The Walking Dead #114
Review by Paul Bowler
The stakes have never been higher as The Walking Dead #114 sees Rick and his friends outgunned and at the mercy of Negan and the Saviors. After his attempt to kill Negan outside Alexandria failed, only Andrea, Michonne, and a handful of the remaining survivors remain to oppose the Saviors. When Carl tried to help by shooting a lump out of Negan’s trusty baseball bat, Lucille, the Saviors leader demanded the boy pay for it with his life.
From her sniping position in the bell tower Andrea is fighting for her life against one of Negan’s men. When the people inside Alexandria refuse to hand Carl over Negan prepares to let Lucille have her revenge against Rick and the others. Having seen a body fall from the bell tower, everyone thinks that it was Andrea who perished, but she has survived…
Tensions have been slowly building over the last few issues as Rick plotted with Ezekiel and the other hilltop communities to overthrow Negan’s reign of terror, now all the carefully developing plot strands begin to come together as Robert Kirkman sets in motion events that will lead Rick and the Saviors to All Out War. Last issues heart sopping moment, when it looked like Andrea had tumbled from the bell tower, gives way to a surprise attack spearheaded by Jesus, and backed up by Ezekiel and his pet tiger Shiva.
It’s immensely satisfying to see Jesus fighting Negan one-on-one, as Ezekiel sets Shiva on the Saviors. Jesus quickly overpowers Negan, even holding a gun to his head at one point, before Negan manages to break free and escape with his men.
Rick makes for the bell tower and is relived to find that it was the Savior who fell. He rushes up to the top of the tower and finds Andrea. She managed to push her assailant to his death, but she was badly beaten in the process. After everyone gets patched up by Doctor Cloyd, Rick has to face some serious questions from both Andrea and Michonne, who fear that Rick’s attempt to kill Negan may have cost them their advantage in the upcoming battle against the Savoirs. However, Rick doesn’t believe that Negan knows just how organized they really are.
Negan is as vile and depraved as ever, taking delight in playing his captives against each other, while taking the opportunity to taunt Rick as the events of issue #100 hang like a bloodstained shroud over them all.
The second half of The Walking Dead #114 includes some excellent scenes as Rick leadership comes under the spotlight. I especially liked the moment where Rick takes the time to talk to Carl about how he kept his cool during the Saviors attack. Rick knows that the time has come for them to make their move against Negan, and a conversation with Jesus quickly makes him realise just how much his people look to him for courage and inspiration. In fact, Jesus plays a pivotal role in this issue, as the bearded loner gets to prove his worth by saving Rick and attacking Negan. But most importantly of all he makes Rick see just how vital his role is as leader of the survivors.
Charlie Adlard’s art captures the raw strength of Jesus’ counterattack, which result with tense standoff as he holds Negan at gunpoint. We also get to see Shiva munch down on the Saviors, tearing across the page, claws rending flesh. These action packed scenes are well balanced by the quieter moments, where Adlard depicts every emotional beat as the characters react to recent developments. Carl’s bluntly delivered request, about how his father should deal with Negan, is a fine example of this, caught in his son’s cold unflinching gaze; Rick’s expression says it all.
The Saviors return to their camp, where Negan declares that the time has come for them to go to war. As this is the last issue before the “All Out War” there is understandably a sense that pieces are being set in place by Kirkman for the next storyline. That doesn’t detract from the issue overall, although the pace slows noticeably after the initial burst of action. With the scene now set for All Out War, the Zombie apocalypse is about to get even more dangerous, as the hilltop communities fight it out in a desperate battle for survival. The Walking Dead #114 is another great issue by Kirkman and Adlard as the action intensifies and everyone readies themselves for All Out War.