Review: Walking Dead #90

Robert Kirkman hits a bump in the road with this odd duck issue of his great ongoing zombie story.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Walking Dead 90

I’m not really sure what to make of Walking Dead #90 other than it’s one of those bumps in the road issues that a great series will hit from time to time. It’s a filler issue, one where nothing happens and nothing moves forward. Those issues can go unscathed, except that writer Robert Kirkman has filled issue #90 with these lengthy and pretentious scenes that have no place in the ongoing story.

I understand that Kirkman is trying to show how frayed the wires are within the gated community that Rick Grimes and his crew have ended up living in. The tensions between the residents are hitting an all time high and it’s clear that something is due to blow on the horizon. Kirkman wants to raise the emotions to a fever pitch but issue #90 does exactly the opposite.

Opening with Rick Grimes holding a gun on the man who wanted to drive him from the gated community, issue #90 starts with such promise. Then, almost instantly, the promise dries up in lieu of multiple speeches about how hard it is to live after the zombie apocalypse. The first speech is Rick talking to the community member at the other end of the gun. He talks about working together and being a community. Jump from that to Rick with his son Carl and a lengthy speech about what it means to be strong and how Carl needs to try and let everything go and be a kid again.

The man from speech #1 returns to give his own speech about how he was nothing and he’s afraid he’ll be nothing again. Moving along there’s speech #4 and #5 and so on and so on. Kirkman tries to give this long-winded issue a powerful ending by having Rick kiss Andrea, but ruins it with some very bad dialog that actually uses an analogy between the living dead and Rick’s feeling like he’s dead inside.

Each of the speeches works to set up why the community is tense but it fails to actually set up any tension. Part of the problem is the structure.  There is no flow to any of the pages, it’s all just exposition stacked up on each other. This is why this character is feeling tense, this is why Rick is upset, here’s Carl’s problem, here’s a quick set up as to why the alpha male of the group might go up against Rick, etc, etc. The pieces are being set up for the next story arc but in a clunky fashion that seems beneath Kirkman.

Nothing here is going to derail how good Walking Dead is but it could mean we’re hitting one of those lulls that can make the series hard to get through. The Kirkman Loop always pays off but sometimes it can be incredibly drawn out.  Issue #90 could be an indication that readers have a long ten issues to get through before the big bang I’m sure is coming with issue #100. As always, I didn’t like the art at all.