Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Walking Dead 89: Review and Spoilers

Upon the first reading, there doesn't seem to be much to this issue- just the simmering tensions within the Community escalating to a fever pitch! And do they ever! Once I started reading, I couldn't stand to put the book down.

The issue starts right where 88 left off, though it's not necessary to have read 88 or really any previous issue to understand what's going on. I think Kirkman may have mastered the delicate art of writing an ongoing series in which almost any issue can serve as a good "jumping on" point. Members of the Community grumble about Rick and his band of newcomers moving in and taking over, so Nicholas formulates a plan to take Rick out permanently and tries to get Spencer, Olivia, and eventually the rest of the community to go along with him. While it remains to be seen how successful he is, there is no doubt about his methods. He insults Olivia's intelligence, Spencer's manhood, and the loyalty of anyone who, even if they disapprove of Rick's leadership, doesn't agree with what Nicholas has planned. As his bullying becomes more violently apparent, it becomes more evident that his hatred of Rick has blinded him to his own actions. He threatens Glenn, Maggie, former friends, even little Sophia, all while blaming Rick for making the Community more dangerous.

There are a couple of breaks from the tension. Rick discusses with Andrea his changing relationship with his son, and a scavenging party kills a few roamers while they find little food. To those unfamiliar with the book, it may seem odd that in a post-apocalyptic comic book, the part where zombie heads get smashed constitutes a break, but this is perfectly in accordance with this series' running theme. The monsters against which we need to be most vigilant are not mindless ghouls, but very much alive, very human, and all too real.

The extras in the back include the conclusion of the interview with The Walking Dead: The Rise of the Governor author Jay Bonansinga which offers some helpful advice for aspiring writers. A rather amusing couple of letters also poke some gentle and affectionate fun at the practice of shameless self-promotion. And then they allow Arcadio BolaƱos to promote in one of them his work for Grayhaven Comics. This further proves to me that whoever the real monsters may be, Robert Kirkman is not one of them.

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