Robert Kirkman's epic adventure continues in THE WALKING DEAD #170. In this issue, we see fantastic character and plot development, while Charlie Adlard shows off his talent as usual.
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Return of the City

THE WALKING DEAD #170 does what the series does best: it develops multiple plot lines revolving around our heroes. We see Eugene and Michonne’s group heading north, while Maggie and company return to the Hilltop. The drama between Rick and Dwight still lingers, and Negan is still being stalked by Dante. While there is mild action in this issue, the internal drama of different groups is played up. What’s best? Our heroes moving north make it to an abandoned city, and it’s as creepy as it sounds. Robert Kirkman continues to show off his knack for dystopian storytelling.

Strong Plot Development Drives THE WALKING DEAD #170

Image courtesy of Image Comics

The issue starts off simple enough. Michonne informs the party they’re traveling through the safe zone, so all should be relatively quiet. Eventually, they leave their own territory and make camp for the night. Siddiq is left on the night watch, and Eugene winds up catching Magna and Yumiko sharing a sleeping bag. Instead of giving them privacy, he winds up parking himself to watch, until a shriek is heard: the dead have arrived. Michonne fights off one while Eugene kills the closest to Siddiq. Siddiq is beyond thankful for the save, and it’s at the end of the issue that we realize why the man is so grateful. But before this reveal, the group makes it to the abandoned city and sets up camp atop a building. There is nothing but the silence from below surrounding them.

READ: Need a recap? Here’s our review of THE WALKING DEAD #169!

Meanwhile, we see small snippets of plot development in other areas of the story. Rick has Jesus keep an eye on Dwight, just in case he tries anything. But a bit later, Jesus tells Aaron that Dwight seems to check out. The conversation between these two lovers is actually quite cute and touching and really reminds you how much we as fans have invested in these characters. Similarly, there’s a scene where Maggie is looking off into the distance, ignoring all the words coming out of Brianna’s mouth. It is hinted Maggie’s thoughts are with Dante, but there’s no clear indication.

As Always, Kirkman Delivers Drama

THE WALKING DEAD is a soap opera with zombies. There’s no way around that. And it’s not a bad thing, either. Robert Kirkman is considered the zombie guy, but really, he deserves more credit than that. His drama amongst our heroes is so fascinating. The second guessing, the heroics, the betrayals: it is so entertaining to read. In THE WALKING DEAD #170, we see the tiniest glimpses of certain plots, and it’s enough to keep me on edge. An example of this is when Dante follows Negan to Lucille’s grave. It’s so simple, and it shows how much of a maniac Negan is, but it’s also so precious. And it makes us wonder: where does Negan go next?

READ: Need more non-mainstream comics? Here’s our SDCC 2017 interview with indie writer Jeff Lemire!

My only real complaint with THE WALKING DEAD #170 is the lack of banter within the group traveling north. The group’s clearly worried. As a result, they’re consequentially quiet. But I feel more emotions and stories should be brought up. It’s an odd enough group for it to happen naturally. I still hardly know a thing about Magna and Yumiko, and that’s ignoring their revealed relationship. So while Kirkman is great at developing characters, I wish he focused on minor characters rather than major ones. It would help the reader invest in more of the story, too.

Charlie Adlard’s Artwork Continues to be Intriguing

Image courtesy of Image Comics

It can be hard to comment on Adlard’s artwork each issue. It’s so consistent and, honestly, he’s drawing very similar scenes depending on how Kirkman constructs the plot. But in this issue, we get something we haven’t seen in a while: a city. In fact, this is really worth talking about. As you flip to the page containing this image, it immediately catches your eye. The gang stands before a bridge (is it Pittsburgh?) and contemplate going around. The steep skyscrapers, the menacing bridge, the illuminated moon amongst a cloudy sky. All of these images stand out in Adlard’s artwork. And it’s been so long since we as readers have seen a city in this series. It’s almost breathtaking.

Final Thoughts

THE WALKING DEAD #170 is an obvious must for fans because, at this point, there’s no skipping an issue. But as I said in my review of #169, it’s as if Kirkman is going back to the basics. In fact, this is even referenced by Michonne after the nighttime attack. This was when the series was not only exciting but also mysterious. We had no idea who the enemies would be. We had no idea where the protagonists would wind up next. That’s what’s happening now, and it’s absolutely spectacular. I’m extremely curious what the city holds, and I’m even more curious about Siddiq’s revelation to Eugene.

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