The penultimate issue of the current story arc for The Walking Dead, All Out War, is also #125, a milestone in the comic book industry. When books reach a milestone readers can expect something ‘big’ to happen to one or more of the main characters. Robert Kirkman has been teasing the past few months that nothing will be the same after this arc concludes and I, for one, was worried it spelled the demise of our most beloved sheriff of the zombie apocalypse, Rick Grimes. The last issue had me trembling before each page, thinking that Rick was too damaged from Dwight’s bolt to continue fighting and survive. Not only did Rick make it into the house, but we learn Dwight did not taint the bolt meant for Rick; Dwight shot someone else with the one tainted arrow he had first. The Walking Dead #125 continues the heart-wrenching story of this grizzly war and Kirkman was right…nothing will be the same when it’s over.
Zombies, walkers, the walking dead. That is what citizens of the Hilltop would normally be accustomed to seeing if they peered over the security walls surrounding their village. Zombies they could handle; they have been battling them since the outbreak began years ago. Now, their vista has been transformed to include the clan that wants nothing more than to see them all enslaved, The Saviors. Negan, the sociopathic tyrannical leader of The Saviors, has been camped just outside their walls since the last battle. Him and his followers have been waiting for someone within to exit the Hilltop and surrender, thinking that because Rick is either dead or dying that they would lack the motivation or expert leadership to continue fighting.
While Negan was outside the walls, Rick was within and his mentality and health are the main feature of issue #125. I was half-expecting him to be lying in a hospital bed, but being a fan of the fearless leader I should have know better than to think he would go down without a fight. For someone who just had an arrow penetrate his abdomen, Rick is up and about and moving with such purpose that it felt like the series had already begun a fresh start with each turn of the page. Now that Rick is positive whose side Dwight is on, he quickly formulates a plan to confront Negan and finally put an end to all the death and destruction All Out War has caused. He acts like a general commanding his forces to take up siege positions and goes out to seek Negan one-on-one. Dubious that Rick is still alive and/or well, Negan figures out that Dwight has deceived him. Their confrontation appeared perfect in an issue with only one left in the arc and I actually believed that The Survivors and The Saviors would work as one with the final issue heralding in the new era Kirkman has been speaking about. Being a fan of Kirkman and The Walking Dead should have taught me better than to think like that. The final page was a perfect ending to 125 issues of comic book greatness.
The Walking Dead #125 is one of my favorite issues of the series. Charlie Adlard is phenomenal the way he makes us really feel for Nicholas’s family heartache. We also get two full page pieces by Adlard; one of Negan and one of Negan and Rick at the end. I love stories where the good guys get mean and dirty in order to achieve their goals. This issue reminded me of the Rick Grimes that had to deal with the Governor long ago. The Rick Grimes that had to take care of The Hunters in such a gruesome fashion. The Rick Grimes that had to rip a man’s throat out with his teeth to save Carl. That is the man I think we have been missing since Negan entered the story. This issue ties everything together nicely and prepares us for the final issue in the story-altering arc. The only thing that remains to be seen is how the event of the final page affects our survivors moving forward. I’m just glad that our old sheriff is back and in fighting form.
Thoughts and Discussion
- Did Rick tell anyone else his plan before going out to meet Negan?
- Does anyone else think that Rick is in a vulnerable position after what happened? Will he be able to get away in time?
- Where do they go from here? What will happen next? Kirkman promised us ‘nothing will be the same after issue #126…what did he mean?
Until Next Time…Thanks for checking out my Review!
Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Cover: Charlie Adlard/Dave Stewart
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy