By Jared Cornelius
Welcome Back to Typing on The Dead, Bleeding Cool's Walking Dead recap column. In an almost complete tonal shift from last issue, this month is nothing less than an action packed spectacular. For the last few months Kirkman's been giving us a lot more slices of life in his rebuilt society at the cost of some of the book's signature edge-of-your seat action and drama. Well not this issue gentle reader the action's back and payoffs abound! As always *SPOILER WARNING* for the remainder of the article.
The Walking Dead #132 by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard
Last issue, Magna and her group wanted answers from Andrea, who is now willing to be accommodating.
Magna orders Kelly to let her go and they make their way to living room where they can sit and talk. Magna tells Andrea they'll be there for a while, but Andrea lets Magna know that if anything happens to her, Magna and her group will not leave Alexandria alive.
In the neighboring community of Hilltop, Rick and Maggie are enjoying a sunrise on the balcony. The two friends take in the simple pleasure and are joined by Brianna and Hershel. Sophia and Carl soon follow, talking about their game of chess. Rick asks Carl if he has unpacked, and Carl tells him he has. Carl asks why they're watching the sunrise and says it's boring. The group agrees with a content smile.
Meanwhile, Dante and his crew have been cornered in a remote barn and need a plan of action.
One of the men says that they can fight their way out, but they won't know what they're fighting into. Dante tells them they're dead if they stay in the barn, so it doesn't matter. The group makes it out of the barn, and form up for battle. The three men group up and call out their steps so they can fight their way out while keeping tabs on each other and forming back up. They successfully dispatch the initial wave of zombies with these tactic and get ready for more. While taking out the next wave of undead, something curious happens. Someone else is talking.
Dante hears something, but the other two men are distracted by combat. Dante shrugs it off at first and tells them to take out the stragglers. That is, until one of the zombies tries to stab them. Dante says it's impossible that a zombie tried to stab them, but it's confirmed when another zombie blocks a killing blow.
Doug gets so freaked out that he tries to run, but doesn't make it far before one of the zombies stabs him in the back and finishes the job with several knife thrusts to his upper body. Distracted by Doug being stabbed, the other fighter takes a blade to the throat. Dante takes the fight to the zombie that stabbed Doug and gets a strange response.
Dante's so enraged by the response that he cleaves the creature's head off. Another zombie comes from behind but Dante kicks him in the stomach sending it to the ground. Dante's taken back by the situation and asks how the beast can talk.
The zombie takes a stance for battle and crosses swords with Dante. The two battle, but Dante comes out the victor with a stab to the head. Dante takes it all in for a minute and comes to the realization that the dead were actually talking. He starts to look over the bodies and makes a shocking discovery.
Dante starts to open the stiches and peels off the creature's face to reveal what was a living human wearing zombie flesh. Dante checks over another body and finds the same series of stitches. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't keep his eye out for more, as another human wearing zombie flesh gets the drop on him with a shotgun, telling him not to move.
Wow what dramatic shift from last issue! There's not a ton of dialog in this issue, but it feels substantial in its reveals and potential. Kirkman started off addressing his cliffhanger with Andrea, but didn't manage to get very far. I'm sure Magna's not going to be real happy about being threatened, but what do you expect when you ambush the community's first lady?
The quiet sunrise at the Hilltop might have been a way of signifying the dawning of a new day in the series, with Maggie and Rick representing the old and Carl, Sophia, and Hershel being the new. It certainly feels like new problems will be coming for the long-tenured characters.
Obviously, the biggest thing this issue was Dante and his crew taking on the semi-undead. Firstly, I always think it's interesting to see the tactics they've developed for dealing with the undead. From the herding skills they've come up with, to the battle tactics, it makes sense that after being overwhelmed so many times, people come up with solutions. Calling out locations and never going more than five steps before regrouping seems like a well thought out way to deal with a common threat.
Of course, the dead fighting back and talking was the biggest shock. Kirkman did an amazing job of teasing a potential new status-quo for the dead and letting us think it was the case right up until the end of the issue. The eventual reveal of living humans wearing the undead skin was still a huge shock and seems like an incredibly dangerous tactic from potential new enemies. I'd say it's a move that's on par with Negan's chemical warfare from All Out War.
With the question of the dead talking out of the way, Kirkman's set up a whole new mystery in who's behind the horrific zombie mascarade. Are they Negan's followers? Is it the Saviors? Is it someone completely new? Whatever the case, I'm interested and can't wait for next month for to see if Kirkman leads us down another dark road.
That's all for this month, you can check out my weekly column, Sweet Release! where I tell you about the weeks hot new games. We're in the fall release schedule so there's a ton of them. I also visited Retro Con in the Philadelphia suburbs, and I wrote something of a travel log about my experience so be on the lookout for that. Until next month, Stay Gold!
Jared Cornelius is some guy from the Jersey coast who's excited for his mini vacation to Rhode Island this week. If you want to see pictures of delicious New England cuisine follow him on Twitter @John_Laryngitis