The Walking Dead #102 Review

Cover Image

The Walking Dead #102 (Something to Fear Part Six) written by Robert Kirkman, penciled and inked by Charlie Adlard, gray tones by Cliff Rathburn, lettering by Rus Wooton, and edited by Sean Mackiewicz is a beautiful addition to the Walking Dead story. I was pleasantly surprised when I read this book. While I have been a fan of the Walking Dead TV series for quite a while, I’ve only really read a handful of issues throughout my comics-collecting career. Whether due to the fact that I found out about it after the TV series was live and many of the books were quickly bought and taken out of circulation, or simply because I started late collecting comics, I can safely say that these books are superior to your standard run of the mill comic.

This book for example, with barely any action at all still manages to pack in tension and drama into almost every single panel. The writing by Robert Kirkman is outstanding, to say the least, and in a way, it makes all the sense in the world to have him as CEO of Image because the man is a writer like no other. Just take this beautiful quote from this book for example:

“It’s not your fault when someone dies. It’s your fault when the rest of us live.” It is a beautiful summation of what post-apocalyptic survivors must endure when their lives are held in the capable HAND of Rick Grimes. It’s beautiful, poignant, and sad all at the same time. Couple that with the amazing art by Charlied Adlard and you have a series that not only deserves a TV show but it would be a total and complete shame to now see this in live-action or fully animated.

Enough fanboying for now though, let’s talk about the actual content of the book and the art that lie inside its pages. The art is quite nice, we can see how even though this book is not filled with action, the close-up faces are superb and in it of themselves carry enough emotion and drama to make each portrait panel feel like a punch to your stomach. Normally the grey tones would have been a hit or miss for me, but this series uses it well. Because The Walking Dead is set in a post-apocalyptic time filled with zombies, the grey tones heighten the mood of disaster and sadness prevalent throughout the series, and of course, it also helps to cut down time on releasing new issues, this is one of those cases where less is definitely more.

The cover art by Charlie Adlard and colored by Cliff Rathburn looks wonderful but I can’t help but gravitate towards those bold letters spelling “FEAR” it’s a simple cover but the big black box helps the title make its impact and seeing it carry into the shaded figures body and face really emphasize the fear that’s meant to be felt during this chapter in the TWD series.

Once we open the book we are treated to a short recap of what’s been going on in the previous issues and then we jump right into the story. I think this is something that TWD does very well, I am not a fan of the long intros that take up a full page and will often be left unread by me. I like to jump right into the comic, but seeing this short tweet-length re-cap gives me hope for the dreaded, skippable “Previously on…” text blurbs of the superhero comic world. Another thing that, of course, helps me when reading these books out of order is having seen the show, because I saw the show I know where I stand in the story’s timeline and I think that’s something very good that this series has going for it. Of course not every comic will be able to have its own TV show but having seen this show as well as the countless memes made of it, serve as an external marker for reading pretty much any book I may pick up regardless of its issue number.

There is a tiny weird jump in time from one page to the other that could have perhaps been made better by putting it after a page turn instead of right next to the other scene, but it’s really only a minor inconvenience and feels like a stumble instead of a full-on fall. Still, little things like that are definitely important to take note of when one is a reader/writer/artist and can help us when we’re crafting our own stories.

Speaking of things that could have been made better… The back cover is dreadful. By no fault of the team in this story, however to me, ads in the back of your comic are a sin. When I pick up a book I want to be able to see art all the way around not just on the cover, the back cover should feature art as well. Yet on this particular book, we see an ad for Image’s ComicCon book of 2012 and that could have been left for the inside of the book instead of for the back cover. Not only is it distracting from the collecting aspect of the book, but it’s outdated so it’s currently useless information. Flip that with the timeless picture and quote opposite this page and you would have had a great back cover instead of a boring one, and you would have still told your followers where to find you because if they really care they would have read the book all the way through and would have seen the ad anyways. That being said, I want to make a special shout-out to book one of Dawn: Three Tiers which has the cover of book 2 on the back of book one with the date of release of the second issue. The reason this works so well as an ad and as a back cover is that you basically get two beautiful covers for the price of one which looks great, but you also get information on what the next issue might be about which makes you all the more likely to pick it up.

All in all this book was a wonderful read and I am happy to add it to my collection. My favorite page has to be the penultimate page with everyone walking away in anger. It carries so much emotion and really shows you how all the characters feel regarding Rick’s decision. It also helps to convey the feeling of loneliness that our fearless leader must feel at times.

I rate this book a: BOOM! (4/5) for its magnificent writing, tension-filled pages and drama-fueled close-up shots.

Purchase other great comics like this by writing to Ton’O Comics on Instagram.

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