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The Walking Dead Volume 28 Paperback – October 3, 2017
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Yeah. Well. Robert Kirkman done pulled a fast one on all of us.
Because the REAL “big event”? The real “spiritual successor” to “All Out War?” Turns out, it wasn’t “Vol. 27: The Whisperer War.” It was “Vol. 28: A Certain Doom.” And for my money, it might even take the mantle from “All Out War” as the single most “HOLY CRAP DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN” arc of the entire series.
Not to drown you in my enthusiasm, but seriously: this is why I read comics. For great art (it’s official: Charlie Adlard is a god), for long-term development of character arcs that pay off oh-so-beautifully (or heartbreakingly. Or both), for crazy cliffhangers that make the 30-day wait for the next issue absolutely interminable. The fact that I’m saying all of this about a series that is now nearing its 170th issue and over 10 years as an ongoing series is absolutely mindboggling. In fact, it’s such an impressive feat, it feels almost criminal, like Kirkman and Adlard and all of the amazing people that bring this story to life month after month are breaking some sort of rule in turning out such high quality work so consistently, for so long. Like, is this really allowed?
Thankfully, issues #163-168 prove that it IS allowed. And I couldn’t be happier about it. Here’s to another 168 zombie-stuffed, gore-happy, tear-soaked issues.
A Certain Doom collects comics #163-168.
This volume is heavily devoted to combating the walker attack—edge-of-your-seat, hold-your-breath, don’t-so-much-as-pause-take-a-drink-of-water action. I usually read each volume the night it shows up in the mail, but this one I absolutely blasted through.
Which isn’t to say that Kirkman doesn’t know when to put on the brakes and allow for some reflection. And he manages to be danged moving in doing so. There are deaths. Everyone never gets out of this alive, but we have one of our biggest deaths in quite some time.
I haven’t been a fan of how Negan has been handled post-All Out War. But I’m starting to come around—Kirkman is starting to do something with Negan that is unexpected.
I remain a big fan of the art in The Walking Dead, but a few pages were filled with endless thumbnail squares that created an effect that was a bit confused (by design, I think, but it didn’t entirely work for me.
And oh, the insipid, vapid dialogue, and the contrived drama, plodding on and on for pages (people holding their head in hands, bemoaning their own inner turmoil, while others try to pull them up by their bootstraps, and get them to "buck-up, soldier!"...or else try to pull them out of their sad funk.
And in particular, Negan has definitely jumped the shark. He is a caricature of his former cool self, and has lost everything that made him interesting; His man-crush on Rick is ridiculous, and his swinging, pendulum-like, between psychotic killing machine who delights in stabbing human (zombie) flesh, and tender, self-aware, vulnerable dude who is desperate for Rick to like him...just dumb.
Maybe I got spoiled recently when I discovered Ed Brubaker's comic series "Criminal," which has WAY better writing, dialogue, and art...