And so, All Out War begins. At least All Out War proper has begun. With such great issues leading up to this event behind us, we are finally here. And to be realistic, this event might as well have started a couple issues back when Rick decided to attack Negan in the first place.
Either way, this is technically the beginning of the event. And by the word “beginning”, I mean exactly that. With this event, we have been promised 12 issues in just a bit over half a year. Given that premise, this issue serves as the exposition, a calm before the storm of sorts. We see Rick and the rest of our protagonists including Andrea, Michone, Ezekiel, and Jesus mentally and physically preparing for war.
We also get to see Rick in a couple great scenes this issue. In the first scene, we see him rally his people as they get ready to engage in battle. In the final scene, we see Rick and his troops confront Negan and his army head on. Delivering an ultimatum, Rick asks Negan to surrender or engage in battle. Seemingly surprised by all of this, Negan, ever the strategist, seems to have anticipated Rick’s move. He has captured the leader of the Hilltop and presumably has control of that town. At this point, I don’t know what to believe. Is Negan bluffing? I don’t know. What I do know is that Rick is ready to get down. And as we are so accustomed to by now, Robert Kirkman isn’t afraid of kicking you in the gut, so anything can happen at this point even if it means we are just beginning this event.
Finally, I can’t end without mentioning the art of this issue which I am happy to say is better than it has been in a long time. One thing that I was looking forward to was seeing Charlie Adlard give up inking duties in an effort to put out more books. And oh boy has this payed dividends. Adlard’s pencils are as iconic as ever while the inking duties of Stefano Gaudiano pay excellent homage to Adlard’s work. It feels great to see Adlard dedicate himself to only pencils this time around. I get the feeling that he was scared to let go if this integral part of his art, but at the same time felt liberated. The details in the art shine through. I hope this is the status quo from here on out.
While not as great as the last few issues, we are off to a great start of what is sure to be a great event.