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The Walking Dead #128

Review by Paul Bowler

The war between the Saviors and the Hilltop communities is over. Negan was defeated and imprisoned. Two years have now passed, Rick and his fellow survivors have rebuilt Alexandria, transforming it into a well protected, self-sustaining community, where Negan is still held captive in a secure cell. Rick has made a good recovery since his leg was broken, although he still walks with a stick, and Carl wants to learn to become a Blacksmith and move to the Hilltop. Now, as Rick and Eugene tour some of Alexandria’s facilities, a new group of survivors, led by a woman called Magna, have been welcomed into their community and begin to settle in. Outwardly, everything seems fine, but can these newcomers really be trusted?

After the conclusion of All Out War, last issue saw events jump forward two years as we rejoined Rick and the other survivors after they had rebuilt Alexandria, Rick even wears a very basic prosthesis on his missing hand now, and the community he has established seems to be thriving. The majority of The Walking Dead #128 centres around how well Alexandria is doing, especially with the addition of a mill and bakery, even Rick is bowled over by the irony that bread could soon become a more valuable commodity to his community than even bullets.

The Walking Dead #128 Cover

I really like this change in pace that Robert Kirkman has introduced to the series. Its good to see Rick and his friends doing so well now, however, this is The Walking Dead, so I wouldn’t expect things to stay too idyllic for long. Kirkman gives us breathing room to catch up with some of the characters, including Eugene, although his relationship with Rosita doesn’t seem to be in a good place right now. The time has come for Rick to decide if he will let Carl go and live at the Hilltop and train to become a Blacksmith. This is a great scene, it’s possibly one of the hardest decisions Rick’s ever had to make, the moment is also incredibly poignant, and gives you a real sense of just how much time has passed and how much the characters have evolved.

Negan is still confined, he doesn’t seem in a good way, physically or mentally, however, as we know, he can never be underestimated. The most interesting aspect of The Walking Dead #128 is Magna and her new group of survivors, who were rescued last issue. The scenes where Andrea is questioning Magna are very interesting, as she tries to glean what she can about the new arrivals, and find out how they managed to survive for so long. Magna’s story actually turns out to be highly insightful, perhaps even a very familiar one. Obviously its very early days for these new characters, we still have a lot to learn about them, and it will be interesting to see how things work out. Obviously they will have to earn the trust of Rick’s community. However, the thing I really like about Magna and her friends is how they perceive the set up in Alexandria, it all seems a little too good to be true to them, and their suspicions certainly leave us with much to ponder over.

The Walking Dead #128 continues to build on events following All Out War, and this issue looks great as well. Charlie Adlard’s art is excellent, there is a lot of story to cram into this issue, and I thought that the characters were all really well defined, the detail lavished on every scene is exceptional, and Stefano Gaudiano’s inks also enhance the atmosphere perfectly – especially as the issue builds towards its conclusion. We also get some brief, but exciting Zombie action, when an uncharted region of countryside is explored.

While it may be a slower paced issue, The Walking Dead #128 certainly seems to be setting the groundwork for big things to come. There are plenty of new developments in the lives of the survivors, the new characters are really interesting, and I expect that it won’t be long before events in Alexandria begin to kick off.