Walking Dead #129
Written by Robert Kirkman
Pencils by Charlie Adlard
Inks by Stefano Gaudiano
Walking Dead issues in the middle of an arc tend to be the least interesting. It’s not their fault except that it’s an issue of structure, and Kirkman’s writing means that the middle issues are setup for eventual payoff. There’s nothing wrong with it in the grand scheme of things. It’s just that we as readers won’t really appreciate until we know where it was taking us. The fact that this issue is likely tossing the readers a red herring in lieu of further plot developments bogs it down a bit.
Carl is heading off to the hilltop and Rick is going to escort him all of the way. Rick has a brief, nasty exchange with Negan before he heads out, calling him a neutered dog. Rick briefly sees Magna and tells her that they have a prisoner, promising her that he will show him to her when he gets back. Carl gets a note from a girl, Ana, but before his father can get out too many “Oooh-la-las,” the two are set upon by zombies. Rick’s still got it, but he’s a bit rusty and needs Carl to help finish them off. After berating the patrolling guard for letting zombies walk along the main road, Rick continues on his way. Meanwhile, Magna and her gang bust into Rick’s jail, where Negan predictably begs to be released.
It’s a middling issue, mostly because we’re in the build-up to action and activity. I am very, very curious to see how Magna’s group is going to react to Negan’s innocent act. On the one hand, Rick was nothing if not transparent in admitting that the community had a jail and a person who was in there for life. It’s sort of hard to imagine that Magna would disregard all of that and assume that Negan was really just a nice guy. For that reason, I suspect that this is a prelude to further conflict and not the actual drama of this arc. On the other hand, if Magna really is gullible enough to fall for the ruse, it strains believability, but it will at least introduce some entertaining chaos.
Not much else is going on in this issue. It’s sweet to Carl call Andrea “Mom.” Ken and Marco are in trouble and surrounded by zombies, though it’s unclear (to them as well) where they are. Rick’s interaction with the guard Benjamin might be indicative of a transformation over time, a transformation we weren’t directly privy to. Still, getting upset with somebody for letting zombies get by isn’t an irrational reaction. Now we’ll have to wait and see where Kirkman takes us.