The Walking Dead #126 concluded the All Out War story arc, and with it the bi-monthly release schedule. It feels like just yesterday Rick and company rallied the troops and headed over to Negan’s Saviors and demanded change and surrender or face battle. They demanded he step down as leader and cooperate for a new beginning and a fresher start for all the communities involved. Rick’s plan worked from the moment this arc started and, although it may not have ended with zero casualties or injuries, Rick’s side won and we can only wonder where the story goes from this point forward.
We continue the issue from the moment the last one ended and Negan in a state of shock from Rick slicing into his neck. Negan still has enough strength to fight back and he gets into one final scuffle with Rick. The issue was so carefully laid out that every page turn had me wondering if I would find Rick with a knife through his chest or a bullet through his head. I know that sounds pessimistic and cynical, but let’s face it, you all were thinking the same thing. We all worry about Rick and Carl’s limited time in the undead world and when a monumental arc, such as All Out War, is ending it is ripe with major character deaths.
Negan finally succumbs to the loss of blood and faints beside Rick, but not before the cringe-worthy panel where we see him break his leg. As the two fearless leaders lay still in the midst of chaos, Dwight takes possession of Lucille, the barbed wire wrapped bat that defined Negan as the head of The Saviors (besides his leather jacket and the myriad ways he drops the F-bomb). Dwight, now the de facto leader of The Saviors, instructs everyone to lay down arms and declares the war over. As the doc races to save Rick’s leg, Rick instructs him to save Negan’s life. I’ll admit I thought Rick wanted Negan alive only to hand him over to Maggie for execution. I figured Maggie deserved at least that much for the gruesome and horrific way Negan killed Glenn. The issue ends with Rick preventing Carl from killing Negan, explaining that it’s going to be a different world from here on out. they don’t have to worry about Negan, or his tyrannical ways, anymore.
I enjoyed the issue and thought it was the perfect end of the twelve chapter arc. I did not predict both Rick and Negan surviving this long and I believe that is what Kirkman wanted. He has been teasing for a while now that nothing will be the same after All Out War wraps up, but I guess we have to wait until issue 127 to understand what he means. I can see Negan and Rick working together to take out future foes and villains, which would make for some great story-telling.
Another good thing that came out of the past twelve issues is the amazing art by Charlie Adlard. You would think with the fast paced schedule that the art would be lacking somewhat in quality near the finish line, but #126 proves what a stellar artist Adlard continues to be. For an added bonus, Stefano Guadiano will be doing inks from now on when we originally thought he was just on for All Out War. The quality of The Walking Dead will continue to be incredible as a result and I am really excited for next month’s issue (I’m already bummed out that I don’t get to write “in two weeks”).
For over ten years and 126 masterfully written issues we have watched Rick and Carl survive and overcome the most difficult of obstacles. We have trusted Robert Kirkman to deliver, every month, another installment of our favorite post-apocalyptic survivor’s journey through their undead world. The quote at the top is what Michonne says to Rick after he addresses everyone about the future he plans for their communities. I think Kirkman put this line in there as an easter egg for the fans who doubted where the comic was headed during this arc. A lot of fans think the TV show counter-part has caused the quality of the comic book to diminish. I am sure there will be plenty of people who think All Out War was not as great as it should be, however, like I said we have trusted Kirkman with this story for so long, why would we doubt what he is doing now? I love how this arc ended and look forward to Rick and Carl’s future, but I am concerned about how many more body parts they can afford to get injured.
Thoughts and Discussion
– Where will Rick or Dwight hold Negan? This story line begs to have him escape or, at the very least, have Negan assist to fight with them in the future. Either way, I don’t think this is last we will see of Negan.
– “What Comes Next” – Rick says this in his ‘state of the community’ address to the different factions. I predict this is the title of the next arc, but what does come next? Another community with a villain for a leader? Will the walkers become an increasing threat? Will we learn more about the virus and possible government organizations?
Thank you for checking out my Review! Please comment below to discuss the issue further!
Story: Robert Kirkman – Art: Charlie Adlard – Cover: Charlie Adlard/Dave Stewart – Ink: Stefano Gaudiano – Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn – Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy