The Walking Dead turns 100! If you haven’t read the issue or don’t want to know what happens until you read the issue or waiting on a trade or waiting for some far off compendium, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER! This issue is going to get spoiled worse than 3 year old milk. I mean it… Turn back now or prepared to get spoiled.
The Walking Dead #100
A few of Negan’s men are perched near the gates of Alexandria. They plot to gather more area groups for a dawn attack. Meanwhile, Andrea watches over a town who appears to be bracing themselves for the worst they’ve ever had to deal with. On the road, things aren’t going much better. Rick planned on reaching the Hilltop by shortly after lunch, but it’s nearing sundown. The group plans to stop to stay the night and after a relatively uneventful watch by Michonne, Rick takes over only to be roped by Negan’s men. When the man of legend finally introduces himself, he shows off his trusted friend, Lucille – a baseball bat with barb wire wrapped around the end. After waiting for Rick to respond to the rules he is laying down for Alexandria, he proceeds to show off what Lucille can do to Glenn’s head. Allowing the group to watch in horror, Negan continues to bludgeon Glenn with Lucille while smiling the whole time until there’s hardly anything left to be called a head. Before leaving, Negan proclaims they have one week before Negan’s men will come for their first offering of supplies…
This is likely a book that will stick with readers for a very long time to come. We knew something big was coming. We all had our bets as to who would not make it out of this issue alive. We were all hungry to know who Negan was or what he looked like or if he actually existed. However, after 99 issues, we weren’t sure if anything would come to pass. It’s not completely out of the question that this centennial issue would have come and gone with something relatively big story-wise happening, but with no death whatsoever. We all wondered if it would actually be Rick who was going to be killed or bitten or, even worse, watch Carl get killed. What we got was indeed momentous.
Quietly, I began narrowing down those who were going to die next over the course of the last few issues. Almost immediately, I threw out Rick and Carl. If the television show wasn’t a smash success or didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have done this so quickly. I’m not saying that Robert Kirkman is being influenced by the success of the show, but I think he would have felt more comfortable creating a huge shake up in this issue. After all, there is much more for Rick to have to experience in the aftermath of this issue. I’ll be getting to that in a moment.
Ultimately, I found Andrea, Maggie, and Glenn rising to the top of my dead pool. After issue 99, I would have bet the farm on Glenn. Andrea was at least safe until dawn. Maggie, announcing she was pregnant, would have caused her death to mirror too closely to Lori’s. So, that left Glenn. Considering his role in this series and his likability, it would seem his death would have been tantamount only to Rick’s. As it turned out, his brutal death to Negan was like a kick in the teeth. The scene was gut wrenching and incredibly emotional. He was finally going to be happy, with his wife and children, but instead, he would become the victim whose death came without help or dignity. It wasn’t what he deserved.
The scene did do something that I never thought would be possible. Way, way back when the Governor was still running about, there were scenes that would haunt Walking Dead readers forever. Rick losing his hand. The Governor’s “pet” zombie girl. His torture at the hands of Michonne. Tyreese’s similarly undignified beheading. Lori’s death while holding her and Rick’s second child. These were all images that proved this series was at the top of its game. No book provided more scenes of pure surprise or story driven shock value. Since then, there had been a bit more of a lull. Rick and company was finding safe haven in a relatively secluded area. It wasn’t completely immune to crazy people, but it was much safer than the prison had turned out to be. Either way, that era of this series, and in particular the aforementioned torture scene involving Michonne and the Governor, provided some of the most graphic and downright shocking scenes I’d ever seen in almost any form of media. Glenn’s brutal death topped that. In those pages, as we watched on as helpless as Rick and Glenn were, I found myself audibly saying “Oh my god…” and needing to stop for a moment to catch my breath. I had gotten misty eyed as one of the most likable characters in this series had met his gruesome end. Then, as I turned the page to see the remains of his head, it felt like a million butterflies had hatched inside my stomach. I was stunned, shell-shocked, and devastated even though I was right on who was going to be the next major character to die. I couldn’t even sit down to write this review right away. I had to mourn the passing of Glenn.
What’s funny is that I didn’t even have a chance to rally behind Rick’s angry promise of killing Negan immediately after the murder. The air had left the room. In some ways, I wasn’t sure if I could ever be excited to read another issue of Walking Dead. It’s not out of disappointment or anger that Glenn had died… I mean, I just said that I had started to settle on my prediction that he would be next to go. No, it was just how powerful the moment was and how well it was written by Kirkman and drawn by Charlie Adlard.
Now, with this moment behind us, the next question becomes what happens next? It might just be possible that we’re seeing a villain in this series that will trump the Governor in every possible way. No matter how unlikely that seems, I can’t help but think that he’s going to be a looming threat over this series for a while to come before Rick can finally get his revenge. I’m sure we’ll have plenty more opportunity to see this sick bastard in action and to see how exactly deep his threats and insanity can go.
The jury may still be out on Negan, but considering he didn’t just make idle threats to Rick and crew, his actions already make him one of the greatest villains in comics in a very long time.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Powerfully written. Shocking. Insanely emotional. Gruesomely illustrated in all the right ways. This book provides more than enough evidence why this 100th issue was well worth the build up.||None.|