|THE WALKING DEAD No. 119, December 2013|
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|