|THE WALKING DEAD No. 135, December 2014|
Despite this twenty-two page periodical’s most action-packed moment consisting of an enraged Morton Rose angrily grabbing hold of Carl Grimes and forcefully putting him against a wall, Issue One Hundred and Thirty Five of “The Walking Dead” doubtless still thoroughly entertained its 67,361 strong audience on account of Robert Kirkman’s gripping plot progression and the tensely hostile atmosphere permeating Hilltop’s infirmary. In fact so powerfully pervading is the sense of danger surrounding Rick’s son, on account of him previously battering two of the colony’s boys, that many of this comic book’s buyers must have consistently been wondering, as their eyes flicked from one heated exchange to another, just how Maggie Greene was somehow managing to keep the disfigured adolescent from being beaten to death by some of her settlement’s less savoury occupants.
Rather impressively however, the Richmond-born writer soon adds a strong sense of injustice to the proceedings by having Sophia’s protector somewhat unfairly placed inside one of the dependency’s cells by the very mother of the girl he fought to save; “You’re really going to lock me up for saving Sophia?” This sense of outrage is then intensified by the “girlfriend-turned-wife of Glenn” coldly turning upon the imprisoned youth and lecturing him about not killing people despite the fact he “saved Sophia…”
Equally as enthralling, though somewhat less emotionally-charged, is the title creator’s interrogation of the sixteen year-old Whisperer, Lydia, by Paul Monroe. Doe-eyed and innocent-looking, the young girl’s philosophy that humans should safeguard the zombies because “they protect us” when her people travel with them is as simple-sounding as its logic is chillingly child-like, and certainly provides ample explanation as to why the undead suddenly seem to be talking and fighting with melee weapons.
This particular edition’s strongest asset though has to be Charlie Adlard’s incredibly expressive pencilling coupled with Cliff Rathburn’s correspondingly atmospheric gray tones. Such a dialogue-heavy narrative as “Face To Face” could easily have become a very tedious experience for the eyes. Yet the Kerang! Award-winner’s beautifully animated facial features genuinely imbues every character with a convincingly unique personality, and makes Carl’s unapologetic defiance towards the extremely dislikeable Rose family all the more emotionally-charged.
|Writer: Robert Kirkman, Penciller: Charlie Adlard, and Inker: Stefano Gaudiano|