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The Walking Dead #173

Review by Paul Bowler

Twilight confrontations and a major new threat rises in The Walking Dead #173 as Jesus fights for his life and Michonne’s team head for Ohio. While the eighth season of the Walking Dead is going all-out for the All Out War storyline on TV right now, the character in the Image comic book series are still picking up the pieces after The Whisperer War – the Walker skin wearing group that unleashed a Walker herd on Alexandria and razed the Hilltop to the ground!

So, with Rick devastated by Andrea’s death after she was bitten by a Walker and Dwight still doubting his role at either Alexandria or the Saviors Sanctuary, last issues cliff-hanger which saw Jesus and Aaron set off to help with the rebuilding of the Hilltop – only to be ambushed by the hulking Whisperer leader Beta – finally seemed to herald a resurgences in hostilities with the Whisperers. However, although The Walking Dead #173 does deliver an edge of your seat face-off between Jesus and Beta, the resolution proves to be somewhat surprising to say the least!

Kirkman manages to keep the plot moving along at a brisk pace. There’s some great character moments for Jesus and Aaron, Maggie is still coming to terms with Rick’s decision to let Negan remain free after he helped them during the attack on Alexandria in The Whisperer War, and Carl and Lydia’s rekindled relationship back at the Hilltop is tested when Lydia begins to feel jealous about Carl’s friendship with Sophia.

The art by Charlie Adlard, together with inks by Stefano Gaudiano, and gray tones by Cliff Rathburn, are on fine form as ever. In the no-holds-barred fight between Jesus and Beta, every nerve jangling moment plays out in a flurry of fists, kicks, blades, and bullets. The quieter character moments skilfully punctuate the action, while the starkly rendered and uncluttered page layouts seamlessly relays the action and various locations – no mean feat considering how a lot of events in this issue take place in almost pitch black darkness.

For the most part, Robert Kirkman has dealt with the aftermath of The Whisperer War adequately enough, but things have felt like they’ve been coasting a bit for a few issues. It seems the resurgence of the Whispers might not be in the offing after all, especially if the encounters with them in this issue are anything to go by. Hopefully we will also find out more about the group Eugune made contact with on his radio soon as well, but will they be friends, or foes?

Meanwhile, during their trek to Ohio, Michonne’s group encountered Princesss, a feisty new spear wielding character who has already proved her worth by fighting alongside them against Walkers. I must admit, although I found Princess a bit grating initially, the character brings some vibrant new traits into the group, and it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the survivors react to her. That is, if they survive that long as this issue sees Princess, Michonne and her team confronted by an unknown threat in a particularly eerie setting.

With its strong characterization from writer Robert Kirkman and great art by Charlie Adlard, The Walking Dead #173 is a good overall issue. It feels more like a scene setter really, with characters and situations settling into place, and now with the New World Order story-arc on the horizon there is a real sense that big game-changing events are on the cards.

Publisher: Image.

Writer: Robert Kirkman / Pencils & Cover: Charlie Adlard / Inks: Stefano Gaudiano

Gray Tone: Cliff Rathburn / Letterer: Rus Wooton / Cover Colors: Dave Stewart