Tag Archives: charlie adlard

Review: The Walking Dead #151

Twd151he Walking Dead no longer describes the survivors infected by a virus which will turn them into zombies when they die. The Walking Dead seems to describe characters who no longer have an interest in appearing in this book.

Rick Grimes has led the community of Alexandria to relative peace in the years following his all-out war with Negan. Tension has been growing with The Whispers, an animalistic society that wears the skins of the dead in order to coexist with the Walkers. After their leader, Alpha, butchered members of Alexandria and the neighboring communities, the call for war has come again. Rick has now begun to militarize Alexandria to prepare them for all-out war… though no one is likely to call it “all-out war”. That’s the story they just did. (Are they dragging their feet across these issues hoping we’ll forget?)

At this point, Rick has become the man dressed as Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. He’s little more than a figurehead, always present but not really what anyone came to see. Instead, you pass him by looking for the characters you haven’t begun to outgrow. In this case, we’re looking at people like Carl or Michonne. Rick himself acknowledges to the degree to which he’s no longer relevant. Of course, there’s no reason Rick couldn’t be as engaging and as interesting as he’s always been. It just feels at this point that maybe Robert Kirkman himself has grown a bit tired of him. It might explain why his best moments these days (for example, ripping people apart an attacker with his teeth last issue) are just repeats of his glory days (for example… oh, man, that was years ago, don’t make me look up the issue number).

Sadly, even the characters you’re looking for seem disinterested with the story. Michonne’s appearances are so sparse, if this were the television show you would expect she was only making the minimum appearances according to her contract. She actively wants to leave to join characters we saw briefly almost two years ago. She’s not standing with Rick or Alexandria against the Whispers. She’s literally napping on the couch. Meanwhile, other mainstays like Carl and Andrea make no appearance at all.

Dwight’s appearance in Alexandria seems to be a desperate attempt at this point try to bring new life into the series. Rick says, “You obviously have some military training…” in explaining why Dwight should be leading people in his stead. Well, does he or doesn’t he? You’ve known him for years at this point, Rick. Did you ever ask? Or do you simply not care because you’re just done with all this?

In fact, to revisit the television show analogy, it’s hard to escape that fatigued feeling you see in later seasons, just before the show goes off the air. The actors have unexplained absences while they film movies and think about the future of their careers, the writing team clearly begins to run out of ideas and every story is not just familiar, it’s directly taken from a few seasons before. Every issue since “All Out War” has just been building up to another “All Out War” scenario. The only difference is… the bad guys are different.

The bad guys are different! So, yes… The Walking Dead has a chance to breathe new life into its pages by showing us more of the Whispers and Alpha, by establishing new characters there instead of focusing on the extras in Alexandria. We’re getting training scenes with characters who either won’t die or who will die to the great indifference of the reader.

Does anyone care if Gabriel decides he wants to train? This is a genuine question becomes it seems any reader-interest in Gabriel died many years ago. Was anyone surprised that Eugene made contact with someone on his radio? The wide-eyed ending at someone actually responding to him via the radio is ridiculous. We know there are other people in the world, we’ve been seeing new communities show up for years. Eugene knows there are other people. And if he didn’t know it, why is he so surprised? He was clearly using the radio because he expected he could get in touch with someone.

The hardest part of the series is being one hundred and fifty-one issues in and wondering at what point to give up and walk away. Every issue is discouraging and it forces even the most die-hard fans to ask at what point are you are simply dead with no interest in coming back?

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Story: 5 Art: 7 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Walking Dead #150

The-Walking-Dead-150-Tony-MooreIssue #150 began selling out in stores across America minutes after hitting the stands. Walking Dead fans have been eagerly anticipating what waited behind the blood soaked cover. So, what heartache did they discover this time?

Rick Grimes has led the community of Alexandria to relative peace in the years following his all-out war with Negan. Tension has been growing with The Whispers, an animalistic society that wears the skins of the dead in order to coexist with the Walkers. After their leader, Alpha, butchered members of Alexandria and the neighboring communities, the call for war has come again. Rick has sought to caution a hasty response and unrest has grown because of it. This month’s issue is titled “Betrayal”.

