By: Sean McLaughlin
As eagerly anticipated as any issue since the epic #100, The Walking Dead #110 hits comic shop shelves on Wednesday May 8th. Why is it eagerly anticipated? The reason, of course, is new boss on the block, Negan. With Rick’s plan of launching a preemptive strike against the Saviors now in its infant stages, only a select few (Eugene, Michonne, etc.) are privy to the ultra-secret mission. Will this finally be the issue that writer Robert Kirkman delivers on all of the buildup, and will the plotlines that he began all of those months ago with the “Something To Fear” story arc come full circle?
Jesus has his hands full in wrapping up the big cliffhanger from the end of issue 109, which he does with expert poise and a cool hand. He seemingly made a big mistake in trusting Kal with the war plans, and his Hilltop buddy made a run for it to break the news to Negan. While this may insinuate dissension amongst Rick’s allies, this issue does a splendid job of portraying the fear that all of Negan’s subjects live with every day. There’s a close call involving the Saviors, but for the most part the revolution lives for one more day.
Meanwhile, Rick has taken a small group of his closest confidants on a “supply run”, which is actually a trip to the secret weapon against their oppressor, The Kingdom. The Kingdom is led by the enigmatic Ezekiel, a man who acts the part of a king while patrolling a live tiger around on a chain. Back in Issue 108, we were introduced to this man and immediately felt that he could be the key to winning the war against the Saviors. The problem is…..Issue 110 does almost nothing to build upon his mythical strength, but much to knock it down a few pegs. As he has grown accustomed in the last few months, Kirkman delivers an emotional and barrier-blasting scene that is meant to connect us to the characters about to risk their lives. This time around Ezekiel and Michonne, although seemingly at odds from the start, share a moment that could cement their friendship…..or perhaps further their veil of deception and manufactured vulnerability. Ours is not to wonder why…..at least until the next issue.
As has been the norm since last summer, multiple sub-plots are started, and ended, within just a few pages. This installment promised much in the way of sparking the conflict early, but delivered on very little except a deeper look into The Kingdom’s subjects and Rick’s blind trust in these strangers who may, or may not, hold the key to their freedom from Negan. There are two big things that issue 110 is lacking: Negan and zombies. That’s right…..not a single zombie encounter (not counting a quick Jesus spear save). But Robert Kirkman is an amazing writer, and when character development is his main focus then the zombies can play second-fiddle. Where’s the payoff? Now that our heroes are in The Kingdom, we may not know for a while. Perhaps there’s more to Ezekiel than meets the eye; actually, there better be more to him than we know. Let’s not forget the track record of those who have become emotionally involved with Michonne (Tyreese, Morgan, etc.).
Continuing the reign of impeccability, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn and Rus Wooton once again provide eye-catching visuals and storyboard perfection. Much like the greatness of the series itself, some things with The Walking Dead may never change (fans of Tony Moore may disagree).
Readers of The Walking Dead have become used to an anticipated climax taking some time to materialize, but Kirkman always makes sure that we are entertained every step of the way. Negan is still out there, and right now it’s unclear whether Rick’s battle will be with him or with uneasy ally Ezekiel. The answer, hopefully, is coming soon.