No Way Out concludes with an all or nothing battle for Alexandria. If you've been craving an old-fashioned hack and slash zombie fight, issue 84 does not disappoint.
There's very little to top last month's cliffhanger for shock value. While Carl is taken out of the equation, the focus is now on the ultimate fate of Alexandria and brings pretty much every character out to decide to fight or flee. The result (as is usually the case at the end of these big storylines) leaves everything at a fork in the road with the promise of a new beginning.
Rick brings Carl to Dr. Denise who isn't sure what she can do to save him. Rick tells her to try and heads back out to keep back the onslaught. What follows is pretty simple—the commotion that Rick, Michonne and company create in slashing their way through the walkers alerts others to come out and make a last stand—Eugene, Gabriel, Abraham, Rosita—every main character who had taken refuge.
Andrea and Glen have been attempting to lead walkers away from the walls only to hear the renewed gunfire. They witness the assault happening inside and make their way back.
Finally, the townsfolk succeed in turning the tide. Despite the bloody attack, no one else seems to have died (one can only guess about all the background townspeople who must still be huddled up inside their houses). Rick goes to see to Carl while Abraham and his crew provide cleanup. Andrea and Glen return in shock that everyone managed to persevere.
Finally we see Rick giving a long speech about how he was wrong to try to flee again. They should have made the stand early, and fought to preserve what they have. He realizes they can make it all work and lists off a stream of ideas coming to him about raising an army, restructuring the walls and providing an ultimately secure haven for them all.
He's sitting by Carl's bedside, who is bandaged up and unconscious. The storyline ends with Rick asking his son to live so he can give him hope.
I'm impressed at the ending. If not for Carl's fate, the storyline wraps up on a very hopeful note, so it could all go south next month. Is Rick just having a crazy messianic vision, or can he seriously pull off the leadership required to do the things he wants?
I guess I could quibble about the number of walkers that were in the town to start with. We never really got too grand a scene showing the horde, so the idea that Rick and crew can kill 10 a piece and manage to turn the tide is a conceit I'm willing to accept.
I'm surprised it wasn't a bloodbath. There was a lot of redemption here for characters, especially Gabriel and Eugene. Everyone threw in to save the town, and the victory belongs to everyone (except the other townsfolk who stayed indoors, I guess).
Finally, what to say about Carl? His fate is up in the air. But at minimum he's blinded and maimed. Poor little guy.