Review: The Walking Dead #123

Walking-Dead-123-Cover“I don’t know…maybe I’m crazy…but I look out at the world before us…and I just don’t see how Negan ever defeats THIS.
– Rick to Andrea about the current state of The Hilltop

If that quote isn’t the best ominous warning I’ve ever heard I don’t know what is. I could hear Negan’s Busta Move truck coming before I turned the page. (does that make sense?) I think that was the quickest that I have ever read a comic book in my life. At least it felt that way. The team behind The Walking Dead know how to draw (no pun intended) us into their world and captivate readers with every issue and this one is a home-run. I’ve always thought that the best comic books are the ones that make you itch for the next issue. You can’t wait for the Trade because you need to know what happens in the story now; then you can buy the Trade anyway because the story is so great. That is what an awesome comic is. That is what a comic book should be; and that is why The Walking Dead is a lot of comic book fan’s favorite. By the way SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ISSUE #123

The Walking Dead #123 continues the ‘All Out War’ story arc and the continued struggle of Rick and the gang’s search for peace and conformity in the zombie ravaged world. But just as Kirkman has been telling us from the start, it’s not the undead we need to be careful of so much as it is the living. Those words have never been so true.

We start a little bit after where we left off last issue with Negan instructing his forces to cover their weapons with walker pus and scrapings to add a little extra bite (that time the pun was intended) to their strikes. Negan has brought his forces out near The Hilltop for an imminent attack and marches before them like General Patton. Dwight is on the first page giving Negan a look and this part of the story is where I think The Walking Dead has done an incredible job. To be able to add such an air of mystery around a comic book character is such a difficult thing to do. However, with Adlard’s drawing, Rathburn’s grey tones and Gaudiano inking each issue of ‘All Out War’ we are treated to such a tour de force in story-telling. Take for example Dwight on Page 1, Panel 3; you can almost sense what he is thinking without a word being written and feel his hatred for Negan oozing through the page. I love the arc surrounding Dwight and the ‘Is he good/Is he bad’ treatment thats been building up. Not to mention the teases that Kirkman and Mackiewicz give us in each installment of Letter Hacks (another great reason to buy single-issues).

Just as Rick feels complacent at The Hilltop, Negan and his forces attack the compound and chaos ensues. Rick, Aaron, and Nicholas band together taking out Survivors when Negan and Dwight catch them off-guard. Dwight is told to take Rick out with his virus-tainted crossbow and its in this moment that we as readers need to decide what Dwight’s endgame really is. What follows is too spoilery for this review but you will not be disappointed in picking up this issue.

The issue is one of my favorites of the series and definitely my favorite of this arc. Eugene will soon be brought into the mix and Andrea and Carl have something cooking that I think is going to be the series altering event that Kirkman has been hinting at. The story is outstanding and Kirkman delivers on so many levels. Adlard is on top of his game and with Gaudiano and Rathburn you can’t help but stare in awe at each page. The splash page in the middle was one of their best and included most of our favorite characters. With 3 issues left in ‘All Out War’ you can’t help but wonder what Kirkman has hidden up his sleeve. March 26th can’t get here soon enough.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Cover: Charlie Adlard/Cliff Rathburn
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy