By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back to Typing on The Dead, Bleeding Cool’s Walking Dead recap column. In this week’s installment the war between the Hilltop and the Saviors if finally over for better or worse. Get ready for a fight worthy of They Live, and as always *SPOILER WARNING* for the remainder of the article.
The Walking Dead #126 by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard
After Rick’s shocking attack last issue, Negan is completely stunned.
Rick tells the Saviors that the war is over and he’s willing to save Negan’s life if they surrender, appoint a new leader, and go home. Negan doesn’t take Rick’s attack lying down and charges, spearing Rick in the midsection.
While Maggie calls for snipers, Dwayne is perfectly happy to let Negan and Rick fight one on one. Negan and Rick start trading blows, and Negan eventually catches Rick with a boot to the face and takes him to the ground. While Negan and Rick are in the heat of battle, Michonne and her group from the Hilltop have successfully flanked the Saviors and begins engaging them. Negan doesn’t let up with the kicks and appears to have the upper hand on Rick, while Michonne’s charge against the Saviors appears to be working. No sooner is Michonne repelling the Saviors, then one catches her with a crowbar to the back of the head. Rick tries to get a kick in on Negan from the ground, but ends up getting caught by Negan and is punished for his failed attack.
Negan’s moment of glory doesn’t last as he passes out from blood loss.
Back in the Savior, Hilltop fight Ezekiel looks like he’s going to get clocked with the crowbar as well, but is saved by Dwight, who puts a bolt through the attackers head. Dwight makes a point of getting the bolt out of the Savior’s head, as reinforcements are on the way and he clearly doesn’t want to be seen as a traitor.
Rick still groggy from his fight sees Dwight on his way over to Negan’s body where he proceeds to pick up his beloved Lucille, and declares the war is over and if they want to live they’ll follow him.
The two sides stare each other down for a moment and then go their separate ways. Doctor Carson then rushes onto the battlefield to treat Rick’s broken leg. Surprisingly Rick’s not interested in being treated, and wants Negan saved.
Back at the hospital Rick, Maggie, Andrea, and Carl discuss what should be done with Negan. Carl and Andrea are firmly in the kill Negan camp, while Maggie is unsure. Rick makes the argument that he made to Negan last issue, that they need to be better than him. Rick’s view of a peaceful world seemingly convinces the group that Negan should live, Maggie included, who thinks Glenn would like the outcome.
Rick now firm in his belief that Negan should live, and gives a victory speech to the Hilltop community. He assures them the fighting is over and it’s time to end the, us against them mentality, and that the true enemy are the undead. After his speech Rick and Michonne share a quiet moment. The two friends share a joke and Rick again wonders if he’s done the right thing. Michonne tells him he has a natural leadership and seems content with the outcome. Rick does some prying into Michonne’s personal life and wonders if she’ll return to Alexandria or go to the Kingdom with Ezekiel. The moment is brief as Andrea comes in looking for Carl, both parties thought he was with the other, but have a good idea where he is.
The group finds Carl with a handgun over an unconscious Negan. Carl tells his dad he has to kill Negan, and Rick gets the ladies to leave the two and has a heart to heart with Carl about right and wrong. Rick tells Carl that if he kills Negan, he’s worse than him. Rick reminds Carl that Negan let them both live on different occasions, and they’ve taken lives when they have to, but things are changing. Carl accepts his father’s order and is told to wait outside. Rick asks Negan if he heard the conversation, Negan dazed by the battle and surgery wants to know what’s next since Rick won’t kill him. Rick lets him know that he plans on continuing his dream of rebuilding and vows to undo Negan’s damage. Rick tells Negan his punishment will be watching the world being rebuilt and seeing how wrong he was as he grows old in jail.
Well, I can honestly say I expected none of that. First, I thought for sure Negan had been infected by a Savior knife. Having Rick say he’d save Negan was just a huge shock, but it did take a little mystique out of the fight. I’m honestly kind of happy Negan will be hanging around as a threat, I like the idea of him spreading dissent from the inside of Rick’s community instead of menacing it from the outside. I was also really surprised to see Dwight just pick up the role of the Savior leader. After everything he went through and plotted, is it possible that Dwight may end up being worse than Negan? I think we can agree on the fight between Negan and Rick was pretty great, it felt a little like the comic version of They Live, with a Keith David, Rowdy Roddy Piper brawl.
I think the biggest surprise was that no one died. We made it through a major Walking Dead event, and no one died. I’m not sure if it would’ve added anything to the story, but I felt like All Out War had potential to maybe be a little more than it was. At the end of the day we have the Saviors beaten, and the three communities victorious. What will that mean for the future, who’s to say, but all I can keep thinking about is the better the world gets for them, the more devastating it is when things go wrong.
I have to be honest, I was wrong about a lot of things that I thought were going to happen. Deaths were kept to a minimum, Negan wasn’t infected, and the event ended with a bit of a predictable outcome. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it from start to finish, but I guess my mind’s eye of what was going to happen, created expectations for the outcome. All that being said, cheers to Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard on another great arc. I can’t wait to see where we go next.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from New Jersey’s coast, who’s ready for bed. Tell him your sleep number on Twitter @John_Laryngitis