July 22nd, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Graphic Novels & Comics |
The actor, Willem Dafoe, was once asked whether he preferred playing good guys or bad guys. He responded: ‘Good guys, bad guys – it doesn’t matter. Everybody thinks they’re righteous’. Playing Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ obviously paid off; this sage like advice should be the cornerstone of the story-telling Bible. Robert Kirkman employs this philosophy pretty much as soon as The Walking Dead started and this latest volume is no exception.
Our favourite zombie soap opera continues just as the title suggests, straight after the horrific events of Something To Fear. The camps’ new friend, Jesus – not the water to wine variety – is under secret instructions from Rick to track down and locate the hideout of the prolific Negan, the baseball bat wielding megalomaniac who demands a substantial share of every community’s stockpiles. After a visit from Negan and his band of not-so merry men, it’s not Rick that takes action, but his son, Carl.
Carl takes centre stage for a while in this book, dishing out a brand of justice that would see him make a welcome addition to the cast of the Expendables. Inevitably captured by Negan, Carl is taken on a tour of Negan’s base of operations (which boasts one of the greatest anti-intruder measures ever) and this is where it starts to get scary. Not due to the zombies, or the particularly nasty ‘iron incident’, but because you end up doing something you never thought you’d do – seeing things from Negan’s point of view. In this character, Kirkman has, arguably, produced one his greatest creations. Negan is an UTTER bastard; ruthless, arrogant and lacks any kind of empathy. However, for the most part, he’s reasonable and fair. He keeps the people in his care safe, fed and watered and gives them a oh, who am I kidding, he IS a bastard and he needs to be stopped! It’s towards the end of the book that Rick, the surreptitious little bugger, starts making moves to do just that.
There’s not much more that can be said that hasn’t been said about this series. Kirkman is consistently on form, sending his characters from one bad situation to the next and making you root for them all the way. Adlard’s artwork is also consistently good and, as I mentioned in the last volume’s review, he does character reactions so well. The look Rick gives Negan towards the end of the book; you can see the hate – it’s exceptional.
If you’ve read this series from the start and made that emotional investment in the characters, you care what happens to them, you can’t help but care. This is what Kirkman is good at; giving us people that we want to survive and to do well. As a result of this, in Negan, he’s given us someone arguably worse than the Governor, someone who believes what he’s doing is right. Someone who’ll bash in someone’s brains with a baseball bat just to make a point.
But he’s created the best post-apocalyptic burglar alarm ever, so he can be forgiven.
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