Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Walking Dead #150 - Image Comics

THE WALKING DEAD No. 150, January 2016
There should be little doubt in any collector’s mind that Editor Sean Mackiewicz’s confident boast within this magazine’s “Letter Hacks” that “The Walking Dead is a pretty special comic” is not an arrogant-sounding falsehood. For not only has this post-apocalyptic title, “created in Backwoods, Kentucky”, clearly become a lucrative franchise spawning action figures, board games and at least one highly successful television serial. It has also been consistently recording some significantly impressive sales figures “for the past twelve years” as well.

However those 156,166 readers who bought this “celebration of the tremendously talented creators who’ve worked on this comic", especially those "fans who’ve been here since Day One”, must surely have been fairly disappointed with a Robert Kirkman plot that, besides a somewhat short-lived cowardly assault upon the title’s central protagonist, contains little else but dialogue, additional dialogue and finally a thirty-two panel sequence composed entirely of even more dialogue… Indeed Rick Grime’s ‘sermon’ apologising to the settlers of Alexandria that he has “allowed us to become weak”, and promise to “band [them] together so we can kill the Whisperers” takes up the entire final third of the (over-sized) thirty-page long periodical and seems a strange narrative with which to “shock, frighten and thrill” the book’s audience as the creative team presumably intended.

Admittedly Morton Rose’s diabolically treacherous attack upon the former police deputy from Cynthiana is tremendously well-penned by the Richmond-born writer, and genuinely proves pulse-pounding as Tammy’s husband momentarily appears to have the upper hand over the disabled community leader. Fortunately the ambushed colonist is able to fight back in a typically grisly manner for the storyline’s post-apocalyptic setting by literally tearing the would-be killer’s throat out with his bare teeth. But Rick’s subsequent, though perfectly understandable, collapse into unconsciousness also ends any semblance of excitement to be gleaned from so frustratingly word heavy a comic; “This needs to happen! They’ll come and take more of us if we don’t fight back! What about your wife?! My son?! I’m not going to let Rick risk their lives, too!”

Charlie Adlard’s co-responsibility for ensuring that this sixth and final part of “No Turning Back” manages to attain its necessary sheet-count would also appear to have taken its toll upon the quality of the British artist’s pencilling, and also guaranteed that his breakdowns include a handful of his ‘infamous’ oft-times underwhelming splash-pages. In fact, apart from the Kerrang! Award-winner’s frighteningly dynamic night-time fight scene, as well as a few entirely blacked-out panels, the vast majority of his drawings simply consist of character head-shots unconvincingly conversing with one another.
The regular cover art of "THE WALKING DEAD" No. 150 by Charlie Adlard & Dave Stewart


  1. For such a landmark issue as #150, I expected far more than this dialogue-heavy dross. This has become a comic where very little happens and people just talk and talk and talk and talk and... you get my drift! Rick really annoys the hell out of me. For God's sake will he please lose his ridiculous beard and moustache and stop acting holier than thou all the time! For the past 18 issues (it may be more) Rick and his followers have been debating about what to do with the Whisperers. Endlessly debating and arguing and achieving nothing of practical interest. That is 18 issues of monotonous dialogue and very little action. Pathetic! I am rapidly losing my patience with this series and I am wondering why on earth I should carry on following it!

    1. Thanks ever so much for the comment Bryan. Its hopefully really clear why I dropped this series from my Pull List. Although if an issue was going to draw me back I thought it might be this celebratory one. Sadly not though, for all the reasons we list here. I certainly don't know why people stick with this title, but loyalty clearly plays a strong role in its sales figures.

    2. Loyalty is the ONLY reason I am sticking with this series, Simon, but loyalty can only go so far before it breaks. I'm very close to my breaking point.

    3. I do think that if this series was written by "Marvel Worldwide" or "DC Comics" then it would be so much pacier than this, with Kirkman's typical six-issue story-arcs lasting 2-3 issues at most with loads of the dialogue gone and plenty more zombies :-)