Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Publisher: Image Comics
The Walking Dead #28 provides a jarring shift in nearly everything that makes the series what it is. And that's a good thing.
For the better part of three years' worth of issues, Rick, Lori, Glenn, the professor, Mary Ann, etc. have lived in constant danger from the zombie-plagued world they are forced to survive in. But despite the perpetual fear that just one bite could make them something far less than human, the characters (and the title itself) slowly slipped into a tenuous comfort zone of late. A "status quo," if you will. Good for the story's heroes, but not for the story itself.
That all changes here.
After witnessing a helicopter crash a few miles from the prison they call home, Rick, Glenn, and Michonne quickly learn that rather than being saved by what they find, they will be put to their most difficult test yet. Issue #28 deals with the new "civilization" they encounter. In a dramatic departure from the usual hop-scotching around from character to character to character, writer Robert Kirkman instead brings a narrower focus to just these three, as well as introducing some frightening new ones who offer tantalizing clues about what occurred immediately following the plague and reveal the lengths they're willing to go to for entertainment. In The Walking Dead, the villains aren't the zombies. The villains live within each and every survivor. TWD is a tale of the temerity of human nature and the fragility of the human mind.
Charlie Adlard, the artist who took over for Tony Moore just six months into the series, improves with each and every issue. The grayscale artwork is cleaner and more expressive than it has ever been, but no less vicious or gory. Gone is any confusion over which character is which. More than one heart-stopper is delivered with a turn of the page, and every emotion is hammered home with perfection: Glenn's terror, Michonne's fearlessness, and the governor's arrogance.
The Walking Dead #28 is completely unlike any other issue of the series, and that's what makes it so great. I am literally afraid for the characters, and anytime a reader feels that strongly you know the writer is doing something right. Things have never been worse for the survivors, and things have never been better for readers of The Walking Dead.
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