Whilst the battles and terror are no doubt thrilling reading the intrigue and suspense between them is just as captivating. So much happens in this volume it is wonder there is space for it. Plot hooks and teasers pop up like a demented game of Whack-a-Mole with dozens of characters having emotional scenes now the bullets are no longer flying.
Negan has gone through a huge character arc and Kirkman was right to keep him around to reveal he was not just a despot of the week. One of the most admirable parts of this work is the complex way different characters are emotionally tied together. How the behaviours of one directly affects another, even if it takes months or years to yield a payoff. Whilst the dead are always present it’s nice to see the living have a moment to themselves.
This book reminds us what a living, breathing tale The Walking Dead is. We see another new character introduced, but one who is quirky, funny and definitely unique, and not just there to supply whatever skill is needed or joining the red-shirted cannon fodder. The settlements too don’t just have a status quo and aren’t run by perfect necessity but by bickering human beings. The characters are still exploring the world, meeting new people and being surprised.
The art is great. There are some exciting splash pages and eye-opening juxtapositions and plenty of creative angles. The black and white is a great choice and a hallmark of the book, doing so much for the tone. But when you need colour to reveal something about hair or clothing then you can’t show but have to tell with clunky dialogue. Thank goodness for the colour covers.
This is a superb volume that answers many questions and resolves a lot of sub plots and has you on the edge of your seat for the next one.
Double Thumbs Up!!