Friday, January 7, 2011

Review: The Walking Dead 80

Non Spoiler Review:
Issue 80 kicks off the No Way Out storyline, and events hit the ground running as the community assembles to deal with the herd of walkers swarming around the walls.

Orders and duties are quickly dealt out as the snow falls and a worried bunch of townspeople fret about food running out and a long, cold winter trapped inside. In the midst of this crisis, several relationships are put under stress.

Now Way Out looks to be a tense and thrilling storyline, and this issue's first instalment did well in introducing future areas of conflict. The long simmering plotlines with this community are about to pay off. 

Spoilers Now!
Abraham's crew barely gets inside the gate in time, but one of their team, Bruce, is bitten. Abraham kills him in front of everyone, including Holly (who Abraham had rescued from being abandoned to die several issues earlier). They realize that was the only option, but she and Abraham share a moment that clearly shows they've been carrying on some sort of relationship behind Rosita's back.

Rick holds an assembly and outlines some very logical rules for the days ahead. While they figure out a way to draw away the herd, they'll set about rationing food (which should last well over a month), regular patrols day and night, doubling up the accommodations, and securing the walls. In addition, the armory is opened up and guns will be distributed. 

The rest of the issue is spent looking at the various characters dealing with the threat from outside. Rosita knows nothing of Abraham's dalliances with Holly, as the two of them go out on their patrol together. Morgan comes calling on Michonne again, who is reluctantly taking her sword off the wall for the coming long season. Douglas' emotional breakdown continues, lamenting how his bad decisions have brought the community to jeopardy.

But Rick's personal life takes a bit of an interesting turn when Jessie (Pete's widow) and son Ron show up on his doorstep and suggest they move in for a bit given how scared they are. Rick gives Carl back his gun, who is happy to have it back.

It's quite obvious that Jessie has fixated on Rick as fresh meat—moving in, chatting him up by calling him a hero for protecting their group—and by the end of the issue she shows up in his bedroom asking to stay the night.

What Worked:
A great start to the storyline, and we see the characters coming to terms with what could be a winter-long siege and, as always, the level-headed discussions that the group have in facing this threat. So many relationship subplots are in the works, it's going to be interesting to see what springs from Michonne/Morgan, Douglas, Ron/Carl, and Holly/Abraham, never mind Jessie/Rick. Jessie's infatuation with Rick just can't end well. The man killed her husband and now she worships him.

Carl had some great moments both with Rick and Pete's son, Ron. He's been uncomfortable in the relatively tame environment of the community, and now that they are under threat again, he feels more at ease and can deal with it. When Ron comes into Carls' room in the night, there's a tense scene where Ron tells him Carl's dad killed his dad. Carl replies that his father has killed a lot of people, and so has he, which shuts Ron down. Why does Rick get to be a hero, and Ron's dad a bad guy? That's just how things are, Carl replies.

Andrea is stuck in the church tower, as well, but safe for the moment, so her situation is going to present its own unique set of problems.

Rick and his group have now achieved complete power in the community, which is an interesting result given the threat that Rick would be taking over by force some issues back. But Douglas is a wild card, and it's entirely possible he's going to go completely crazy.

What Didn't Work:
The mass of characters to deal with has allowed Abraham and Rosita very little focus for quite awhile now, so his cheating on her loses a lot of impact had the pair of them been at the forefront all this time.

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