By Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard
War is upon us. The lines have been drawn as Rick’s community, the Hilltop and the Kingdom stand against Negan and his Saviors. The Walking Dead has been a slow grind since Negan’s introduction that has been leading to this moment. Issue #115 is used to move all the pieces into play as one of the largest Walking Dead stories to date begins.
If you were expecting the first issue of All Out War to be filled with loads of action and…well, war, then you are going to be disappointed with this issue. Robert Kirkman uses this issue to move his armies into play so the bullets can fly presumably in the next issue.
The difference between this issue and some of the past ones is the very real sense of tension the reader gets. War is imminent and everybody knows it now, it’s just a matter of when. There are some strong “calm before the storm” moments, particularly with Ezekiel and Michonne, but others that fall flat due to some clunky dialogue. In one scene Rick’s words are “You can’t have war without…casualties.” Rick is a worn out soldier at this point who is questioning himself, but this felt much too melodramatic for him. On the plus side Negan continues to be written wonderfully and is the most interesting and complex villain the series has had to date.
Charlie Adlard rolls in a pretty average issue in the art department. Some of the facial expressions felt a bit stiff throughout the story and Rick’s body hair seemed to grow and shrink by the scene, especially the thickness of his beard. The second half of the book is much stronger, however, starting with an awesome splash page of Rick’s soldiers lined up for battle.
The Walking Dead #115 is pretty par for the course for the series. Not much of anything happens aside from people doing what they’ve been doing or planning to do for quite a few issues now. It’s not much more than a set-up issue, which is what the last five or six have felt like. What saves it is that the tension in the book is palpable because the war is imminent.