Traditionally, Robert Kirkman saves the most seminal moments for issues like this. Moments that change the course of the comic, that reshape the cast of characters, cause dedicated readers to fear issues like #100. So #150 has been cause for great concern. Kirkman breaks from tradition in this issue. Instead, what we have plays more like a “best of…” or, more appropriately, “do you remember…?” The story fails to advance in anyway and Rick doesn’t show us anything we haven’t seen before.

Do you want a spoiler free review? This issue fails to capture the moments that propel the title’s popularity, moments which have become more and more widely dispersed as years go on. Whether Kirkman no longer has the time to dedicate to Walking Dead or whether it has become such a cash cow he is now afraid to mess with the equation is unclear. The palpable fear has for many years been on this side of the comic, from the moment the reader picked it off the stand until they closed it and began to dread what would happen next month. That palpable fear more and more seems to be coming from somewhere in Image Comics, somewhere in the creative process. The raw storytelling has burned out and the flavor of the comic seems forever spoiled.

Before discussing the issue in a way that contains spoilers, let’s just say that the book began as a small group of people living in a camper. It developed characters. The experience was personal. Now every subplot gets two or three pages at most. There are no new characters the reader can connect with. For how little investment has been made fleshing out people rather than setting, killing off members of the core cast may kill the book. Maggie, Michonne, Rick, Carl, Andrea… once they’re gone, who make this book standout from any other zombie series? Kirkman needs to start focusing on meatier stories rather than setting up big events so we can learn to love new people in the process, so we can lose some of the people we no longer believe have anything to fear, and resume wondering what will happen from week to week.

Now, for spoilers.

Rick Grimes, the closest thing to Conan the Barbarian the people of Alexandria have, is attacked by two older men who attempt to scare him and proceed to try and beat him to death. As a reader, it doesn’t resonate. Even caught off guard, we’ve seen Rick tear people to pieces. In fact, his patented go-for-the-throat approach is, yes… something we have seen before. So why did these characters think they could take him and why was this what was offered in terms of creating tension for the reader? It would be like Mario getting jumped by two goombas. There would never be a doubt what the outcome would be. This unintimidating moment is what takes center stage in place of the horror we have felt in the past watching Lori and the baby shot or Glen be beaten to death in front of Maggie.

It’s a great disappointment.

He then proceeds to fill six pages with another speech about returning to old-world values of peace and morality (while he likely still has the taste of throat in his teeth). Six pages that accomplish nothing. He talks about forming an army. Well, guess what? We discussed that last issue. He talks about making the world the way it used to be. Guess what? Rick has been doing that for years. And he spared the attacker who let him go? Of course, he did! He’s the “good guy”. So while it was certainly the virtuous thing to do, it was another moment that failed to offer any surprise. Meanwhile, Alpha and the Whispers continue to be unseen. Do we care that Rick is going to militarize Alexandria? No. We have literally already seen Alexandria go to war and win. The reader doesn’t doubt it can be done because it’s already collected in various trades.

The heartache discovered in this issue seems to be the promise that the golden age of the book is gone, and the suggestion that we’re in for a repeat of the forgettable “All-Out War” storyline. “Betrayed” seems like a better description for a readership that deserved to see this issue be a return to the classic storytelling of The Walking Dead.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Story: 5 Art: 7 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review…
….though I’ll admit I bought both the Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard covers

Review: The Walking Dead #150

THE WALKING DEAD #150 1Rick Grimes finds himself… BETRAYED.

Here it is, the big 150th issue of The Walking Dead, arguably, the most successful indie comic ever. Writer Robert Kirkman has been building up to something, lets face it he has a pattern in his storytelling.

For some time now, the series has had Rick dealing with their new nemesis the Whisperers, a group of individuals who wear walker skin and walk among them. There’s still unrest over Rick’s wavering and taking time as to what he wants to do in response. Some want war. Some want something smarter.

Last issue had Rick seeking out the advice of his rival Negan who of course is rather Machiavellian in his advice. What is Rick to do?

We have our answer here, as a decision is made, but not before he can be betrayed by some of his own people.

