The Walking Dead #161 cover by Robert Kirkman, Charles Aldlard, Dave Stewart

The Walking Dead #161: The Whisperer War Peaks

Tomorrow, December 7, 2016, sees the release of “The Walking Dead” #161.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil a thing.  Though I will show the cover in the next section, which is a kind of spoiler, if you haven’t been keeping up.  I warned you.

I’ve been enjoying “The Whisperer War” thus far, as Robert Kirkman starts pulling the triggers on all those guns he’s been hanging on the wall for the last year or so. This war has turned into a big conflagration, and it isn’t without its victims, or potential victims. (Part of that is left hanging at the end of this issue.)

Kirkman and Charlie Adlard paced this out very well, I think. When things hit their crescendo in this issue, the comic whips itself into a furor. Things happen fast and furious, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what was coming next. You can feel a certain cinematic quality to the scenes as panels cut back and forth across different parts of the action. The 16 panel pages work well.

It’s like that montage part of the movie where the ominous music plays while the action slows down and we quickly cut back and forth to all the players.

In comics, we call that a double page spread with 16 or more panels.

And then things quiet down, but is it just the calm before the next storm?

Of course it is. This is like a Marvel crossover event. They don’t happen in isolation. They exist to propel the next one into existence. And you don’t have to buy a dozen tie-in books to get the whole story! Bonus!

The amazing thing Kirkman and Adlard do here is take any measure of victory and throw up a hundred question marks behind it — on both sides. No matter who thinks they’ve won, they still have worries and problems to deal with. That’ll keep the story engine chugging along nicely.

That’s also good trick to be able to play when you’re on part five of a six part storyline…

So Very Much Walking Dead…

The cover is kind of a spoiler.  But I can only non-spoil you so far.

The Walking Dead #161 cover by Robert Kirkman, Charles Aldlard, Dave Stewart

My biggest problem at this point is just in keeping track of everyone and every location. The cast has certainly grown a lot in the last couple of years, with three different strongholds, a new group of bad guys, and ever-shifting loyalties.

I want to go back and reread the last batch of issues to better refresh my memory on every character and their relationship with others, but (A) I don’t have the time and (B) I wouldn’t know how far back to go. Even if I started again with the issue where the time frame jumped ahead a bit, there’d still be some lost context for many characters.

Yeah, it’s a bit overwhelming at times. We’ve come far from those earlier issues with a half dozen key characters running around, looking for safety. Now we have three separate towns’ worth of folks.

It’s impressive that I can remember as many of the people in the book as I do…

“The Walking Dead” is always the first comic I read when the opportunity presents itself, and a great example of how maintaining a regular and frequent schedule can help your book so much. This week’s issue is no exception. It’s only because I’m quickly growing into a tired old man that I can’t remember all the details anymore.

This bring up a whole ‘nother point that I’ll cover in a follow-up post…


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