Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Walking Dead, Volume 21: All Out War Part 2 Review (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard)

The first half of All Out War was exciting, fast-paced and ended on a great cliffhanger – Rick and his group were on their knees, their colony bombed to hell with grenades, and Negan and the Saviors were at the door on the brink of victory. So you’d expect the second half to hit the ground running, right? Wrong! Robert Kirkman totally flubs the finale and ends up writing a tedious, contrived mess of a comic!

First of all – what the hell happened in between the last book and this one? The bad guys were outside the walls of the colony, but now they’ve backed off for no good reason and gone back home – why? They were winning! They needed one more push and they’d have won! For some reason Kirkman’s sent Negan and the Saviors back to their base so that Negan can tell everyone to dip their weapons in zombie gunk so even if they don’t kill the person they hit, they’ll end up turning into zombies anyway (which is a ruthless but decent idea, to be fair).

This gives Rick and co. the chance to make it, en masse, to Hilltop for the final stand when Negan, written up ‘til now as this brilliant tactician, should’ve really stayed where he was, outside of the gates, and ambushed the ragtag group on their journey, finishing them off. Sending him away for no good reason was totally nonsensical!

Things get momentarily exciting once the action finally restarts but Negan is once again out of character, suddenly making bad decisions that make his forces vulnerable when they don’t need to be – they have the upper hand throughout!

Then the story returns to the steady monotonous lull until Rick and Negan eventually meet face to face for a final confrontation. But what should be an amazing showdown becomes a total wash. This new, stupid Negan is feebly outwitted by Rick in a way that he wouldn’t have been in earlier books. It was simply a ridiculous way to end All Out War. Though I did like that there was a twist to Negan’s fate which sets up some potentially fun future storylines – that is unless Kirkman screws those up too!

I fly through some Walking Dead books but unfortunately this one was one of those where I kept putting it down and doing anything else instead. I got through it after three sittings but what should’ve been an edge-of-the-seat read was mostly full of yawns. All Out War Part 2 is a disappointing and clumsy conclusion to the Negan story arc.

The Walking Dead Volume 21: All Out War Part 2

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