Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: The Walking Dead 96

Non Spoiler Review:
Rick deals with the fallout from his kill and gets filled in on the current situation that prompted Ethan to attempt to assassinate Gregory. Meanwhile, Andrea, Glen and Michonne seem to have different perspectives on the Hilltop and its denizens.

Part 4 offers up an explanation of the political situation and the introduction of a new and unknown threat. The last couple of issues have moved along briskly after quite a slow build up, but the storyline offers huge potential. 

Spoilers Now!
The townspeople are horrified Rick killed Ethan. Jesus needs a moment to explain the situation, but Rick won't put down his weapon as Kal and Eduardo rush up. Carson takes Gregory inside and Jesus gets Rick to stand down. He assures him he's not in trouble, but this kind of thing doesn't usually happen here.

Rick wants to know who Negan is, so Jesus explains he's head of a cultlike group called The Saviors, who showed up shortly after the Hilltop went up demanding half of all their supplies in exchange for keeping the area free of the dead. Gregory isn't good at confrontation, so agreed, but the arrangement has continued. Jesus defends Gregory's leadership, though there is no confirmation on the actual numbers of The Saviors.

Carl asks if they kill the bad guys would they share half of their food with them. Rick agrees with that, though he doubts they'd need half. Jesus considers the idea. Rick later walks over to the funeral for Ethan, but gets punched for interfering. Jesus defends him and takes him away, telling the others Ethan deserved to die.

In the morning, Glen is quite impressed with the Hilltop and sees it as full of opportunity. Andrea finds them to be very weak and pathetic. Michonne is terrified of them and sees Gregory as a cult leader.

Gregory is recovering, so asks to talk to Rick. Rick has little to contribute at the moment, aside from fighting, so offers to rid them of the Saviors in exchange for supplies. As a sign of good faith, Gregory stocks them up with supplies to get them through winter.

Jesus tells Rick he'll be there to help him when he goes after Negan. The crew heads back, and Rick observes there's a reason he's their leader, given the way he sees thing. After the different perspectives offered by Andrea and Michonne, he's seen the future in the Hilltop—a way to rebuild civilization and start living again.

The Verdict:
I'm curious to see how Kirkman takes this storyline with Negan. As I mentioned last issue, there's a danger of treading close to a Governor 2.0 with A Larger World. But all indications so far seem to imply this is more of a cult rather than a gang.

That theme is playing out everywhere—first with Jesus' introduction that seemed to indicate he was coming off as a cult like leader. Getting to the Hilltop, Michonne made the comment that she saw the inhabitants as blind followers too. Who's the real villain here? I imagine when we do get to see Negan he might not be what we suspect. And Jesus has become a far more benign character, and potential ally, than how he was first introduced.

After such a slow build up, Rick and Gregory's agreement was signed and sealed in a matter of a few panels, which leaves Rick to start investigating the Saviors further, I imagine. Rick sees the potential of the Hilltop and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the community reacts to the prospects of someplace else to seek refuge. Will people start to immigrate? And are there additional communities in the surrounding areas yet to be visited? A Larger World definitely has a lot to offer, and a real game-changer for the series.

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