Review: Walking Dead #88

The latest twist in Robert Kirkman's story is starting to feel a bit desperate to keep this concept fresh.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Walking Dead 88

When Walking Dead first began a friend of mine said point blank, “How will they keep this up? I mean, it’s going to start to get boring after a while.” I scoffed at the time but now, years later, I’m starting to wonder how long Bob Kirkman can keep it up. The last few issues of Walking Dead seemed to be setting up for the end, the final years as humanity attempts to take its place amongst the ruins of what it used to be. I realize writer Robert Kirkman is known for twists and turns, but his latest twist seems a bit desperate. Walking Dead is still one of the best reads out there, but the end of this issue gave me a feeling that it could become something that has to stay out in order to sustain the TV show, board game, figures, novels, etc. What happens at the end of Walking Dead #88 isn’t huge. It just doesn’t feel right.

In addition, I’m not particularly fond of what’s being done with Rick’s son Carl. After being shot and then comatose, Carl comes out of it with a spotty memory about everything that has happened. At first that idea seemed kind of cool, but in issue #88 it falls apart. When Rick is forced to tell Carl that his mother and sister are dead, Carl’s reaction is just too easy. He sits for a second and then says, “That’s okay, mom feels gone”. Instead of going for Carl having no memory and having to experience the terror of the new world again or being a vegetable or totally devastated by the news, Kirkman just has him accept it. It felt like an easy way to keep Carl around so, when a shock is needed, he can be further abused.

Most of this issue is the group attempting to get food and dealing with the fallout of the last attack. The twist, the one that makes me uneasy, comes when a few of the people from the communion decide that Rick is going to get them killed, so it’s time to make a move against him. Really? When did this all start? All of a sudden it’s time for Rick to go when he hasn’t done anything but protect the town? How oddly abrupt for a series like this. Other than deaths of major characters, nothing in Walking Dead has ever been so random. The last few pages stick out like a sore thumb from everything else readers have been shown.

A war in the town would keep the series going, but then what? Would it end gracefully or be reduced to eking out easy plot twists. The strength of Walking Dead has always been that Kirkman sets things up, lets this new world move into place before erupting into violence. This idea of a mutiny has had no build up – there hasn’t even really been a mention of people not liking Rick. Hopefully, I end up eating crow – something I’d much rather do than admit to my friend Kirkman kept the book going with easy answers and sudden plot devices.