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The Walking Dead #141

Review by Paul Bowler

Over at the harbor, Rick and Ezekiel greeted Michonne as she returned from sea with her crew and their catch of fish for the communities. Meanwhile, Carl sneaked away from the Hilltop to rescue Lydia from the Whisperers, only to get caught and taken to the Whisperers’ camp where he’s shocked to see how many are living there. Back in Alexandria, when Olivia fails to lock Negan’s cell properly, she unwittingly provides the Saviors’ former leader with a chance to escape. Now as Rick returns to Alexandria in The Walking Dead #141 he must confront Negan once more, while over at the Hilltop community, having survived Gregory’s botched attempt to poison her, Maggie must now decide if he should be allowed to live…

The cliff-hanger ending to last issue heralds what could become the biggest turning point in this current story arc. It was bound to happen eventually, and the prospect of Negan getting out of his cell has kept us all eagerly awaiting this moment. The fact that it’s not the violent bloodbath we might have expected makes this issue all the more impressive, as Robert Kirkam masterfully subverts our expectations, and instead we are treated to a face-off between Rick and Negan that positively crackles with tension and underlying menace.

The Walking Dead #141 (Cover)

Negan is at his most laid-back and foul-mouthed best throughout. Seeing Negan so smug and Rick so rattled makes for some of the best scenes so far in this storyline. Negan is never one to mince words, he’s as perverse and disgusting as ever, but amidst all his expletive-ridden diatribe we get a sense of just how well Negan has judged the wider picture beyond the walls of his cell, and the merest notion of what he suggests leads to some unsettlingly dark home truths for Rick and the brave new world he’s worked so hard to establish.

Charlie Adlard’s artwork for The Walking Dead continues to be as impressive as ever. The big highlight this issue is the confrontation between Rick and Negan, with Adlard ensuring every disquieting moment is honed to perfection and the sheer brooding intensity of these scenes certainly leave us with plenty to ponder over. Adlard also gets to feature plenty of other characters during this issue as well. We finally get to see Dwight when he seeks some advice about his leadership of the Saviors from Rick, and it’s really good to catch up with this character after such a long time. Oliva is also brought to task by Rick for not making sure that Negan’s cell was locked correctly, and Rosita makes an announcement to everyone about her and Eugene having a baby, although Rick is quick to note that Eugene isn’t exactly excited about it…

Rick now has to face some difficult issues about the choices he’s made, not least from Andrea, when she questions his reasoning again for not killing Negan after they captured him at the end of All Out War. Of course, Rick still doesn’t know about Carl going off into the Whisperers territory yet, but as he explains to Andrea why he didn’t take the easy option and execute Negan after the war between their communities, he’s also unaware that the very foundation of everything he’s strived to build could already be on the verge of falling apart.

The Walking Dead #141 delivers one of this Image Comics series’ most shocking cliff-hangers so far. Its becoming clear now that Robert Kirkman is paving the way for some extremely challenging times for Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors, especially now the fundamental principles of Rick’s fledgling society are at stake, and the impact of Charlie Adlard’s art in that final scene ensures this disturbing turn of events will be something that you wont forget in a hurry either.