Walking Dead Issue 48 | Review
The last issue of the "No One is Safe" mini-arc, and what is a pretty representative end to one of the much larger story-arcs that has been the focus of The Walking Dead for the past twenty-something issues. The Governor's final attempt to take the prison that Rick and the gang are holed up in, continues to unravel the status-quo.
Wow...this is such a game-changer of an issue. In one fell swoop Kirkman masterfully writes a satisfying conclusion to one of the longer running story-arcs. Rick and the survivors we've been following had become sort of accustomed to living in this prison, setting up a new life for everyone. While there were some setbacks and casualties, the prison has been a sort of safe-haven for the survivors. No longer was the narrative a travel epic, spanning their adventures fighting through towns and zombies. With the introduction of the prison, The Walking Dead was given a game changer, and it shifted its gears completely. Instead of constant worrying and desperation, the survivors are given a chance to take a breather and start to rebuild. Brilliantly, Kirkman gives the survivors, and the readers too, this illusion that everything might actually be okay. Kirkman gives the reader hope, and in this issue he takes all of that away.
Kirkman has been hinting at this issue several times, and hinted at the confrontation, and the fact that no one is safe...hence the title, but even though I was fully told that no one was safe; I didn't see some of this stuff coming. Quite a few major players are taken out permanently, and the remaining survivors are split up...creating an interesting twist on the narrative that I can't wait to see unfold in the oncoming issues.
The Governor, I've already had several issues with. He was an interesting character to begin with, and his turning on the survivors way back when was a genuine surprise and had me hooked. And then we were introduced to his daughter, which in and of itself gave the character a sense of morality, and hinted at something human beneath this monstrous exterior. But in one of the recent issues, Kirkman has perverted the character, involving the daughter, and turning the character into something just shy of Hitler. Naturally removing and humanity or redeemable qualities, and turning him into a somewhat one-note character. That's continued in this issue, and I became really annoyed, very quickly, with all the lucky coincidences of him avoiding certain death. At several points we're shown him just barely missing a fatal injury, with a character slipping up and shooting just near him, or a well-timed grenade just missing him and hitting a near by car. It all starts to turn into a series of red-herrings that by the time his character does actually come into some much needed confrontation, where he's actually in danger of his life, that it just felt unsatisfying.
My issues with the Governor aside, this is one of the pinnacle moments in this series, like the handful of ground-breaking, game-changing issues that have come before. At once it's a wonderful end to what has been an ingenuous and gripping story arc, while promising some really brilliant narratives still in store for the book. I can't wait to see what Kirkman has in store for us over the next few issues, and because of that I can't recommend this issue enough, especially for followers of the series.