Review of The Walking Dead #96

“You volunteered us for that?”

***Contains Spoilers***

In case you forgot what happened in our last issue, Rick had just saved the life of Gregory(the leader of the Hilltop community) by killing his attacker. The folks that live at Hilltop aren’t used to seeing this sort of thing and react poorly. Fortunately Jesus is there to save the day and settle everyone down. Gregory gets taken away to get medical care while Jesus explains the real situation that Hilltop is involved in.

Basically there is this guy called Negan who heads up a group called The Saviors. He is running a pretty heavy protection scheme. I mean from what Jesus says they do keep the area fairly free of roamers, although they also kill people and take half of Hilltops supplies. Rick and the others immediately see this as a sign of weakness(something they tend to look down on). Carl comes up with a great idea, “If we kill all the bad guys, will you start giving us half of your stuff?” Jesus agrees to think it over. Later that night Rick goes for a walk and stumbles acorss the funeral pyre for the guy he killed. He gets a punch in the face and Jesus chews out the puncher.

In the morning Rick is in a good mood, at this point I think he has started to formulate the vision he talks about at the end of the issue. He talks to Gregory about Carl’s plan. Rick and his group will take out the Saviors and in exchange they will get a portion of Hilltop’s supplies. Michonne and Andrea aren’t thrilled at the idea. Rick calms their fears by giving a hopeful speech about the future. The way he sees it is that if they can establish order than their community and Hilltop and several other survivor groups can all start to rebuild the world. “We can finally stop surviving and start living.”

I do agree with Andrea when she called the people of Hiltop pathetic. This Negan guy shows up and strong-arms Gregory into giving up half of their stuff. No one has ever seen Negan with more than 20 guys, that could be all he has. I do think it is pathetic, but I am not sure that it entirely Gregory’s fault. Remember that for most of the time since the zombie apocalypse Rick and his group have been on the road. They have had to fight the undead and the living every day. Carl, while only being an eight or nine year old is a seasoned warrior in this world. He understands the dangers of this new world and has adapted to survive. Andrea, Glean and the others are all used to the fighting. The people of Hilltop have been living in relative peace, sure they don’t have all the comforts they used to, but they have a walled in community in which they feel safe, they have food(although they give half of it away), and they have good relations with othercommuniteis. This is why the folks of Hilltop quickly give in to Negan’s demands. They are afraid to fight, because it is not in their nature. They are so used to not rocking the boat that when Rick kills someone(even to save the life of their leader) they are horrified, they even look at Rick as some cold blooded killer.

I think Rick may be getting ahead of himself. I mean I think that the basic deal is good. Rick’s group does not have anything to trade other than their fighting skills. They become the army for the communities and in return they get food and stuff. The part I do not like is that they know nothing of Negan’s group. It could be 20 random guys who may have a handful of weapons and are just good at being intimidating. They could be a well-armed, trained para military force that number sin the hundreds. I like Rick’s vision, it is a vision of hope and of building a future. I just think that he is looking to the horizon so much that he might trip over something right in front of him and land flat on his face. Still, I thought this was a pretty good issue and I am sure Kirkman has something great in store for the 100th issue

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