The Walking Dead continues its “A Larger World” arc. Is Rick cut out to make new friends?
The Walking Dead #95
Jesus has led the small party to the “Hilltop”, his settlement. They make their way up the hill and into the village which is a fully functional settlement with livestock, a water tower, tradesmen, gardens, and a palatial mansion in the center of town. Jesus takes them to the mansion, the Barrington House, where Rick meets the head of the town, Gregory. Gregory boasts about the village until another villager, Ethan, returns from another town run by someone named Negan. Ethan claims that he’s there to deliver a message to save a woman named Crystal. Ethan stabs Gregory and Rick helps wrestle the attacker to the ground. Rick eventually overpowers Ethan and slits his throat with the knife he used on Gregory, leaving the Hilltop residents staring in awe.
After 94 issues of viewing the world from Rick’s point of view, issue 95 makes Rick more of a fish out of water again for the first time since the really early issues of this series. Robert Kirkman puts Rick in a position where he’s not in power. He’s needing to see how these people work and interact, which, I might add, is seemingly much more harmonious and successful than his group. When he’s brought into the Hilltop, he’s faced with what seems almost like a real civilization. It’s less about defense and protecting themselves than it is about having food and applying their trades to build some sort of life. These people even built the local water tower into the walls of their city. It’s really the first time that we’ve seen a functioning, and seemingly peaceful town since Rick awoke into this world.
Of course, things may not be all that peaceful as someone, acting in their best interest to preserve the life of what you can assume to be either a sister or a lover, attacks the leader of the town. That seems to be more of an external threat from this “Negan” than it was an internal power struggle that Rick’s group is accustomed to seeing.
What I like most about this issue (outside the two nicely illustrated two-page spreads from Charlie Adlard) is how awkward Rick is in this “civilized” place. He’s literally dumbstruck by the impressiveness of the town. I almost get the idea that he’s not so much puzzled that there are others around making something of a life for themselves, but that they are so well organized, safe, and happy. Rick seems so humbled by this visit, that this is one of the few times in a very, very long time that he’s not had to tell people how it is or what he expects from them. It also leads to an actual comedic last page when Rick just can’t figure out why people would look at him the way they are after he killed Ethan in self-defense.
Naturally, as much as there’s a thrill from an almost lighthearted, and at times, funny issue, there’s a shadow hanging over everything the moment Ethan staggers back into town. Who is Negan? What is the Hilltop doing that isn’t in Negan’s line of expectations? Why would Negan ask someone from the Hilltop to kill their own leader and why would that person do it without finding another solution? Questions, questions, and I have a feeling we’re on the way to finding out just how bad this Negan might be…
Or perhaps the Hilltop isn’t exactly as good of a place as we think…
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Nice touch. Not too heavy for most of the issue and even after an attack and Rick saving himself in a violent manner, the light tone remains for a nice chuckle on the last page. A couple nice spreads from Adlard rounds out a solid issue.||I don’t have much negative to say. Looking forward to seeing this Negan.|
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