At Tuesday midnight, many comic stores across the land, will be opening especially to sell The Walking Dead #100 in its many and glorious covers. San Diego Comic Con will open with the launch of The Walking Dead #100 as the entire show becomes, basically, Walking Dead Con. Previews of season three, the Walking Dead Experience, watches, toys, promotions, signings, anything and everything Walking Dead.
But at it's heart is a comic book. Published monthly by Image Comics, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. And we have its One Hundredth issue. $3.99, extra sized. Which I have just read, thanks to my comic industry tentacles. I will be doing my best not to spoil this comic for you. I won't tell you what happens. But I may tell you what does not happen.
For a start, I was expecting the comic to show us what happened to the encampment that Rick and his crew had been settling into for the last couple of years, when Rick left in issue 99, and the local ne'er do wells watched him go, waiting, biding their time. I was expecting a massacre, and for Rick to return to find everyone in the encampment dead
This did not happen, Not in One Hundred anyway. Instead we got a very different story.
This is one of those issues that you will really be glad is in black and white. Because it gets bloody. Very bloody indeed. And quite, quite detailed. Charlie Adlard isn't an artist known for his doodling qualities, he's a big brush stroke kinda guy. Jack Kirby more than Frank Quitely, Sean Phillips more than Moebius, Frank Miller more than Geoff Darrow. Well, I wish he'd have been a little more big brush stroke this issue, because man, he goes into detail here, in just the kind of scene that is going to turn stomachs. Sometimes, with the extended characterisation, you forget that The Walking Dead is a horror comic. You don't forget this with issue One Hundred.
Seriously, Charlie, you could have upturned a pot of ink onthat one page and spared us the horror. But, here's the thing – it's not just the what, it's the who and the how and the way Charlie portrays people in those private moments, a glance between two folk who you've grown to know and love, does just as much to rip your heart out as, well, as scene with someone ripping their heart out.
Note, there are no scenes in The Walking Dead #100 where someone's heart is literally ripped out. That was an illustrative example.
People will be eagerly bounding to buy this comic, will slap down their ford dollars with anticipation and find a seat, a corner, a floor to start reading, straight way. Watch them, there's no waiting to read this comic. You're in.
And some will start shaking. And some will start crying. And for some, Barney Stinson will be there with a box of tissues, an arm round them saying "there there, I know, it's horrible" while offering a thank you prayer to Robert Kirkman.
This comic is a microreflection of the series as a whole, a Mandelbrot Set of a comic book, in that there are consequences for your actions. They may be unseen, they may be random, but when you take unilateral, executive, bold action, the ripples spread. And in a world where society is no more, they spread even further. The zombies are one threat. But just as they keep shuffling along, so do the ripples or an action. And they bounce back in a far more destructive way. As ever, it is the cast of the comic who are the true Walking Dead.
No more true than in One Hundred. Man, that's a good comic.
So yes, I guess this wasn't exactly a review. But here's the thing, I've got a copy, Other people have copies. Shops get copies tomorrow to sell on Tuesday midnight or Wednesday day. People work at those shops. If you want an element of surprise to be left, just stay off the internet till you read the damn thing. Aside for Bleeding Cool, the front page articles at least will be a One Hundred No Spoiler Zone, until late on Wednesday when we're in San Diego and, even then, we'll use really big spoiler warnings just in case…
The forums though? Yeah, I'd really stay away from those…