The Walking Dead #117
Review by Paul Bowler
The first battle of Rick’s war is over. While Rick’s plan left the Savoirs trapped inside their own base, surrounded by Walkers attracted by the gunfire, Holly bravely sacrificed herself to breach the Savoirs defences, and was then taken captive by Negan.
It was great to see Rick and his allies using the Walkers to their own advantage last issue, effectively pinning the Savoirs inside their compound, but Negan isn’t going to give up without a fight, as The Walking Dead #117 clearly illustrates just how resourceful and cunning the Savoirs leader can be when he’s backed into a corner like this. At first Negan thinks he has captured Andrea, someone who he can use to break Rick’s spirit, but Holly reveals she was with Abraham as she tells Negan and Dwight why she drove the truck herself to smash the gates and let the Walkers in.
As Rick and the others regroup, Robert Kirkman uses this interlude to show what effect Holly’s sacrifice has had on the others, while Michonne, Ezekiel, and Shiva deal with some more Walkers. Rick then asks Michonne to return with a group to their community to help Andrea and Carl, just in case Negan manages to strike at them before they can return. Michonne agrees, even though she is unsure that they should be dividing their forces at this time, while Ezekiel will remain with Rick’s group and help take out the rest of the Savoirs outposts.
The art by Charlie Adlard is excellent, there are some outstanding pages featuring the Walkers attacking Negan and his men as they try and beat back the undead horde, where they soon find themselves outnumbered and have to quickly retreat inside. It was a good move to bring inker Stefano Gaudiono to The Walking Dead for All Out War, his inks bring an added clarity and shade to the bleak environments, and the Zombies look even more menacing.
Robert Kirkman continues to show us more sides to Negan’s character. The Saviors leader delivers an expletive laden rant when his attempt to clear a path through the Walkers fails, knowing the urgency to get out and strike back is now crucial to their survival, Negan orders his people to figure out a way to attack the Zombies from a distance. What follows is a scene where Negan discover that one of his men, David, is about to assault Holly. Appalled by what nearly happened Negan’s justice is swift, and ruthless, as he punishes David for defying the rules. It becomes clear that Negan is looking at the bigger picture here, at how they will all have to work together when the war is over, and that sinking to such inhuman levels is completely unacceptable, even for him. While the Saviors leader remains highly unpredictable, Negan’s twisted logic indicates that he is not an adversary to be underestimated.
The Walking Dead #117 sees Rick preparing to divide his forces between dealing with the Savoirs outposts and protecting Andrea and the others, as she is sure to be the focus of any counter attack launched by Negan. Whether this is a good move or not remains to be seen, Rick could be spreading his forces too thin, and that could very well give the Saviors the opening they need to strike back when they least expect it.
This third part of All Out War has certainly seen no let up in the action, Robert Kirkman continues to build the suspense, and the art by Charlie Adlard and Stefano Gaudiano delivers some spectacular scenes where the zombies attack in force. The Walking Dead #17 is another really good issue, battle lines have been drawn, and with both sides are preparing to make their next move, All Out War is shaping up to be an epic event.