Cassie’s Image Comics Review: THE WALKING DEAD #97

After hearing about the new nemesis/the Big Bad Negan, Rick and company come across a faction of his gang, sending them a message to take back to their leader. Back at the Alexandria Safe-Zone, things are tense for Abraham and Eugene, who plan to find ways to make their own ammunition, while Maggie keeps a secret, and everyone eagerly awaits the return of the others.

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In Kirkman’s newest arc, which he promises to be the “craziest” one yet- how that’s even possible I have no idea- things are looking up for the world before Kirkman immediately crashes all our hopes. As much as we would love for Rick to live in his optimistic zombie free bubble, that would make for an awfully boring series. There needs to be some conflict.

Throughout “Something to Fear: Part One”, it looks like there’s a lot to fear from the man terrorizing the Hilltop, Negan. If the cover is any indication, his rough and tumble gang poses a serious threat to self-assured Rick and whomever else helps him deal with Negan. The covers that accompany this arc are particularly striking, and all feature faceless figures armed with an assortment of weapons, one of whom Kirkman has teased might be television series fan favorite Daryl Dixon. So much to look forward to in this one arc! See the full Daily BLAM! article on that here.

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At the Alexandria Safe-Zone, the community is at a church service where the pastor is praying for the safe return of Rick, Andrea, Michonne, Glenn, and Carl who is missing. At least they notice, unlike some television mothers that might come to mind. ::coughLORIcough:: What struck me most in this scene was that despite being stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, the community still makes the time to go to church every Sunday. You would think with the end of the world would come the end of a belief in God. Abraham explains this later on, when he mentions to Eugene that most people go solely for the human interaction. It's an interesting insight into the post-apocalyptic world nonetheless.

After we see Maggie clutching her stomach in pain, an obvious sign of a plot line to come, the Eugene, Abraham, Rosita love triangle is turned into fodder for Eugene to taunt Abraham with. This may complicate their plan to locate ammunition-making supplies together. Finally, as Rick drives back home talking with optimism about a world free of roamers, they are accosted by Negan’s motorcycle gang, a group of strange criminals who all claim to be Negan. You read that right. We are in for a whole lot of pain and some weird with this group.

Charlie Adlard gives us some nice dichotomy between Rick and the pastor from the issue opener, literally drawing them in the same location from the same point of view. Much like a pastor, Rick brings guidance, strength and hope to the community. It seems like they will need all of these things, as the issue leaves off on a cliffhanger that tells us the Safe-Zone has a lot to be fearful of.

Story: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
Cover: Charlie Adlard
32 Pages/FC
$3.50
On Sale May 9, 2012!

4-5 Stars