Saying that isn’t a spoiler at all, but what happens is pretty brutal and feels realistic. Rick has been a bit of a pacifist post Negan, and there’s absolutely been valid questions if he’s lost his edge and willingness to fight. Here we see classic Rick, badass, and a leader.

The comic isn’t as shock and awe as I expected, a much more muted experience from issue 100. But, what it does do is set up the next phase of The Walking Dead. The next phase too is new in many ways, and I’m sure will up the philosophical debate that has been occurring for some time in the series.

The art by Charlie Adlard with inks by Stefano Gaudiano, and gray tones by Cliff Rathburn is the usual solid visuals. The brutality of the fight Rick goes through, and the act he commits is captured fantastically. It’s black and white, but in your mind you can see the blood he’s drenched in.

This issue has a lot more going for it, but it’s really about the next phase of Rick’s leadership, and I’m convinced things won’t go smoothly. I’m expecting there to be debates about dictatorships, and possibly fascist leadership, we can see some of that already. Kirkman dioesn’t really gives us as many shocks as he has in the past, but he has set the series on a more mature adult path for at least a little while.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Ink: Stefano Gaudiano Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Walking Dead Gets a 1:1000 Retailer Variant

Image Comics and Skybound is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for any comics retailer who orders at least zero copies of The Walking Dead #150.

Participating retailers who meet the minimum of zilch orders will receive one free variant featuring art by series artist, Charlie Adlard.

This very special Retailer Appreciation variant will be a black and white version of Adlard’s Cover A and will grace the cover of the landmark, anniversary issue of The Walking Dead, which will feature 30 pages of pulse-pounding story for only $2.99. In this 150th issue, Rick Grimes finds himself… betrayed.

The Walking Dead #150, Cover A by Adlard & Stewart (Diamond Code: NOV150561*), Cover B sketch variant (Diamond Code: NOV150562*), Cover C by Latour (Diamond Code: OCT158896*), Cover D by Moore (Diamond Code: OCT158897*), Cover E by Ottley (Diamond Code: OCT158898*), and the Retailer Appreciation Cover F by Adlard (Diamond Code: NOV158259) will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, January 13th.
*This cover is fully orderable.

The Walking Dead #150 1 1000 variant

The Walking Dead Gets Three Variants to Celebrate #150

To commemorate the 150th issue of The Walking Dead, Image/Skybound has enlisted the talents of veteran artists Jason Latour, Tony Moore and Ryan Ottley for three special variant covers in addition to the previously revealed Charlie Adlard cover and blank sketch variant. Additional credits for The Walking Dead #150 include Stefano Gaudiano (inks), Cliff Rathburn (tones), and Rus Wooton (lettering). This special extra-sized anniversary issue will be available in stores on January 13th.

The Walking Dead #150, Cover A by Adlard & Stewart (Diamond code: NOV150561*), Cover B sketch variant (Diamond code: NOV150562*), Cover C by Latour (Diamond code: OCT158896*), Cover D by Moore (Diamond code:OCT158897*), and Cover E by Ottley (Diamond code OCT158898*) will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, January 13th. The final order cutoff deadline for comic book retailers is Monday, December 21st.

*This cover is fully orderable.

DC Announces a Month of Batman/Superman Variant Covers

Move aside, Harley Quinn! The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel are taking over! Batman and Superman are gearing up to dominate DC Comics this March! And part of that is a new variant cover theme featuring DC’s two titans.

DC Entertainment has announced a month of variants with a theme of Batman/Superman, with a second round of opaque black polybags concealing stunning cover artwork by the comic industry’s most talented artists!

DC Entertainment’s ongoing monthly themed variant cover program will showcase variants for ten of DC Comics’ most popular Batman and Superman titles. All ten comics will have three black polybagged variants of equal quantity of pencils, inks and colored covers.

Batman #50 – Polybagged variant cover by Jim Lee
Detective Comics #50 – Polybagged variant cover by Rafael Grampa
Batgirl #50 – Polybagged variant cover by Kevin Nowlan
Grayson #18 – Polybagged variant cover by Stephen Platt
Robin: Son of Batman #10 – Polybagged variant cover by Ryan Ottley
Batman/Superman #30 – Polybagged variant cover by Tony Moore
Superman #50 – Polybagged variant cover by Kaare Andrews
Action Comics #50 – Polybagged variant cover by Martin Ansin
Superman/Wonder Woman #27 – Polybagged variant cover by Charlie Adlard
Wonder Woman #50 – Polybagged variant cover by Massimo Carnevale

March 2016 can’t come soon enough!

