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The Walking Dead #82

Posted by Luke Brown On March - 14 - 2011

You knew the peace and comfort that Rick’s friends had found wasn’t going to last long. Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard continue shattering the worlds of their characters The Walking Dead‘s latest arc “No Way Out.” Though dozens of questions are raised, one question in particular keeps standing out: How is it possible that a story eighty-two issues in still manages to surprise and interest me as much as it did nearly seven years ago?

The Walking Dead #82
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn

If you’re a bit late to the game, let me catch you up quickly. Unlikely as it may have seemed, Rick and his group of survivors were invited to join a community of other outbreak survivors just outside of Washington, DC. While there, they settled into a somewhat normal life, though Rick, Glenn, Andrea, Michonne, and the rest were very still playing by their own rules. Though they never truly assimilated with the town, Rick’s people quickly became functioning members of this closed-off society. There were a few bumps along the way, but no amount of planning had them prepared for an assault from the undead. Recent events had drawn the attention of just about every single nearby roamer, and now the once secure development is under siege. The survivors are all split apart, and things have never looked more dire for the living.

Though the undead have been roaming the Walking Dead world for quite some time, we readers never really got a chance to see what the ensuing chaos was like for the living. Despite the survivors of this little suburb having lived through so much already, the streets themselves were serene, and almost too calm. It’s only once the barrier wall begins to break, and the zombies pour in, stumbling over one another just for the chance there might be some flesh on the other side, that you begin to see what Kirkman and Adlard have been building to. We’ve all been watching Rick so closely over these years, that sometimes we take what he says for granted. When people tell Rick how “amazing” he is, or how great he is at leading, I’ve always taken his denial as Rick being modest. Pushed into yet another corner, it appears that Rick has actually been 100% honest with everyone the whole time. He’s always said he puts his family first. When the stark reality of this issue’s closing moments hit me, my perceptions were shattered. I’ve been believing Rick to me the man I want him to be, but this whole time, Rick has just been Rick. He didn’t break. He’s been broken. Despite all the signs and allusions to his true motives, I just never noticed until today.

What’s really great about this issue though is the way the creators are able to combine the action and carnage with incredible character moments. The Walking Dead has always maintained a wonderful balance between character studies and intense action, but since so much of the past few months has been reliant on the smaller moments between survivors, I had forgotten just how brilliant both Kirkman and Adlard were are juxtaposing two people talking with a zombie’s head exploding. “No Way Out” is as bleak a title as any story arc has been given thus far, but for the first time in the series, I actually feel like there might not be a way out for many of the familiar faces I’ve come to know. I’m okay with that. Even if they happen to kill Rick. If they happen to off Andrea though? Then I’ll start writing angry letters. Until that day, the creative team on this book can count on my continued support.

This issue and arc have been perfectly paced so far, and like every other single issue of the book, ends on one doozy of a cliffhanger. Kirkman and Adlard are telling one of the most amazing stories of this generation, and their ability to continually leave me, and countless other readers, on the edge of our seats is impressive. I’m continually captivated by the scenarios these characters are faced with, and after this issue, it’s clear that Kirkman and Adlard still have what it takes to keep this book fresh. Just remember, in the ever-changing landscape of The Walking Dead, no one is safe. Not even the reader.

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