|THE WALKING DEAD No. 136, January 2015|
There’s an awful lot of dialogue to read in Robert Kirkman’s narrative for Issue One Hundred and Thirty Six of “The Walking Dead”. A disappointingly dire situation which is due entirely to the title’s creator cramming the comic full of scenes where the post-apocalyptic survivors simply talk to one another as they go about either their mundane daily business, consider stretching out a hand to a person in need, or hatch nefarious plots to commit vengeful murder.
Admittedly a couple of these conversations, such as Gregory suggesting that killing Maggie Green would be the easiest solution to Morton Rose’s problems, as well as the pair of Whisperers quietly awaiting their leader whilst watching the colony, are developmental and laced with nervy tension as to a potentially bloody violent future. But in the main the “Image Comics” partner’s painstakingly slow plot progression doubtless made this twenty-two page periodical a decidedly demanding experience for its 66,097 readers.
Indeed even when Carl Grimes is released from his arguably unjust imprisonment midway through the magazine, and then subsequently menaced by one of his assailant’s parents, little of any consequence actually takes place apart from the father mentally determining that the settlement’s former overseer of operations is “right” and that both the Hilltop’s current 'boss' and “the boy” have to die before things only get worse. Disappointingly there is no actual physical confrontation between the pair, and instead Rick’s son tediously spends the rest of the storyline sat outside the settlement's cells talking to a tearful Lydia, before sentimentally handing her his father’s police Stetson to use as a comforter…
Somewhat fortuitously however such a lack-lustre script does not appear to have been too detrimental to Charlie Adlard’s breakdowns for this book. In fact the Englishman seems to have taken the opportunity to truly demonstrate just how impressively he can draw emotion upon his figure’s faces. Whether it be the dumbfounded horror of the Rose family staring aghast at Gregory when he first suggests murdering Sophie’s mother, or the genuine fear and anguish seen within the streaming eyes of the community’s incarcerated Whisperer later in the book, the Shrewsbury-born penciller’s attention to his characters’ facial expressions genuinely paints a thousand words which Kirkman’s dialogue never touches upon.
|Writer: Robert Kirkman, Penciller: Charlie Adlard, and Inker: Stefano Gaudiano|