Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: The Walking Dead 82

Non Spoiler Review:
The No Way Out storyline hits its stride this month, as the massive horde of walkers spill into the community, creating chaos. While Abraham and crew attempt to quell the tide, townspeople take refuge in their homes, where the personal stresses inside Alexandria blow up.

This month was fantastic, returning the heightened tension and disturbing elements slowly simmering these past many months. After all this build up, it's disheartening to watch what must be the end of this refuge, the fracturing of so many of the relationships that have been developing, and questions as to the composition of this new band of survivors.

This was a dense, plot-heavy read, with lots of elements advanced, including a revealing conversation between Morgan and Carl, a meltdown with Glenn, and Rick's attempt to manage the untenable situation. All great stuff that was over too quickly, leaving me in anxious anticipation to see what happens next.

Spoilers Now!
All hell breaks loose. Morgan's not dead (yet) and Michonne arrives on the scene and Rick tells her to get rid of his arm before the infection spreads, so she slices it off just like that. A shocked Morgan is hurried back to the house with Rick and Michonne as Abraham and crew arrive to take over the defence of the fast failing walls.

Andrea, Glenn, Spencer and Heath watch from the roof as the walkers swarm into the community, at a loss for what they can do. Glenn suddenly has a complete panic attack, ranting that he has a feeling this is where he dies. Then Spencer suggests on the sly to Andrea that they (she and him) just leave everyone and go off on their own. He gets a punch in the face for that, and she assures him there is no she and him.

Rick has the doctor at his house and it looks like Morgan might make it, but he does have a fever, which could mean he's infected. So Rick lets Carl keep an eye on him while the rest wait downstairs, securing the house. Maggie arrives with the kids, saying everyone's stuck inside their homes.

The battle is ultimately lost and Abraham and Rosita give up and run off home, as well. Douglas watches in despair from his window as the undead move through his community, lamenting his failures and dead wife (again). And cowardly Gabriel waits a bit before being convinced to let some people take refuge in his church (which is better than what he did during the initial outbreak, I guess). And through the night what does Rick do? Cuddle with Jessie, and wakes up the next morning like nothing is happening and saying how much he likes having her there.

Michonne apparently feels more for Morgan than she let on, as she's not impressed Carl is waiting for him to turn. But Morgan tells Carl he saw him kill Ben, and that's okay. And before he dies he wants to tell him he's sorry he'll never learn the things in life that they all had the chance to—like school, and how to deal with people, and becoming your own person. But by the end he's thinking it's his own son Duane he's talking to. Until sensitive Carl advises him that Duane is dead, and Morgan breaks down.

Rick is starting to think they should make a break for it while the horde is still relatively thin. When others protest, he says they can try to figure out how to help everyone after they're out. But Jessie reminds him there are families and children they can't just leave behind. Rick tells her to keep one thing in mind—"They're not our children." And we get a crazy Rick face.

The Verdict:
Stuff has been moving at such a leisurely pace, when it all goes south it's a bit of a shock to the system. Abraham's crew fighting their losing battle with the walkers was juxtaposed nicely with the emotional breakdowns happening left and right—Michonne slicing off Morgan's arm, and his later talk with Carl, with Glenn's enormously out of character meltdown and Spencer's likability factor thrown out the window. A lot to take in all at once, but it certainly made for a wild ride of great character moments.

There was a nice bit played out with the reaction elicited by Spencer's easy suggestion of betraying everyone, then having Rick say pretty much the same thing at the end. Once again we get a final, crazy Rick panel. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise given how Jessie's presence is slowly changing him (for the worse). Why use his Lori phone when he's got a Lori surrogate now? And leaving Carl to stand watch over Morgan was seriously creepy.

My only critique continues to be some of the artwork. I assume that was Eugene trying to get into the church, but it's tough to see given he's in just one panel. I'm always confusing some of Alexandria's plethora of minor characters, too. But then, I imagine there's going to be far less to worry about in the next few issues.

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