Friday, 20 October 2017

The Walking Dead: Here's Negan! Review (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard)

Heeeeeeere’s.... an obvious cash-grab! Ahhh, who can blame Image, eh? The Walking Dead is their Batman/Spider-Man - that they haven’t exploited it as much as DC/Marvel have their own properties is pretty remarkable in itself! So, in order to make their Image+ magazine successful, a short, serialized Walking Dead spinoff starring the title’s best character, Negan, was included. And it wasn’t bad! 

Here’s what you need to know: it’s Negan’s origin story. And an unnecessary one it was too! Because I think that great villains - and Negan is a great villain - shouldn’t have backstories. The Joker is the ultimate badass because his origins are unknown (though that’s shortly to change, thankyousofuckingmuch Martin Scorsese!). Any old school WWF fans? Weren’t the heels that much more compelling because they came from “Parts Unknown”?

And if you read the latest Walking Dead book, Volume 28: A Certain Doom, what Negan discloses to Rick of his past in that scene was more than sufficient - we didn’t need to see any more. Everything else that happens here - getting the bat, the jacket, teaming up with Dwight (the Norman Reedus/Daryl character who was included in the comic after the TV show became mega-popular), and starting The Saviors - is just a tick-box exercise. 

The book does give Robert Kirkman the chance to humanise Negan in a way he hasn’t been able to do in the main series. And we learn that Negan’s character wasn’t totally formed post-zombie apocalypse - the ridiculously-excessive swearing and the casual attitude to sex were pre-existing - but generally there’s not a whole lot here that’s surprising. No prizes for guessing who Lucille was! It is a fairly mundane origin though that does take away some of the mystique surrounding the character which is a shame. 

Still, it’s a perfectly readable book and worth a look if, like me, you’re a fan of the character. Charlie Adlard’s art is fine, there’s some decent zombie action and, at a mere 70-ish pages, it’s a quick read. And don’t even think about reading this one unless you’ve already read the Negan Walking Dead books - this is a fans-only one-off! 

If you read The Walking Dead and want more Negan, well, Here’s Negan! But it’s also totally peripheral so you can skip it entirely and not miss out on anything if you just read the main title. Me, I thought it was a fine but I also would’ve preferred if Negan’s origin had remained untold indefinitely.

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