Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Walking Dead #136 - Image Comics

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


  1. If, like me, you are sticking with this series through sheer bloody-minded loyalty, your patience is severely tested as the story moves along at a snail's pace, with page after page of dialogue, very little action and hardly a zombie in sight. In the volume 24 TPB (which collects issues #139 to #144), I counted about six pages that featured zombies on them in all six issues! You just know there is going to be a major confrontation between Rick's groups and the creepy Whisperers, but, oh my god, Kirkman really drags it out. It ends rather dramatically, but by the end of volume 25, little else has occurred and the reader is still left waiting for something interesting to happen between the two groups. I, and all the other readers who have stuck with this series since issue #1, deserve a medal!

    1. You certainly do deserve a medal Bryan, as my journey with "The Walking Dead" has undoubtedly been a tiring one and you are demonstrating the patience of a saint by sticking with it. I won't be as this is the last regular issue I bought. I do have #150 to review, and a few others just before the "All Out War" story-arc. But unless the bottom drops out the back issue market, that'll be all for "TWD" for me...

    2. I can't say I blame you, Simon. Between this issue you've just reviewed and issue #150 very little actually happens. There are some deaths and a few important characters are bumped off but their deaths all occur off screen, or should that be off page? I think Kirkman was trying to keep the readers guessing who killed them even though it is patently obvious who is guilty!

      I do wonder why the TV series appears to be getting better but the comic series is most definitely getting worse?

    3. I understand that one of the big criticisms made of Kirkman is that he is paying far too much working on the TV series than on these comics, and indeed there seems to be an increasing cry for him to handover the reins of "The Walking Dead" title to someone else; something I doubt as creator he'd ever do though.

      A pity really because I think this series would really benefit from a makeover and story-arcs which usually play out over a year would be condensed into 3-4 issue adventures (with a lot of the dialogue cut out!!). Of course that'd play hell with the Tpb market sales ;-)