The time has come. The forces are aligning. The war has begun! Has Rick brought about the demise of everything he’s built? Or will he triumph once again? Know this… there will be a cost.
I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve had this volume since the day it came out and I never made time to read it. Part of the problem lay with how busy I was and the other part was due to my lack of interest in the previous issue.
Fortunately, things are finally starting to come to a head in this volume of The Walking Dead. Negan returns to Alexandria with the head of Alpha and seems to be determined to prove himself. I’m not entirely convinced he’s been rehabilitated, but I’m curious to see if perhaps he will eventually find a place with Rick’s group.
Alpha’s death is a huge blow to Beta and the rest of the Whisperers. According to their customs, Negan should become the next Alpha or Beta should step into the role. Instead, Beta uses the opportunity to declare war on Rick and the rest of the survivors. Rick and the rest of the communities are aware of the threat that is coming their way, but they are a bit sidelined as the Saviors refuse to help out the cause.
The first battle of the war is full of a lot of death and gore. Sadly, the first victim was Father Gabriel. While he has never been one of my favorite characters, I was a bit surprised by his death. As a sharpshooter for the group, he is the first one to spot the large herd as it approaches the frontline. He foolishly tries to climb back down and falls, breaking his leg and leaving him completely exposed to the herd and the Whisperers hidden within. Beta takes the opportunity to stab him in the gut and let the walkers finish him off. This is a gruesome why to go and I flinched at how horrible it must be to be that vulnerable at the end.
One other significant “death” in this volume is Negan’s beloved Lucille. As the bat shatters in the fight, he’s left mourning the loss. However, based on the things he says as he buries the bat (I kid you not), it becomes obvious that the bat represents someone real that he lost. I recently purchased the It’s Negan!, which is supposed to cover his backstory. So I’m curious to see the birth of Lucille.
I’ll avoid anymore spoilers, but I can assure you this isn’t the end of the war with the Whisperers. As the survivors return to Alexandria, they are surprised to find Rick highly concerned when they state that they destroyed a herd of a thousand walkers. This is because he saw a much larger herd and is fully aware that this is only the first wave.
Overall, this is was a more entertaining volume in this series. I’m thankful for more action and movement in the plot. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay motivated or engaged when you are dealing with filler books.
If you’ve read the series, what are your thoughts on the death of Father Gabriel or Lucille the bat?