The Walking Dead #107
Review by Paul Bowler
After learning from Jesus that his son has been taken captive by Negan after attacking the Savior’s camp with Abraham’s machine gun, Rick sets out with Andrea, Jesus, and Michonne to rescue Carl. On the road to the Savior’s base they encounter a Negan and his men in a truck. The tense standoff between Rick and Negan quickly explodes into violence, but Rick comes off worse when Negan beats him up, only for the Savoir’s leader to reveal that no harm has come to Carl. Even though Carl killed some of his men, Negan just wanted to make a point, that even he can be reasonable and merciful – so long as Rick and his group obey his rules.
When Negan and his men leave, Rick and his friends take Carl back to Alexandria. Still keeping the up pretence that he is serving Negan, he instructs everyone to prepare some supplies for their next tribute to the Saviors, while continuing to plot with Andrea and Jesus to find a way to strike back and kill Negan. As the people of Alexandria struggle to come to terms with Rick giving in to Negan’s demands, Jesus reveals that he knows someone who might be able to help, telling Rick that he thinks its time for him to meet Ezekiel.
Expectations for issue #107 of The Walking Dead have been immense. However, the resolution to last issues gut wrenching cliff-hanger is somewhat anticlimactic. The fight between Rick and Negan has been a long time coming, but it’s all over rather quickly. Negan’s twisted moral code and set of rules is the absolute antithesis of everything Rick stands for, but with Rick still secretly planning against Negan, he inevitably comes off looking a lot worse after being beaten up by the Savior’s leader.
What is really interesting about Negan is the way Robert Kirckman is gradually reinforcing Negan’s character, the differences between him and The Governor are becoming more apparent with every issue. The way Negan enforces his rules using his twisted sense of logic are as unflinching as they are violent, but the way he continually refers to Lucille, his beloved baseball bat, reminds us of just how far Negan is prepared to go to enforce his will. I still shudder to think how Negan used this barbwire encrusted weapon to bash Glen’s head into a bloody pulp, and hearing Negan patriotically rationalize his actions while alluding to Glen’s execution is deeply disturbing.
The rest of The Walking Dead #107 touches on the conflicts brewing amongst Rick’s group, romantic tensions run high, but the scenes with Michonne seemed a little awkwardly staged for my linking and do little do advance the plot. Although the discovery of a workshop where they could make ammunition will no doubt soon have a part to play, especially after everything Carl has discovered about the strength of Negan’s forces. The art by Charlie Adlard is a little below par this issue, with some poorly defined layouts, but with the shift towards such a dialogue-heavy instalment and lack of Zombie action, this issue invariably feels a bit sparse.
The Walking Dead #107 shows just how isolated Rick is becoming now, with the people of Alexandria doubting his every move; it makes you wonder if they will rally to help Rick when the time comes for the inevitable showdown with Negan and The Saviors. It may be a slow burner of an issue, but The Walking Dead #107 sets things up nicely for the introduction of a new character, and will no doubt lead to one of the bloodiest conflicts yet for Rick and his friends.