By: Sean McLaughlin
When reading through The Walking Dead issue 125 (out now), two things immediately struck me as a fan of both the comic and the show. The first had to do with a very important, impassioned speech delivered by one of the main characters. The other was the incredible ending, which left us readers with such a massive cliffhanger that words simply cannot do it justice. With my review, however, I will give it a shot.
Every 25 issues Robert Kirkman likes to give the TWD fans something “major” to chew on until the next issue is mercifully bestowed upon us. The latest example was glorious issue #100, where Negan used Lucille to inflict quite the unceremonious going-away party upon Glenn’s head. So while the “All Out War” storyline isn’t scheduled to end until issue 126, we all had an idea that Kirkman was going to pull something major out of his bag of tricks. Would it be introduction of new, important characters? The brutal death of a major player? We just didn’t know. What we got, luckily, was an issue so filled with anticipation and the welcome feeling of ominous foreshadowing that I my heart was in the back of my throat all the way up until the last page. And then that last page……yikes. Like I said, at the very least we don’t have to wait six months to find out what happens next like the television show is forcing us to do (with the group locked in the train car at Terminus); in Mr. Kirkman’s world, two weeks are enough to discover whether the shocking act committed, seemingly out of nowhere, at the end of #125 was a dream or the beginning of a new reality. We were warned that All Out War would bring monumental changes to the TWD universe, and by the looks of it that is exactly what we’re getting.
The characters in this issue, which is lengthier than the last few, do show their toughness in the face of adversity. Eugene continues his trend towards a trustworthy warrior, escaping Negan’s clutches yet again and returning to the Hilltop to fight. Michonne, Andrea, Jesus, Ezekiel and Maggie are loyal (to a fault?), but a regression in the relationship between Rick and Carl seems to be brewing as well. Negan and his Saviors are as stubborn, but that leads us to the climactic speech where an impassioned Rick pleads for something from his enemies which seems to jibe directly with what we’ve learned during this war. Is he serious, or is it a ploy? This scene is reminiscent of the plea that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) issues to the Governor and his group during the season four mid-season finale, right before the assault on the prison. Is this coincidental? It’s impossible to know, of course, but it can be worth noting that the show has been sticking a bit more faithfully to the comic as of late. Kirkman, in turn, has also borrowed a device or two from the show to put into print. Art imitating art….beautiful.
Issue 125 of The Walking Dead will end up being one of the most pivotal and important in the comic’s entire run. Just be patient, and see it through to the end. I guarantee you, making it through to the end won’t be a problem. We will have to see how AOW’s final issue, number 126, opens in order to fully grasp the last few frames of 125. But Robert Kirkman promised a “changed” landscape for TWD, one that we may not like or agree with. Call him what you will, but the man is certainly not a liar.