Warning: Spoilers Dead Ahead!
After the controversial ending of Robert Kirkman's twelve part event, "All Out War," wrapped up last issue, he sends us all two years into the future and starts "A New Beginning."
I am not going to lie, seeing characters that I have been following since the very beginning thrust two years into the future was a little jarring. Some of their physical appearances have changed so much it was hard to find their "voice" as I read along, especially Rick's!
Most comic stories that make dramatic jumps in time are merely for gimmick reasons. It is to foreshadow things to come, bring back a dead character or, worst case scenario, work around a horrible plot that failed commercially. This is not the case with The Walking Dead. Robert Kirkman has progressed the story two years without upsetting the overall tale of the story in any way. It is directly related to the events that happened in "AOW" and even if you haven't been following TWD for very long, you can follow and enjoy this tale without missing anything. It is crafted to be the perfect stepping stone for those that have never ventured into the world Kirkman has created and still will enthrall ravenous fans with every page!
Kirkman has been promising "BIG" changes to the world of TWD this year and we can finally see what he means with this issue. It is no longer about a group of survivors struggling through the world searching for a safe place to stay and some scraps to eat. Kirkman has officially changed the entire scope of his book to include the rebuilding of civilization itself. There are communities, families, trading, farms, schools and careers all being built and it gives the book an air of hope that has never been felt before. Kirkman adds so many new layers to characters this issue as well. Rick has become the older, wiser leader that exudes strength and hope through his community and has acquired a new way of utilizing both hands! Andrea has grown as the more physical leader of the group and as Rick's "right hand woman," makes sure that all is well with construction and roamer corralling. She has also become "mom" to Carl as well. Carl has emerged as the budding teenager, seeking to become his own man, and has begun to ask certain questions a father may find uncomfortable answering. Whom he asks instead, is a great ending that is both shocking and fitting and is sure to be all the buzz at the water cooler tomorrow.
With the introduction of new characters, the future exploration of fan favorites and a new logo to top it all off, this issue was perfect on all levels. It was fascinating to see how the characters progressed not only by themselves but as a community as well. Some may complain about the two year jump and that they want to see how the characters got to this organized world. I say reading two years worth of planting seeds and training people to ride horses does not keep readers interested in your book.
This was an overall great great book for fans and new comers alike, a book that will re-energize Kirkman's entire franchise!