==MINOR SPOILERS July 11, 2012== Woke up early and arrived at Ultimate Comics here in NC by 9 am, having been one of the more eager promotional fans of the long awaited issue 100. As I arrived, the store was obviously celebrating the release by promoting it's WD special items(toys, coffee mugs, raffel to win the bad ass Hyundai, etc). I immediately approached the main table to find ALL 9 covers patiently awaiting my purchase(nine due to the double copies of the chromnium covers and the Negan cover that fits the volume spread). As I eagerly bought the copies, a coffee mug, the first issue of IMAGE'S new series REVIVAL and a Michonne w Rick action figure set, I suddenly began feeling an overerwhelming sense of dread as my card swiped for credit in their machine. Thinking this was due to the bill, I just purchased and left the store happy once again.
I drove to set in Raleigh and had some down time so I decided to browse through my new comic after deciding that the Zombie Rick cover was my favorite. The pages turning was like holding butter in your hand while laying in the sun, melting by and by until a series a terrifying and tragic events unfolded leaving me in a state of dread yet again. I won't reveal the contents of this, though I'm sure it won't matter but I will NOT be the one to spoil it. However, I wish to reflect on these tragedies by expressing my feelings of the issue's execution.
As most fans know, this issue marks the popular Walking Dead comic series one-third marker out of its 300 issue run. This would understandably make ANY fan go cuckoo for coco puffs as it did for me, especially with the teaser "Lucille Is Coming". I will not lie, do NOT get your hopes on that as it is the issue's only let down, however badass of an irony a certain character in the panel may point out as a "joke". The series has lead to this collision of Rick's caravan group encountering the long awaited villain known only as Negan. His brutality, psychopathic tendancies and eerie tongue-in-cheek persona goes beyond that of the Governor in many ways.
The issue does involve death and it does NOT hold back on the gruesome details. However, its not what you expect. To be frank, the words you read telling the story are far more shocking than the actual scenes themselves. Negan is a badass psycho, with no qualms about the lives of others who do not further his endeavours of racketeering. His quirky sense of humor and brutal presence alone shows just how bad Rick and the Alexandria Safe-Zone survivors have pissed him off before introducing Lucille to the crew.
I was never truly disappointed in this issue though I did find myself instantly wanting more. It drew such a blank, gaping emotion by the final page I seriously began stalking the alleged notes of Kirkman over this story arc. The main cast within the caravan we all know so well by now; Rick, Carl, Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, Sophia and Alexandria new-comer Heath, each one presenting a different face for the brutal badass Negan to dig his teeth into. It wasn't too shocking to learn that Negan's crew, the Saviors, had intercepted them overnight despite the cliffhanger last issue that they would be attacking Alexandria Safe Zone where Andrea holds down the fort. They were shown to be dealing with various things in the opening panels which have seemed odd and even calm compared to the caravan. However, they could still very well attack it next issue as it was nighttime during the occurence.
After the shocking and most brutal moments, the page turned to Letter Hacks which I instantly dug my eyes into hoping for decent clues as to what would happen next. I was not disappointed and I feel like something much bigger is coming the survivors way. This may seem impossible to those who have kept up with the volume but trust me when I say, there is way more to the Saviors than meets the eye.
KEY FAVORITE POINTS: Negan's speeches concerning the roles of each survivor as well as his tongue in cheek attitude(I see him as the first character who may talk to the reader). The opening panels of the remaining ASZ survivors living rather peacefully. The fact that Saviors prefer melee over firearms anyday, save possibly for Dwight.
Buy this issue when you can, it is definitely a prize for any comic fan, let alone the die-hards of the series itself.
Spoiler time: PREDICTIONS
After reading issue 100... I'm believing that Paul "Jesus" Monroe is a traitor who sold out Rick's crew by bringing them into the Hilltop drama. Not only did two Saviors mention a new unseen character named Paul, but the fact Rick's crew made note of how long the trip to Hilltop was taking due to Jesus not being there just seemed weird. The guy is a great warrior and a badass but he's too convenient to simply be an ambassador for the Hilltop colony who have appeared to be a pretty much passive group in issue 95. Whether or not I'm right about this I just feel like his appearence is way to easy, especially after the passing of powerhouse Abraham and Rick's "right-hand" Glenn. Another clue to this is the uncanny means of communication amongst the Saviors, who seem to know EVERYTHING going on in the survivors group. Didn't it SEEM like Negan was kinda aware of everyones role?
Alexander Davidson will VERY much be a part of the Saviors story arc but not Negan himself, as he would've recognized Heath who had known him from his time in ASZ. He is most likely a delta-team leader if not Negan's go-to guy. Who knows? He may very well be the hero who saves everyone from the Saviors, making a complete character flip.
Finally, who will die next... the way its going I smell a massacre somewhere so I'm helping. Knowing that the caravan is still on the road and ASZ is open, Negan and his crew or another group of Saviors may attack the community and with the limited amount of badasses present(Andrea, Holly, Eugene, possibly Rosita, Eric and Aaron may be the best they have left) they will have a run for their money. My money is on Andrea for shock value or possibly one of the ASZ veterans: Eric or Aaron for recon/muscle reasons and Denise Cloyd for her value to Heath and doctorate.