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Walking Dead #104: Negan Ain’t No Governor

Robert Kirkman's once-strong series continues to limp along in circles.

Walking Dead #104

The Walking Dead continues to limp along with issue #104. Let’s face it, outside of a few great issues, this series hasn’t come close to the “Prison Era” of the series. Since then, it’s been one repetitive storyline after another. Now, writer Robert Kirkman is trying to reinvent his greatest villain, The Governor, with Negan, a tasteless copy who has zero depth or charisma. Where The Governor’s psychosis was rich with insanity, off-the-wall ideas and brutality, Negan is more like some frat jock asshole with too much power. It’s boring and when the enemy is boring, the entire series falls apart.

In Walking Dead #104, Rick continues with his unnecessarily convoluted plan to make everybody but a selected few think he’s just bending over for Negan. The idea here is that when Negan shows up, he’ll be convinced they’re afraid, which will make him vulnerable. Rick has engaged the services of Jesus to track one of Negan’s men back to the camp, in order to gather intel for an attack. Of course, as soon as Andrea gets mad and threatens to take away the pussy, Rick tells her everything. Yeah, don’t tell Michonne, your greatest confidant and fighter, but tell the emotionally unbalanced girl that you’re banging. Smart move, Rick.

Issue #104 opens in the middle of Negan’s visit to the enclave of Rick and his crew. Negan makes a bunch of boisterous comments, swaggers and then leaves. Meanwhile, Carl has stowed away on the back of Negan’s truck with a giant machine gun. As that all goes down, Jesus is captured but, before he can be taken in, he escapes. Now the guy who captured him needs all his buds to stay quiet about the escape, to keep Negan from becoming pissed over it. Inside the camp, Kirkman unleashes more clichés. It turns out, shocker of all shockers, that Negan’s men are abused and whipped into submission. GASP… does that mean maybe at a precise moment in time they’ll rise up against him? Wow, that’s never been attempted before.

Carl, filled with piss and vinegar, jumps out of the car and starts shooting the place up. He threatens to kill everyone if they don’t give up Negan. So, what does Negan do? He loves it. Why? Because he’s “craaaazzzzyyyy.” This is what The Walking Dead has been reduced to – more plot devices and cheap tricks to try and keep the book relevant. Oh, it didn’t goose everybody to kill Glenn in issue 100? Then we’ll stick the little kid into a position of gunning people down to show how “insane” The Walking Dead still is. It’s obvious and it’s boring.

If there is really going to be another 196 issues of Walking Dead, Kirkman needs to take it into another direction and make it a strong one. If it was up to me, I’d have Rick die at the end of this arc, with Carl cradling him in his arms, then jump ahead fifteen years. The world has settled into its aftermath and has become split into territories. One of them is controlled by Michonne who is older and growing unable to lead her territory. Scared she will lose them, she heads deep into the woods to find Carl, a man who grew to become an incredible leader before he left it all behind to be alone. Let the last 190 issues be an entirely new world. At 104, the adventures of Rick and his crew have become flaccid.   

And I still hate the art

 

4

(2 story, 2 art)