The Walking Dead’s “All Out War” came to a surprisingly calm conclusion.
Once again, Robert Kirkman stirred controversy with his seemingly unconventional end to a long, bloody battle.
[Issue 125 and 126 SPOILERS AHEAD]
Rick shocked readers at the end of last issue when he savagely slit Negan’s throat. The Walking Dead message board ignited with polarized reactions. Many cheered for the return of Rick-the-regulator, while others jeered Negan’s sudden compromise. Other readers accurately predicted Negan’s wound was superficial.
After urging the Saviors to stand down and promising to save Negan’s life, the tables quickly turn on Rick. Only dizzying blood loss stops Negan from finally killing Rick, but not before he snaps Rick’s leg. His ploy for peace nearly cost Rick his life.
Mercy and civility prevail and all sides are happy. Ironically, everyone but Carl immediately recognizes the wisdom of Rick’s decision to spare Negan’s life .
Carl’s eventual resignation to his father’s peaceful resolution is an important turning point. Rick’s decision to spare Negan is just as much about saving Carl’s humanity as it is creating harmonious communities.
In the apocalypse, Carl quickly adopted a kill or be killed sensibility. His survival depended on it. In this issue Rick moves Carl past mere survival towards a meaningful existence. This father-son relationship has always been the core of The Walking Dead, so altruism is Rick’s only option. It is the only path for Carl’s evolution.
Readers who think Negan gets off too easy must remember his tremendous pride. To watch the world flourish in his absence will be torture.
This happy ending raises more than a few questions. Did Carl internalize Rick’s moral lesson, or is he biding time until he can secretly kill Negan? Will the Saviors blindly follow Dwight back to The Sanctuary, or will they avenge Negan? Will Negan’s life sentence endanger the survivors, or will he break under defeat?
You can post your The Walking Dead Issue 127 predictions in the comment section.