Sunday, August 9, 2015
The Walking Dead Volume 21: All Out War Part Two
Publisher/Year: Image, 2014
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Collects: The Walking Dead #121-125
(I realized that I missed this after I had already wrote my review for volume 22.)
“All Out War (Part Two)” is the harrowing ending to the long, bloody war between Rick and his civilization and Negan and his Saviors. Going into “All Out War”, I expected something similar to the conflict with the Governor many, many issues ago. In the end, however, Kirkman and company threw a pretty big curveball.
All Out War wasn’t necessarily about the brutality and the conflict between these two forces. It was more about re-establishing the universe that The Walking Dead exists in and giving the characters hope of living in a habitable world. It’s something Rick has been espousing for a while in these later issues. With the conflict’s conclusion, it seems like a distinct possibility.
There are some clever strategies used by both sides in this collection that makes for suspenseful and entertaining reading. However, some of the character arcs don’t really lead anywhere. The whole war, at times, feels like it’s bridging the gap between this man vs man world to the supposed new world order of man vs undead that the series seems to be heading toward. I’m not necessarily complaining. I’m all for taking the series in new, interesting directions and I approve of doing that with a 12-issue long war. I would have preferred some tighter character arcs and improved storytelling. However, if I’m wishing for those things 126 issues in, I’m heading for disappointment.
“All Out War (Part Two)” held my interest very well and provided a lot of appetizing action and general entertainment. Some of the character arcs didn’t lead where I wanted them to lead (or anywhere, for that matter) but the series is heading toward a nice change of pace that may well be welcomed. This trade is a must for any Walking Dead fan.