Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn (colors)
Publisher: Image Comics
Story: After torturing the Governor (and the reader by extension) with one sadistic act of revenge after another, Michonne catches up with Rick, Glenn, Alice and Martinez after escaping Woodbury, and they all meet at the crashed helicopter site where the horror began. Michonne seems unresponsive to inquiries regarding the Governor's fate but she recovers in time to help the others fend off a massive zombie attack in the woods.
Comments: I was beginning to think that The Walking Dead was beginning to lose some of its bite (pardon the pun). Last issue was simply horrible. The entire comic was one prolonged torture session as Michonne eschewed an opportunity to escape the town of Woodbury along with Glenn, Rick and Martinez in order to exact her revenge against the Governor. I realize that this showdown was long overdue, especially when you consider the horrors the Governor perpetrated on Michonne. However, Kirkman beats the reader over the head with this and instead of furthering characterization, he turned in a lousy story. It was the first time I felt ripped off by this comic.
Fortunately, things get back to basics, and this issue is a big improvement over the last one. Michonne is still understandably shaken by the ordeal, but she is still the strongest most kick ass female character we have seen in a long time in comics. Her stoicism and strength have always made her an appealing character, and these characteristics are in full display again after the group gets surprised by "biters" in the woods and has to fight an army of them to get out alive.
Before that, Kirkman goes back to one of the book's strengths by developing Martinez' backstory. It turns out he was a gym teacher and his details of what life was like in the "havens" which government officials designated as safe places provide a poignant backdrop to the ensuing zombie ambush. Speaking of which, the zombie attack is full of drama and action as the characters fight for their lives and rush to jump into a car to escape the onslaught. Rick and the others decide to try and drive back to the prison but upon making it back they are greeted by a huge surprise. The comic ends with a fantastic cliffhanger.
As a special treat, Kirkman and Image throw in a Christmas story featuring Morgan and Duane, characters which date all the way back to issue #1. Though the letters page apologizes for delivering a Christmas themed story in January, the tale is vintage TWD as the desperation of living in a zombie infested world are palpable and rich with human pathos. Charlie Adlard and the rest of the art team manage to shine in the back story where the characters' facial expressions reveal volumes and reiterate the thematic refrain in this comic: How much we often take for granted the little things.
Final Word: After a less than stellar effort last month, The Walking Dead returns with a strong rebound issue. Despite the fact the cover by Adlard and Rathburn is a bit misleading, this was a fun read which is what I have come to expect from this title. I also appreciate the fact Rathburn is turning some very cool back covers instead of giving us another advertisement. A reader in the letters column says that The Walking Dead is treating some of the reoccuring characters as sacred cows, immune to death and tragedy. This issue proves that may not be the case.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!