The Walking Dead has really been on an upswing these past few issues. I personally feel that a series set in an apocalyptic world such as this one is at its strongest when its plot and characters are aimed at a tangible goal. That’s why All Out War has me a lot more excited about The Walking Dead than any other story arc in quite a while.
The various post-apocalyptic communities continue their war against Negan’s “saviors” this issue, as we get the aftermath of last issue’s big move by Rick’s group. Negan is a great villain—brutally violent, proud, and profane, yet with an odd code of conduct that keeps the reader surprised and entertained. As much as you want him to be killed one moment, he can still make you laugh the next. I suppose it’s about how well he’s doing; when Negan succeeds, he’s detestable. When he falters, he’s comical.
While this issue wasn’t as action-packed as the last two, “The Walking Dead #117” gave us a good look at both parties of combatants dealing with the aftermath of last issue’s battle. Not every issue of The Walking Dead can be an adrenaline rush, but this fairly quiet installment gave us some nice character moments, as well as another unexpected twist of Negan’s character. It’s a tough thing to do, but Kirkman actually can get you to like this terrible villain in certain moments. At least until he kills another innocent while showing us just how many variations of the F-word he knows.
What is there really to say about the art? Charlie Adlard has been consistently great for years, portraying both character and environment with a deft hand, and as always, this issue has a two-page splash that showcases his ability. It’s probably not an easy task to bring the world of a comic to life without color, and so Adlard being able to immmerse the reader in this zombie apocalypse for over 100 issues is even more impressive.
“The Walking Dead #117” was a quiet installment that gave us some nice character moments, for both heroes and villains, and hints of what’s to come. Here’s hoping All Out War can continue its momentum, because I, for one, am actually excited about The Walking Dead again.
Asaph Bitner is a staff writer for Capeless Crusader. His other activities include studying for a college degree and dreaming of visiting the Song Of Ice And Fire universe as a future-tech wielding jedi secret agent. You can follow him on twitter at @AsaphBitner.