By Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, and Cliff Rathburn
The Walking Dead #141 is a great introspective issue with some game changing moments for the upcoming story arcs. This series is at its best when the zombies aren’t causing all of the chaos on the pages, and this issue is no exception. There’s a little for everyone in this issue, except zombie lovers, as there are even some Negan scenes because his cage was left unlocked (You had one job!) in issue 140. All in all this is another great issue that examines the psychological battles that the survivors of a zombie apocalypse could be exposed to.
This is a very verbose issue of The Walking Dead, but it is a great one for series writer Robert Kirkman. There is a great exploration of the politics of a post-apocalyptic world in an early conversation with Dwight where we see Rick explain the limits of his power. It’s interesting to see how much people in these three communities still expect of Rick. As the communities expand, Rick’s direct involvement in each has become less and less. This leads to the great final few panels of this issue where the diametric relationship between the Hilltop and Alexandria is shown in all its glory.
This issue also takes a very in-depth look at Rick’s personal feelings about himself, and the justifications he has for his actions. As horrible as Negan is, it seems he is very perceptive to Rick’s inner workings, almost explaining to Rick exactly why Rick has done everything he has to this point. Negan believes he and Rick aren’t so different, and based on the dialogue in this issue, they may not be.
It is also interesting to note how Rick has developed into a bit of an optimist. Rick’s increased optimism can only mean one thing; We are most likely heading towards another catastrophic moment that brings back realist, survival-mode Rick. In a series defined by huge up and down-swings, it’s not hard to forecast something bad happening, but it sure seems like with all the things occurring away from Rick’s gaze that they may soon culminate in a bad way on Rick’s doorstep.
Charlie, Stefano, and Cliff continue to do a great job illustrating The Walking Dead. Every time you turn a page and see a full-page or two page spread, you know you are going to see something special. Because of the aforementioned verbosity of this issue, the artists had a chance to craft some pretty great dialogue scenes which directed the reader perfectly and showed a fantastic use of angles and character blocking to effectively tell the story in an exciting way. Negan’s presence in the art is just as menacing as ever, even when he is just having a chat.
This is a deep issue which, because it is so focused on Alexandria, almost makes you forget about Carl being alone with a bunch of weirdos and Maggie almost being assassinated. It does a perfect job of showing you Rick’s perception of reality until dashing it all with the unexpected final few pages. Rick is going to be very surprised on his next trip to the Hilltop and I can’t wait to read what Kirkman and co. put together next!