Maya Zach ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff
Issue 116 of The Walking Dead would have been the perfect beginning to All Out War. It has just about everything a reader could expect and desire from the start of a major story arc. Nevertheless, it is still an outstanding second issue to the story, and practically makes up for the weak opening issue.
This issue begins immediately where the previous one leaves off, with Negan holding Gregory at gunpoint, threatening the Hilltop. Negan’s scheme falls short, as only eight members of the Hilltop had joined Rick’s ranks. This leaves an incredibly large army standing at the Saviors’ gates, ready to fight to the death. As soon as Negan pushes Gregory off of the balcony, the Saviors’ snipers begin shooting. Rick’s troops quickly take cover and start shooting frantically, first at the snipers, then at nothing. They plan to make enough noise to attract a herd of walkers and trap the Saviors inside of their building.
Rick slips away to execute the second half of the plan: to destroy the building’s defenses, allowing the walkers into the Saviors’ front yard. However, Holly stops him before he has the chance to infiltrate the building. She knows that he is too important to die for the cause, so she offers to take his place. What she can’t comprehend is that Rick planned to sacrifice himself for the sole reason that Negan wouldn’t dare kill him; that would spoil the game, and the game is all that matters to him. Holly uses force to get her way, leaving her trapped inside Negan’s compound. This time, Abraham is not around to come to her rescue; she will face Negan’s wrath, and it will be brutal. Expect him to go to the same lengths that The Governor went with Michonne.
Holly’s sacrifice allows Rick to return to his motley crew and bellow the words that the readers have been waiting for, “the war has just begun.”
Holly’s reappearance as an important character came as a bit of a shock, since she has been MIA for a while. There is a good chance we will be seeing more of her now. Though she will most likely be shackled and tortured in every panel we see her in, until Rick and co. save her… If they save her.
Negan seems genuinely worried about what he has to face. Though he would never let Rick or his soldiers in on this little secret, the readers get a glimpse of this. When Holly drives the car through the compound gate, a look of sheer terror crosses Negan’s face. It only lasts a moment (one panel), but it is enough for the readers’ to see that even Negan has his doubts.
In case anyone was concerned that Charlie Adlard’s art doesn’t get the message across—which seems unlikely—there is large, blocky, and emphatic print scrawled across nearly every page to add to the ambiance. There are an excessive amount of guns firing, cars crashing, fight sequences, and aggravated yelling, which allows Rus Wooton the chance to experiment with his lettering techniques in this week’s issue.
Issue 116 focuses less on the individual characters, as the typical issue does. Rather, it sets up the scene for the rest of All Out War. The war will be brutal, and the number of casualties will be high. Expect the deaths of beloved characters and numerous nameless figures on both sides of the fight. But more importantly, expect the unexpected. TWD’s writer, Robert Kirkman, is known for throwing his readers’ for a loop and messing with their heads. So prepare for some startling twists.
Emertainment Monthly gives this issue a 9/10.