Review of The Walking Dead #115

Maya Zach ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

Issue #115 of The Walking Dead by Image Comics begins All Out War, the largest story arc in the series. Twelve issues will be released bi-monthly to tell the story of the war between Rick and Negan.

Stefano Gaudiano joins The Walking Dead team as an inker, and Dave Stewart will be coloring the covers of All Out War. They join Robert Kirkman the writer, Charlie Adlard the penciler, Cliff Rathburn the gray tone artist, and Rus Wooton the letterer.

Each of the ten special 10th anniversary interlocking covers stand alone just as well as when pieced together. Each one recounts at least one of the most intense scenes in the comic series. They invoke a very somber form of nostalgia. When pieced together they bring the entire series in a full circle, beginning with Lori and Shane’s affair through to the preparation of the upcoming war.

In this issue, Rick prepares his men for the war. He calls upon the people from Alexandria for help for the first time, asking them to fight or fortify the settlement. Ezekiel and Jesus have already gathered the troops from their respective colonies. Loaded with weaponry and case-loads of ammunition, they march on Negan’s fortress. They give Negan one final chance to surrender, which, unsurprisingly, he scoffs at. Rick, Jesus, Ezekiel, and their 40+ troops are ready to stage a full-frontal assault when Negan pulls out his secret weapon. Gregory, the leader of the Hilltop Colony, was taken captive and is forced to comply with the Saviors, threatening the lives of the troops’ families.

When he is gearing up for war, Rick admits to Andrea that he isn’t truly confident. He doesn’t know if his plan will pan out and he knows that there will be casualties. Though the readers have seen Rick second-guess himself and doubt his abilities, none of the other characters have. He puts on a brave face to help those around him get through the horrors of the apocalypse, however he is terrified and doesn’t truly believe in his abilities as a leader. That he is willing to share his concerns with Andrea shows the extent to which he cares about her and how much he relies on her for support. He wouldn’t even show this vulnerability to Lori.

Related: The Walking Dead Season 4 Premiere Review

Issue #115 was a bit of a letdown as the start of the largest storyline in The Walking Dead history. It seems as though this issue should have been the final issue preceding All Out War. Nearly the entire issue revolves around the preparation for the battle, rather than the beginning. The readers only get a tiny glimpse of the face-off between Rick and Negan. Since the first half was so uneventful, it leaves the readers wanting so much more.

Adlard uses space exceptionally well, particularly in the uncommon double-page spreads. Both of the spreads in this issue create the visual that Rick’s troops are numerous yet Adlard still draws them all in detail. Rick is kept the star of the page, while accentuating the vast numbers that he has behind him. Rathburn complements this art with a very dark atmosphere that is necessary to match the story’s tone, while also leaving a little bit of light (or hope) in the surroundings.

Though the first issue of The Walking Dead‘s All Out War was rather uneventful, there is no doubt that the action will kick up very soon. If you’re curious who will make it out of the war alive, pick up the two new issues of The Walking Dead each month, starting November 13th with Issue #116.

Emertainment Monthly gives this issue a 6/10.

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