Review: The Walking Dead #148

Issue_148_Cover

“Clearly we are not ourselves”

Now we’re talking (or not) after last months grueling chatterfest, this one gets on with the plot development quite quickly. We open the issue on the hill with a surprise mexican standoff between Andrea, Lydia, and Carl. (praying Carl takes the bullet, but he doesn’t. Drat.) Tempers flare and simmer down fast when they explain to Lydia that they are just trying to protect her.

Meanwhile, Lydia’s über evil mom, Alpha is roaming the woods when a member of her pack spots her and tries to sympathize with her. (Bad move, dude) She kindly slits his throat for his troubles while choking back tears she’s lost her daughter. She informs her fellow whisperer that she’s not to be challenged and a plan is to be put in motion.

Back in Alexandria, Rick is trying to calm the mob but it all goes to Hell very fast. Turns out they don’t see sending Lydia off to protect her as an act of kindness but rather weakness. Rick tries desperately to get through to them in a diplomatic fashion but to no avail. A melee ensues and the townspeople are all at each other’s throats. Rick realizes he needs to restore order in his people and drastic times call for drastic measures…

Overall: This was the shot in the arm that was needed after last months filler issue. It moved so fast and was over before I could notice it. It left me wanted more, which is exactly what a comic should do. What else can be said? The art by Charlie Adlard was great as always. I think he’s the most consistent artist this side of Mark Bagley. The pacing was great as well. Finally that cliffhanger at the end left me speechless. I absolutely didn’t see it coming. Bravo Mr. Kirkman, bravo. I might just pay a visit to the survival store before the release of the next issue because a war is coming in these pages and I cannot wait. Till next month deadheads, remember it takes three for a mexican standoff and don’t go wandering into the woods…

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Story: 8  Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Walking Dead #147

TheWalkingDead147_Cover“The sins of the father’s son”

We open up this issue of the most epic zombie apocalypse of all time with.. a conversation. That’s right, Rick and Lo.. err Andrea, and Eugene are having a deadly serious conversation. Eugene is suggesting to Rick that they use Rick’s son Carl’s girlfriend Lydia in a set up for a retribution murder. (If that’s a thing)  Having being previously grief-stricken, Eugene is pleading his case to Rick. Unfortunately its falling on deaf ears. Rick doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Even though he can see Eugene’s point, he wants to use compassion for this situation.

Eugene gets wildly pissed and stands up fast in front of Rick and Andrea tells him to please leave. Rick is left to sit there with his love and she comes up with a plan. Andrea feels that Lydia is not safe in this house anymore and by extension neither is Carl. She suggests that Rick let her take both Carl and Lydia away until tempers cool over. Rick after mulling it over, reluctantly agrees.

Andrea goes in to wake up Carl and tell him the news. He asks her “Mom what’s going on?” (I’ll never get used to him calling Andrea mom) She informs him of the plan thusly and he agrees to follow. Shortly after we see an outside shot of the Grimes home and it’s Michonne with her cloak donned heading stealthily into the house and heading up the stairs. She gets to the top of the stairs, hand on her trusty katana and a gun is suddenly cocked at the back of her head. She turns around to see it’s Rick and she draws her blade. Just right about now things are about to pop, and we get… drumrolllllll.. another conversation! (Facepalm.. seriously.)

The rest of the issue pertains to a deep conversation between Rick and Michonne and then Andrea leading the kids on a long walk. Lots of talking and walking people. That’s what we are treated to here. I suppose every book needs filler sometime and there was an abundance of it here. Oh we also get what is supposed to be a shocking cliffhanger, but it just falls meh.

