Hey all, so I know these reviews are a bit late but like a fine wine these reviews get better with age. This is the first time I’m reviewing two issues in one article but it is in order to catch us up to the current issue. The next issues will be on time as usual.
As always, for anyone that only watches The Walking Dead TV Show or reads the comics but isn’t caught up to the latest issue, you’ve been warned… full extra-large SPOILERS ahead!
BRIEF RECAP OF ISSUE 124
Issue 124 picked up during the battle at the Hilltop. The Hilltop group was able to force Negan and his Savior’s to retreat but only after much of the damage to the city had already been done. Rick was reeling after being shot with what is presumed to be an infected tipped arrow and many other wounded survivors have already begun to show symptoms of being infected. Negan believes that he’s won the war now that Rick is out of the picture. For a full recap of issue 124 Click Here.
ISSUE 125: CHAPTER 11 OF 12
Negan is gloating in woods near the Hilltop zone because he believes Rick is dying. Negan tells Dwight that he’s going to piss all over Rick’s bloated body and Dwight has trouble hiding the look of disdain from his face. Negan picks up on this and tells him to fall in line or there will be hell to pay.
Back at the Hilltop, Nicholas is lying in bed dying slowly. In the last issue Nicholas saves Rick from being stabbed by a Savior but only to be cut with an infected knife himself. Rick believes that he wasn’t infected like the others were, and that he was wounded with an ordinary arrow instead. Eugene shows up and tells Rick that he was able to escape from the Sanctuary with the help of Dwight and a man named Carson.
Rick gathers everyone for a group meeting and tells them that he isn’t sick. Rick believes that Dwight has been helping them from the inside of Negan’s group. Dwight hit him with a clean arrow in order to save him.
Rick is going to use the fact that Negan thinks he’s dead as an advantage. Rick wants to split up his remaining forces into two groups with the hope of surrounding Negan when he returns to attack.
Just as soon as Jesus, Michonne, and a few others make their way out of the Hilltop does Negan and his group show up. Negan promptly ask for the Hilltop’s surrender stating that Rick is dead and that they therefore have no leadership. Rick steps out from behind the wall and surprises Negan. Rick walks up to Negan unarmed and alone.
Negan is surprised but continues to try and strike a deal with Rick. Negan wants the war to end but still wants the Hilltop to give his people half of their supplies. Rick refuses and continues to insult Negan. Rick tries to reason with Negan by proposing that they’re two factions work together. Rick tells him that if he wants half their stuff then he needs to trade for it; he can’t just have it anymore. Rick’s hope is that they can try to recreate life before the outbreak.
Negan reluctantly considers Rick’s proposition and starts to open himself up to the idea of a more perfect society. Just as Negan let’s his guard down, Rick pulls out a knife and cuts Negan’s neck.
ISSUE 126: ALL OUT WAR SAGA CONCLUSION
Negan quickly holds his neck and drops to one knee as blood continues to flow out of him. Rick tells the Saviors’ that the war is over and that he has a doctor in the Hilltop that can save Negan as long as they drop their weapons. Negan refuses to go down without a fight and tackles Rick to the ground. This shows you how much of a wild card Negan is in that he refuses to surrender even though he’s been mortally wounded.
Dwight orders the other Saviors to stay out of it but Jesus and his group attack from the woods. Negan gets the upper hand on Rick despite losing massive amounts of blood. Within all the mayhem, Negan grabs Rick’s leg and breaks it before finally succumbing to his injury and passing out.
Dwight walks up to Rick and Negan and grabs Negan’s bat Lucille. Dwight tells everyone to stand down. He assumes leadership of the Saviors and tells them that if they want to survive then they will follow him. The Saviors stop fighting and listen to Dwight. Dwight tells them that they are going to head back to the Sanctuary and that they don’t have to fear Negan anymore. Even though the final battle came to a believable conclusion it was a bit anticlimactic especially when you think back to some of the more memorable battles.
Doctor Carson runs up to Rick and tells him that they have to move quickly in order to set his leg but Rick refuses and tells him to save Negan instead. Rick orders the Doctor to save Negan and he reluctantly does as he is told. Later, Rick is lying on a hospital bed while everyone tries to figure out what to do about Negan. Carl and Andrea both suggest that they stage a public execution but Rick rejects that notion. Rick doesn’t want to sink down to Negan’s level and believes that it’s time that they follow the same rules and laws that were in place before the world went to hell. Rick is now thinking about the big picture about re-establishing civilization. This seems like a very bad idea but Rick believes that he will be able to control and lock up Negan without his army.
Rick is standing on crutches as he addresses everyone at the Hilltop and proclaims that the war with the Saviors is over. Rick tells everyone that they need to put all their differences aside in order to remake the world. Michonne congratulates Rick on his speech, later, as she helps him get back into bed. Rick has finally grown into the leadership role everyone in his group had envisioned for him. Even sparring Negan’s life seems like the right move at this point by many in his group.
Andrea enters Rick’s room and asks where Carl is, Rick immediately gets up and rushes to the room holding Negan. Carl is standing over Negan’s body with a gun in his hand. Carl tells his dad that he has to do it and that he’s wrong for letting Negan live. Rick approaches Carl slowly and tries to convince him that they are better then Negan. Carl argues with his father but Rick tells him that Negan will be punished in a civilized way. Carl finally agrees with his father and holsters his gun before he exits the room. Rick notices that Negan is awake. Negan ask, “You have me and don’t want to kill me? So what now?” Rick tells him that they are going to rebuild. Rick tells Negan that he is going to rot in jail until he’s an old man and will bare witness to the new world they build.
It’s hard to argue against Rick when he puts on his Ricktatorship hat on but even I think his decision to allow Negan to live will come back to bite him in the ass. For now at least, it seems that Rick has made the right decision since Negan’s men seemingly don’t want to follow him anymore. Still someone like Negan will continue to be an adversary to Rick even on his own. Part of me is glad, however, because Negan is such a great villain and it would have been a shame to lose him forever.
Issue 125 and 126 brought the All Out War Saga to a respectable conclusion. Even if you were expecting Negan to get his in the end, like I was, keeping him around just a little bit longer is a lot more interesting. There were a lot of big speeches in these two issues but they point the series in a brand new direction. Rick and his group seem like they want to start to reestablish society as oppose to just surviving. I look forward to what the next few issues has in store for Rick and company.
Walking Dead Issue 125 & 126 8.0 out of 10 (Didn’t see that coming)
+ Rick vs. Negan – mano a mano
+ Rick sparring Negan instead of just killing him
+ Dwight is the new leader of the Saviors.
+ Carl wanting to kill Negan but finally agreeing with his father
+ The new direction for the series
– The speeches were a bit ham fisted at times
– The final battle was a bit anticlimactic