The Walking Dead #150
Review by Paul Bowler
Everything comes to a head in Image Comics The Walking Dead #150 as Rick Grimes faces his toughest challenge so far. With the people of Alexandria demanding action against the Whisperers, Rick’s leadership and vision for the communities is under threat. Seeking advice from the captive Negan, he refuses to lie to his people like the former Saviors leader suggests, instead Rick decides to train his people like an army to fight the Whisperers, just as Dwight chooses to leave the Sanctuary, taking the infamous baseball bat “Lucile” with him. Now in The Walking Dead #150 Rick will have to fight tooth and nail to hold onto his leadership, whilst finding the resolve to stay true to everything he has strived to hard to build, and rally his people to unite against the Whisperers.
The Walking Dead #150 is one hell of an issue. Sure, this arc has been something of a slow burner at times. But following the Whisperers horrific act of terror against them, which lead to Rick clashing with Maggie after she admitted having Gregory executed for trying to murder her, and saw Andrea take Carl and Lydia, the daughter of the Whisperers leader, Alpha, to the Hilltop for their own protection as unrest grew in Alexandria. Rick’s ensuing consultation with Negan was an unexpected, yet insightful move on Rick’s part. However, the former Saviors leaders advice didn’t get him released from captivity like he expected, but it did give Rick the impetus he needed to tell Eugene about his plan to form a military, which will focus the community, thereby quelling the unrest, and give Rick and his friends time to figure out the best way to strike back against the Whisperers.
It’s clear now how Robert Kirkman has been building the series towards this pivotal moment. He’s saved the payoff for this epic 150th issue, there’s some big game changing events in this issue, and its certainly been well worth the wait. Right from the start we are privy to an apparent departure, which I’m pleased to say isn’t actually quite as final as we might’ve expected, before events shift back to Alexandria, where Rick must tackle a brutal challenge to his authority from an unexpected quarter. Its a shocking, brutal, and really gives us something to sink out teeth into.
This issue of The Walking Dead is edge of the seat stuff at times, with Rick battling back from the edge of oblivion, before taking decisive action that he hopes will finally bring his community together as a cohesive fighting force. Its not all doom and gloom though, there’s time for a passionate interlude for Carl and Lydia over at the Hilltop, and Dwight’s initial departure is also tinged with a ray of hope, and companionship too.
Everything culminates with Rick’s address to his community at Alexandria. Robert Kirkman pulls out all the stops here, in what is possibly one of the series’ finest moments ever, as Rick Grimes speaks to his people and implores them not to jeopardise everything they’ve built together by going off half-cocked for revenge against the Whisperers – despite how the Walker-Skin wearing Whisperers mercilessly killed some of their people and stuck their now zombiefied heads (including Ezekiel’s) on spikes as a warning to stay out of their territory.
Rick is terrified of things going back to the way they were before… when everything started way back during the aftermath of the outbreak, before Rick and his group arrived, before the these communities found each other and finally coexisted in peace. Rick, his friends, everyone in these communities, they’ve all lost so much already. If anything, its not only Rick’s words here that resolutely defines him as their leader, its an act of selfless mercy that sets him apart from everyone else in the room, and its that moment that makes this issue so outstanding.
The Walking Dead #150 is a superb showcase for Charlie Adlard’s incredible artwork. Each scene powerfully relays the actions and emotions of the characters and situations perfectly. Intricate, flowing page layouts set the brisk pace and tone of this issue, Adlard often takes us right up close to the action as well, most notably when Rick is fighting for survival. There are some impressively detailed full page scenes as well, each depicting single key story beats that strikingly punctuate the action throughout the issue. The inks by Stefano Gaudiano brings out the vivid clarity and detail of Adlard’s pencils, every scene stands out from the page, and the grey tones by Cliff Rathburn and lettering by Rus Wooton complete the striking visuals for this extra special issue.
The Walking Dead #150 is a celebration of the amazing talent that have worked so hard on this Image Comics series of the last twelve years. Its evolved into something really special, been ground breaking in every sense of the word. This 150th issues features a cover by Charlie Adlard and Dave Stewart, there are also some amazing variants as well, including one by Tony Moore, whose variant cover mirrors that distinctive original issue #1 cover, and there are also variants by Jason Lator, Ryan Ottley, Charlie Adlard, and a blank sketch variant.
The Walking Dead #150 is a landmark issue in very sense of the word; in fact, it is everything we hoped it would be, and then some. The action doesn’t let up for a moment, its brutally violent, with characterization to die for, and by that two-page closing moment you will be left in no doubt whatsoever who is in charge… One thing’s for sure, the scene is set for some big events to come, here’s to the next exciting chapter of The Walking Dead!
Publisher: Image / Writer: Robert Kirkman / Art: Charlie Adlard
Inks: Stefano Gaudiano / Grey tones: Cliff Rathburn / Letters: Rus Wooton
Cover A Charlie Adlard and Dave Stewart / Cover B Blank Sketch
Cover C Jason Latour / Cover D Tony Moore / Cover E Ryan Ottley