Overall: So this book was like reading a Brian Michael Bendis comic that contained a forward written by Woody Allen, so I wasn’t overly enthralled this month. The good point is the art by Charlie Adlard was near perfect. I hope he never leaves this book. His style is absolutely perfect for it. The black and white format is also one of my favorite parts of the book as it allows the reader to pay attention more to it’s contents. On the plus side, this does make me appreciate any episode of Fear the Walking Dead TV show more. Hopefully next month we will back to our regularly scheduled masochism, but we have Halloween and nightmares for that. See you on the hill next month deadheads…

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Story: 5.5 Art: 8 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Walking Dead #145

The Walking Dead #145 CoverOlivia. Josh. Tammy. Luke. Erin. Ken. Amber. Louie. Oscar. Rosita. Ezekiel. 12 men and women. That’s how many, and who, the Whisperers murdered in the last issue. 12 heads left on pikes as a boundary and warning for Rick and his communities to keep their distance.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a storm in the series, and you could tell the calm was building to something. This seems to tbe the pattern that writer Robert Kirkman follows when plotting the series. Last issue was that and The Walking Dead #145 picks up with the emotional turmoil, and just some of the fall-out.

Some of what we see is immediate, Michonne for instance is immediately impacted by the fact Ezekiel has been murdered, and it’s an interesting interaction between her and Rick. Her challenging Rick’s decision is really the key of what this is all about. Hilltop and the surrounding communities have found peace under the leadership of Rick and Maggie. This looks to challenge not just the peace, but also that very leadership. Would Rick have acted differently if it were his son or someone else closer to him? How long will it be before Rick tells the group about all of the walkers that the Whisperers have rounded up? We’re getting to see Rick’s leadership and decision making really be put to the test.

The art is as solid as usual. The fact that Charlie Adlard‘s work is in black and white, the pressure is really on for Stefano Gaudiano who inks, and Cliff Rathburn who provides the gray tones. For me, Adlards black and white art enhances the emotion and mood. The reaction through movement or the looks on faces become that much more important and vital without color to get in the way. Here, you feel the sadness, anger, and worry ooze off the page. Adlard has been beyond consistent in his work on the series.

For long time readers, we’re seeing the real beginning of the next big event to shake up The Walking Dead world. While the teaser text says “blood for blood,” this issue is more tears for blood…. so far.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, Cliff Rathburn
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Review: Curse Of The Wendigo #2

curse of the wendigo 2 coverThe Curse Of The Wendigo #2 is the second part in a two comic story set during July 1917. There is something hunting the French and German forces, something mutilating and killing their soldiers. Although the armies are trying to kill each other, this unknown horror has driven them together under a common threat that needs to be dealt with before the two forces can go back to civilized business of killing each other.

What threat could possibly drive the French and German armies to postpone their hostilities in order t combat? Well if you’ve read the title of the comic, or issue #1, then you probably have a very good idea of what that threat will be. Curse Of The Wendigo does an excellent job of touching on the tensions between the two nations, never throwing it directly into your face and yet never understating what would be a far from easy relationship between opposing armies. This is exacerbated in many ways by the threat facing the hand picked team that combines soldiers from each side, and Wohtai, one of 12,000 Native America soldiers active in the First World War, and the only man who knows what it is they must defeat together before normal hostilities return. A man who has been tasked by his tribe to put an end to the threat half way across the world.

Matthieu Missoffe’s writing continues to impress, and the final chapter of this story surpasses that of the opening chapter; the conclusion is bloody, brutal, and yet utterly perfect. If you’re familiar with the talents of Charlie Adlard, and his work from The Walking Dead, then you should know what to expect with the second issue. It’s very solid, and he has a unique ability to convey the horrific situation the French and German soldiers find themselves in without confusing the readers eye, while acknowledging the toll that the land and populace suffered during World War One; what accentuates Charlie Adlard’s artwork is the brilliant Aurore Folny‘s work on adding jut the right amount of colour to the pages of this comic. 

As the first full story that I’ve read from Delcourt, Curse Of The Wendigo is an excellent introduction to the publisher’s comic books; and the continuing publication of Delcourt‘s English language translations through ComiXology is introducing comic book readers in North America to some wonderful stories that up until now were only available in French. Look out for the two part Curse Of The Wendigo; it’s fantastic.

Story: Matthieu Missoffe Art: Charlie Adlard Colours: Aurore Folny
Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9
Recommendation: Buy

Delcourt and comiXology provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review

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