I’m not sure how much longer Robert Kirkman can stall. He’s doing a great job of stalling, providing stories that are still really great, but it’s been 11 issues since the last really big event, and now, there’s nothing to justify the slow pace. Every issue, it seems like Kirkman is gearing up to deliver on the next big event in the next issue, but it hasn’t happened yet. And that kind of sucks, because we’re getting a lot of “preparation” that seems, in many ways, unnecessary, and will probably go on for a while longer. Still, I can’t help but love each issue, despite the feeling that it would all work better as a collected edition, like many of Kirkman’s stories do. That said, with The Governor, a character very similar to Negan, Kirkman was able to deliver exhilarating issue after exhilarating issue, and even when they thought he was dead, Kirkman was fleshing out characters like never before. And with the most of the main cast dead – only Rick, Carl, Andrea, Michonne, Sophia, and Maggie remain – that development has slowed.
And right now, it’s needed more than ever. Olivia, Ezekiel, and Jesus are all characters that deserve to be better fleshed out than they are. They’ve gotten some development, but I’ve really been hoping for a little more. Hopefully, in time, that development will come, and when it does, it will be issue after issue of amazing character work. But for now, I’m not seeing it, and that annoys me. Even Negan, the main villain, really hasn’t been fleshed out all that well. He’s an evil person that lives to take things from others, but right now, that’s all he needs to be, a brutal antagonist. His arrival at the community was unexpected, but welcome, as it gave the people there some new plots to explore, finally. Over in the Kingdom, the only thing that’s really been happening is that everyone’s training. That’s alright for now, but it can’t remain this slow paced forever.
There is a slightly major death at the end, and it’s brutal and horrifically disgusting. That said, I really don’t think it was worth anything more than a little shock value. The series does need a little shock right now – perhaps more than a little – but the death didn’t really feel like it pushed the story forward. Sure, it was another showcase of Negan’s brutality, but do we really need more of that? I guess, in a way, it could be seen as Negan not wanting Rick dead, and that could certainly be interesting. I could really see that leading into a cool Joker/Batman esque rivalry between the two. Would that be interesting? Yes, it would be great, but it’s not happening now, and, really, nothing else is happening now either.