Comic Vine Review

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The Walking Dead #126 - All Out War Chapter 12 of 12 Review

4

The war is over. Who lived? Who died? [Minimal spoilers]

The Good

I’ve always enjoyed the Walking Dead comics, even through the ups and downs, and I’ve always been a strong advocate for it. But even I was starting to notice the pattern of “wander, settle, contact, battle, flee, repeat,” so when Rick and company seemed like they ACTUALLY found a place to settle in, it was only a matter of time before a force of nature like Negan swooped in to displace them. This time, though, something incredible happened: they dug in their heels and proclaimed “Not this time!” What followed was twelve issues, over six months, of All-Out WAR that climaxed last issue with Negan and Rick having a conversation about what they could actually accomplish if they stopped fighting each other. Then Rick stabbed Negan in the throat. Robert Kirkman has, with this issue, grabbed the wheel and yanked it in a completely different direction than what the book has followed over the last previous 125 issues: the characters seem ready AND poised to take a run at actually rebuilding society. He’s gotten them to the point that, rightly so, the zombies are not just a nuisance, but being actively weaponized by either size in one way or another, THAT’S how used people are to them. Kirkman’s development of this world over the last ten years has been nothing short of amazing, considering the fact that he’s never really lost focus on the central group, through all the changes its undergone.

Charlie Adlard is a truly interesting artist. His pencils took over from issue 6 and were completely different in a way I couldn’t deal with at the time, but over the last decade, I’ve come to truly appreciate their simplistic-yet-incredibly-expressive tones. And because his pencils are minimalist, you get panels that look incredible, detailed and very, very different from one another. This isn’t a book, nor an issue, where you see faces repeated in dialog-heavy scenes, we’re treated to dramatic cuts between items and people of interest changing and adapting to the actions that surround them. Stefano Gaudiano’s inks help pull these out and make them real, adding to each and every incredible detail, particularly any panel that features blood which, in this title, is a WHOLE lot of panels. We also get Cliff Rathburn on “gray tones,” which I assume are the pieces in the panels that are neither black nor white, but I’m not familiar with that term, so I may be wrong. It fills in the shadows and small details amazingly, either way.

The Bad

For an all-out war that has lived up to the hype to this point, I found this issue’s conflict fell by the wayside very, very abruptly. I get the idea of taking the general off the board being a great way to win a war, but when that general’s soldiers are still RIGHT THERE and not one of them wants to press the issue, it feels like the pieces are falling into place a little too neatly. Last issue gave us an incredible emotional climax, and this issue seems poised to ride it out or even escalate it further, but things come to a crashing halt just when they were starting to build back up in a satisfying way.

The Verdict

This is a very worthy, very appropriate end to this epic arc, even if it wasn’t without flaws. As far as comic book endings go, it’s about as great as we could hope for and it sets up innumerable directions for the series to go from here. So take a breather, creators, you earned it and I absolutely cannot wait to see where the series goes next.

11 Comments
Posted by AllStarSuperman

can wait to read this.

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Edited by SavageDragon

Just read it and I agree to all your points Corey. This issue was good not great but I loved All out War as a whole. Could there be a time jump at the start of next issue? Maggie's daughter perhaps? I dont know but Walking Dead has finished one of their best story arcs since trades 3-7. Bravo to Kirkman and company for a great story arc. Negan is still one of the most compelling people in the whole book. 127 should be very interesting.

Posted by Ironhawk22

This was a really disappointing finale. I'm happy that mostly everyone survived and it wasn't just an all out kill fest, but the ending felt very rushed and thrown together at the last minute. I was having flashbacks to the Season Three finale of the television show.

Posted by Lee_Everett

I still don't want to see Negan on the show...

Posted by timelord

So over or under on a Time Skip haping it almost feels nescary at this piont to shake things up

Posted by XxHeavyRainxX

I'm very interested to see what will happen with Negan from here on out. The dynamic of having your worst enemy locked inside a prison serving a life scentence is something completely new for the series. I imagine we'll get something akin to the "change" we saw in the TV version of the Govenor, and then Negan will slowly turn evil again. Whatever happens, I doubt this is the last of Negan's evils.

Posted by kerosene

I can honestly say this was the first Walking Dead book that I have been disappointed with. All the hype, all the build up, just to go out with a whimper. They could have gone so many directions with the ending, and chose to go with the dullest possibility. 3/5 at the very best.

Posted by tommyx

For the longest time, this book was at the top of my pull list. In the last year...not so much. I don't know if it's because the storyline isn't that compelling, or if I'm enjoying the boob tube version better...

Posted by ILLO_29

I agree with pretty much everyone else, this felt so rushed and ended so quick that it was just disappointing. It felt like the ending was rewritten for the sake of it not ending the way everyone thought it would. I was never all the into Negan to me he was a watered down, less interesting version of the Governor. So I'm hoping that we don't see to much more of him since he lives, he's been around for almost 30 issues I hope they move onto something else for awhile.

Posted by mak13131313

I enjoyed this issue. I completely agree with your review, Corey.

Posted by Dernman

I really wonder where they are going from here. I feel they've hit a plateau after going hyping up and up. They either languish or somehow change the game.