|THE WALKING DEAD No. 125, April 2014|
There’s an incredible amount of ‘talk’ going on within the pages of this penultimate chapter to “All Out War”. In fact little of anything else actually takes place, with perhaps the notable exception of Paul “Jesus” Monroe and Michonne under-estimating the numbers of undead “in and around the Hilltop”… And even this ‘brush’ with the comic’s ever-present roaming threat is a dishearteningly brief fleeting one. Instead creator Robert Kirkman decides to subject the reader to a tediously tiresome series of scenes where those infected by Negan’s poisonous blades slowly succumb to their fatal injuries and Rick Grimes once again demonstrates why he’s the leader of the survivors by giving his devoted followers yet another morale-boosting speech.
Admittedly some of this dialogue is very well written, especially Nicholas’ dying words to his wife and Carl’s impassioned advice to the dead man’s young son, Mikey. But any reader who thought that the former police deputy’s “I’m not sick… it just hurts” sermon would spell the end of this issue’s sluggishly-paced character-driven plot, was clearly in for a bitter disappointment. For not even the sudden arrival of the Saviour’s profanity-fuelled leader at the settlement’s front gates manages to motivate the “Image Comics” partner into infusing his narrative with any actual pulse-pounding action.
Rather the word count demoralizingly actually increases as a result of Negan’s confrontation with Grimes and unbelievably even reaches the point where the two foes do absolutely nothing but converse with one another for almost half the length of the book. Such a monotonous technique may prove an acceptable methodology within the medium of a ‘collected works’, compendium or graphic novel. It is not however an eminently sensible practice to use for a twenty-two page periodical. Regardless as to whether the title is published every two weeks or not.
Long-time artist Charlie Adlard must have found his pencilling skills as stretched as the patience of this comic’s 66,741 followers. For at times the English illustrator appears so completely at a loss as to how to populate the blank sheet before him that he just draws a single splash-panel depicting the psychopathic tyrant swearing. Indeed towards the end of this book the Shrewsbury-born sketcher appears so dispirited with the endless discourse that he starts to either simply replicate precisely the same image of Rick over and over again, or depict exactly the same scene, such as Negan holding has hand over his mouth, just from different angles. Such artistic ‘padding out’ only adds to the sheer dreariness and tedium of the entire edition.
|Writer: Robert Kirkman, Penciller: Charlie Adlard, and Inker: Stefano Gaudiano|