsurprisingly, the dramatic appearance of Rick Grimes’ main adversary also leads to a hefty number of profanities colouring the subsequent dialogue. Though considering some of the supposedly appropriate expletives used by the creative team whilst answering some of their correspondence within their letters page, it may be those readers who simply just stuck to the wording contained within the comic strip got off lightly.

Unlike similarly slow issues, this edition can’t even rely upon a couple of impressive zombie-filled ‘double-splashes’ by its British artist to salvage any degree of satisfaction from its predominantly ‘lifeless’ content. Adlard has plenty of opportunities to depict fan favourites Ezekiel, Michonne, and Rick looking suitably pensive and perturbed. But aside from the main protagonist throwing his arms up in defence as he’s momentarily showered in glass fragments, there is little for the artist to draw but characters gloomily sat or stoically stood conversing with one another.
Writer: Robert Kirkman, Penciller: Charlie Adlard, and Inker: Stefano Gaudiano


  1. Doesn't seem to be one of your favourite issues Bk.

    1. That is a bit of an understatement Bob. One of the worst comics I've so far reviewed (or at least posted) ;-)