Life After the Zombie Apocalypse is Nasty, Brutish, and Short—Or Is It?
I am an avid watcher of the TV show, even though it has never been as good as the comics. It’s two biggest problems may be a complete inability to have any kind of sensible ethical/moral debate among the characters and poor characterization (believe it or not, characterization is about more than trying to trick the audience into caring about the death of a minor character). No Turning Back shows signs of the former but not the latter.
Major SPOILERS for the preceding comics, especially Vol. 24, and mild spoilers for Vol. 25.
No Turning Back collects comics #145-150.
No Turning Back is all about the fallout from the Whisperers attack in comic #144. A dozen people from the Hilltop Colony, Alexandria Safe-Zone, the Kingdom, and the Saviors have been killed, their reanimated heads left on stakes to delineate the Whisperer-defined border between territories. The other settlements haven’t found out yet, but the people at the Alexandria Safe-Zone and the ones visiting for the fair are enraged. I mention above that the show isn’t good at characterization, or more precisely, little moments that establish and develop character. The comic is phenomenal at it. In particular, the comic is great at showing a lot without having to tell a thing. We see the pain from the Whisperer attack through a series of panels showing the survivors’. No dialogue, no action, and none needed. It’s beautifully done, and befitting the stark horror of all those characters’ heads lined up on stakes to close #144.
The real problem is Rick’s reaction. No, Rick, responded to an unprovoked (this was about a threat to Alpha’s leadership, not a threat to the Whisperers) attack is not morally equivalent to the unprovoked attack and does not make you the same as them. Nor does executing someone who tried to assassinate you. And, yeah, after you ran off half-cocked after Carl you should probably show a little more sympathy for people demanding action.
He does come around, but even that is a bit jarring because it highlights how off the initial reaction was. I won’t say much more to avoid spoilers. Again, this volume is all about setup. And I can see some very promising things that Kirkman can do with that setup.
We don’t yet get a lot of talk about how to deal with the Whisperers (ignoring them is now off the table). The settlements have pretty much been ignoring walkers except to, er, herd herds past the settlements. Both will have to change. How can you ignore a walker who might be a Whisperer? How can you herd walkers when a Whisperer can slip out and kill one of the herdsmen? The real danger from the massive herd that Alpha showed Rick is not the number of walkers themselves, but that the Whisperers can intersperse themselves into the herd.