Series: The Walking Dead
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciller: Charlie Adlard
Cover: Charlie Adlard
Fans of the AMC television series The Walking Dead often complain about the long break between seasons – I know I have – but if you’ve been missing your Rick fix since the end of Season 4, now might just be a good time for you to get a taste of possible things to come. Having just finished a major story arc, TWD creator Robert Kirkman and his fine team of inkers, letterers etc. have moved their characters, old and new, familiar and not, into a new story arc ripe for the joining. If you’ve been wondering what this whole comic book fad thing is, now might be a good time to take the plunge. Click through for my review of this “New Beginning.”
<<Spoiler Alert: This review of The Walking Dead Issue #127 will include spoilers from the current issue, but more importantly, will refer to recent events in the comic book series, and thus should be avoided by those intending to read back issues.>>
Following the twelve-book story arc of “All-Out War” that took place in issues #114-125, Kirkman promised readers that he would be branching off into new directions with Issue #127, going so far as to subtitle the new arc “A New Beginning.” Readers were treated to a much larger volume of work than usual, as Kirkman and co. endeavored to put out a new book every two weeks – and succeeded. Back now to a monthly timeline (although Kirkman suggests a need to go back to the two week format in this issue’s “Letter Hacks,” a section at the end of the book where he and series editor Sean Mackiewicz respond to fan letters), TWD starts out this new arc with a special deluxe edition, twice as large as a normal issue, coming in at 44 pages. It’s also set a full two years after the events of “All Out War,” but from the looks of things so far, most (if not all) of the characters we were left with in Issue #126 are still with us. Many of the series’s favorites are back, with stalwarts such as Rick, Carl, Andrea, Jesus, and Eugene all showing up, along with less central, yet still popular, characters such as Rosita and Aaron making appearances. There’s also a nice cameo right at the end of the issue, which I’ll leave you to discover on your own.
Life in Alexandria, and presumably at Hilltop and the Kingdom, has settled into something of a routine. Jesus, Eugene, and a few others are moving a herd of walkers between their settlements, sending them off into uninhabited pastures, when they literally run into Magna and her group of survivors. One of her group doesn’t make it, but she and four others do, being taken by Jesus to Alexandria to meet Rick. Will they be accepted into the group? Or will they be forced to leave?
Two years on from his confrontation with Negan, Rick is looking older and worse for wear. He uses a cane now all of the time, and along with his Grizzly-Adams vintage beard, he looks like he needs a good, long rest. Andrea is now living with him, and Carl is notable older – two years at his age is a huge difference. One of the minor arcs in this issue deals with Carl’s desire to head off on his own, to gain more independence from his father.
Some characters are notable for their absences. Maggie is mentioned as still being the leader of Hilltop, although she isn’t seen in this issue. We don’t see any Ezekial, although Eugene clearly refers to the Kingdom after herding walkers. And most concerning of all – no Michonne. Granted, she may be with Ezekial in the Kingdom, but it would have been nice to catch up with her character as well.
If you haven’t been following The Walking Dead outside of the television show, now might be a good time to start reading the comic. And if you like it? There are large 48 issue compendiums, as well as trade paperback collections of six issues at a time in one binding. You should have no problem catching up if you so choose.
Steve’s Grade: A-
A new beginning to TWD means that fans of the TV series now have an excellent place to join; the tensions that kept readers running through the “All-Out War” arc have yet to be fully dissipated, and should lead to an excellent fifth season starting next October.