The Walking Dead marches toward issue #100! ”Something to Fear” begins now!
The Walking Dead #97
A new arc begins quietly. Alexandria hopes for the safe return of Rick, Glenn, Andrea, Michonne, and Carl. Meanwhile, Rick and crew run into a roving Negan crew demanding they hand over everything they have. After Andrea and Michonne wipes out the crew, Rick issues his own message to take back to the nefarious Negan that rattles the saber. When they get back, Glenn receives a special announcement from Maggie, Rick rallies the “troops”, and Rick and Andrea finally face their growing feelings for each other. The following morning, Eugene and Abraham go out to follow up on a lead for supplies to build their own ammunition, but what they don’t realize is that they aren’t alone on the streets.
This is another case of a somewhat “innocent” beginning to a story that’s been heavily promoted as to leading to a shocking centennial issue, but also carrying some serious undertones and what feels to have a pulsing like war drums beneath the surface. Lots of things are going on. First, we have each of our longest running characters experiencing changes to their lives. Carl is beginning to remember things that are some of the darkest events of the survivors’ pasts. Rick and Andrea appear to be entering a romantic relationship. Glenn and Maggie are expecting. You can’t tell me there isn’t going to be something awful to happen to any one (or possibly more) of these characters when the series turns over the odometer.
This isn’t the only thing that’s happening here. While we see a crew from Negan’s almost cultist group finally show themselves, they seem to be taken out too easily. It’s a great start to Rick’s campaign to protect the Hilltop, we still have no idea exactly how crazy or dangerous Negan’s group is. There’s also a strangeness coming out of Eugene. He’s poking at Abraham and apparently has an agenda. Yeah, he’s likely on the up and up about getting the stuff to make their own ammo, but the animosity between the two characters is about to boil over, but to what end? What would Eugene hope to gain from knocking off Abraham other than potentially trying to win over Rosita by having the former lover eliminated from the picture? Could it really be that simple that love is driving Eugene to do this?
One last bit of story that came and went in the blink of an eye, but could very easily be a tease to something much more important later on. As Heath was helping Holly and Abraham clean up the walkers in the trench, Heath does in a walker who seems to be decaying badly. If it was one of the very first turned, are they dying out or is the condition part of what killed him? It’s something that is almost a throwaway page and something that may not be revisited for years, but certainly adds a new level to the original threat of the entire series.
This is a story that seems ten times more dynamic and potentially huge than the last few arcs. There’s a feel to it that isn’t hype, but is a real thing that’s found in the actual comic itself, albeit a underlying aspect to the story itself. It almost feels like what could be the beginning of an entirely new direction for the series.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Good tension even if it isn’t right in your face. Solid start to what is promised to be a huge arc leading to the hundredth issue. Even Charlie Adlard’s art matches that tone that Robert Kirkman uses as a way to march the reader directly into some heavy stuff.||Nothing right out in the open to complain about. A solid issue all around.|