By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back to Typing on The Dead, Bleeding Cool's Walking Dead recap. This week as you may have heard is all about our warring factions coming together and talking to resolve the conflict between the Hilltop and the Saviors. Get ready for some politicking and as always *SPOILER WARNING* for the remainder of the article.
The Walking Dead #125 by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard
We pick right off from last issue with Negan and Dwight around the campfire, Dwight right off the bat is a little put off about Negan's plan for Rick.
Negan really doesn't care what Dwight thinks and proclaims how normal it is to urinate on the corpse of your fallen foe. Negan is so sure that Rick has been infected that he seems calm and causal, believing he's won the war. Not even the bad news that Carson has turned on them and escaped the compound with Eugene can bring Negan down from believing he's won.
Jesus and Michonne aren't having quite the relaxing time Negan and Dwight are, with the noise stirred up in battle, zombies have been moving toward their position en masse. While trying to dispose of the unwanted undead, Eugene and the Savior defectors show up and make life a little less convenient for zombie disposal. Jesus tells Eugene to abandon the vehicle, but it's no good as they're loaded up with ammunition.
Meanwhile in the Hilltop hospital, Nicholas having been infected by a Savior knife is dying and having to come to terms with it. We get a very human moment with his wife Paula who is terrified of losing her husband. Nicholas goes through a range of emotions, from not wanting his wife to see him in the poor shape he's in, to being scared of the very real threat of dying. Rick, Andrea, and Carl are looking over Nicholas' son Mikey and feeling guilty about his dying father. Andrea isn't sure Rick should even be up, but he's convinced he hasn't been infected. Rick then reminds Andrea of the family credo.
Paula exits Nicholas' room and comforts her son while Eugene and Rick have a surprisingly short conversation about his escape. Carl decides that Mikey having just lost his father could use some advice from a long time survivor.
Carl lets Mikey know about the feeling of loss and how easy it is to lose the feeling of being scared and sad. It's a very adult moment from Carl which Mikey doesn't seem to understand.
Rick then convenes a meeting with his alliance assuring them that he is both alright and prepared to win the war. Rick now knowing he's not sick reaffirms that Dwight is on their side and is ready to use Negan's confidence that he's dying to their advantage. Rick believes if he send out a group to meet with Dwight they can outflank Negan while engaging him head on.
Maggie has a quick word with hardworking blacksmith Earl Sutton, who I'm positive is working on an Army of Darkness style metal hand for Rick. Maggie then speaks with Brianna who gives her an update on Hilltop morale, she lets Maggie know that the community is scared to death, but no sooner does Maggie acknowledge that its ok to be scarred then Negan comes calling.
Negan, expecting Rick to be dead, has come to negotiate the Hilltop's surrender. Negan gives the people of the Hilltop a nice speech about having their asses handed to them and tells them it's time to be buddies again. Rick goes over his game plan with the group one last time and lets Andrea and Carl know that they shouldn't interfere. The three share a hug and Rick is ready to shock Negan.
Negan looking like he's seen a literal ghost is shocked to see Rick up and walking. Negan comments on the fact that he's ready to put things back the way they were even without using Rick's corpse as restroom. Rick makes his feeling on the matter clear as can be.
Negan again shows that he's not a sociopath and lets Rick know he doesn't want to do this, he didn't really want to bash Glenn's skull in, but he's prepared to do it again if need be. Rick however is done playing with Negan and lets him know how he really feels again.
Negan is caught off guard by the comment and for the first time in the series really looks like he's at a loss for words. Rick lets him in on the fact that they need to move past this war and that humanity is to precious a resource to be squandered fighting each other. Negan tells Rick that he's only trying to restore order to the world, that he's keeping people preoccupied so they don't see what a mess the world has become. Rick tells him that's a lie that they have a world to share and Negan and the Saviors need to do something productive. Negan still stunned by the prospect starts to see Rick's vision of the world for the first time. A world where they can establish safe roads, places where farms can be set up, and a happy environment for their children and families. Negan, shocked by Rick's peaceful vision, is almost ashamed of everything that's happened, even calling himself a hungry dog squatting on supplies.
Negan, having seen a brighter future, looks like he's ready to work with the Hilltop and not against it, until Rick attacks him with a knife to the throat.
So, after the last few months of nonstop action, the diplomacy issue turned out to be a pretty big deal. There were a ton of little moment this issue that felt like it could lead to major character deaths in the All Out War finale. It seems Rick was extra interested in keeping Andrea out of the line of fire as well as making sure Carl didn't get involved despite his obvious desire to. We see Negan again being very human this issue, after his plans for Rick didn't work out he's ready to call the whole war off and go home. Even the admission of not wanting to kill Glenn but doing it out of necessity was getting back to the softer more reasonable Negan who we have just started to get glimpses of. Negan's whole world view being shaken seems like it came from a place that he felt people couldn't be trusted, yet three communities came together to fight him.
Obviously the biggest moment again took place on the last page with Negan getting cut. I couldn't help but notice the blade Rick used looked an awful lot like an infected Savior weapon. So is Negan in for the fate he had in mind for Rick? I know this might sound a little out there, but what if Negan has some sort of immunity? Maybe I'm just grasping at straws, but Negan has been my favorite villain in the books 10 year run so the thought of seeing him go is a little sad to me, but I guess we truly won't know anything until next issue. My feeling on the whole issue can be summed up by Negan very succinctly.
So only one more issue to go in All Out War, start taking your bets on who lives and who dies because I have to believe if Negan is going down, he's taking someone down with him. Right now I feel like the smart money is on Negan, Ezekiel, Maggie, Andrea or any mix and match of the four. I don't think this is where we say goodbye to Rick, the potential for future stories with four large communities and whatever side wins has interesting implications. I don't think we'll be seeing the death of Eugene or Jesus as they fall under the Tyrese roles of having interesting story arcs that haven't been explored yet.
That's all for this issue, you can check out my other regular column, Live(ish) From The Games Shop which is neither live or in a games shop but will tell you about the weeks new releases. I also write comics and game articles which you can find out about by following me on Twitter @John_Laryngitis where I won't shut up about them and occasionally make a joke about NBA star Chris Bosh looking like a dinosaur.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from New Jersey's coast who's an automatic diplomatic. If you'd like to commit some crimes and claim immunity, contact him @John_Laryngitis on Twitter.