The Walking Dead Issue #168: The Road’s End Recap and Review
Well we’ve had a full month to digest the events of the last issue, and though it was a hard pill to swallow(I’m still pretty upset), the show as they say must go on. So, did Kirkman and company pull another ace out of their hat for this one? READER BEWARE!!! There will be SPOILERS AHEAD for Issue #168! So if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, what are you doing!!! Get to your favorite comic establishment, or download a copy and get to it!
The issue opens immediately after the end of #167. Still distraught, Rick‘s group make their way back into the town to begin the arduous job of burning the bodies of the walkers and starting the massive cleanup. Dwight lets Rick know they have to get the gate back up and as he does so, Rick starts to apologize for the death of Sherry, but Dwight stops him, telling him they both lost something.
John, who was Sherry’s second in command steps forward and calls Rick out, letting him know that they saw Andrea come in wounded and that because they respected her so much they helped with the cleanup. He then lets Rick know he is sorry for his loss. Rick tries to convince him that they should return to the way things used to be, when John asks where Sherry is. Rick tries to keep from him the fact that Sherry is dead and tells John to remember what it was like before. That John doesn’t want them as an enemy. John once again asks where Sherry is.
Rick has no choice but to tell him that Sherry is dead. John gets visibly upset and points his gun at Rick letting him know that whatever peace they had left is now gone with Sherry. Suddenly everyone lifts their guns. Dwight draws his pistol and tells Rick to get inside, but Rick tells everyone to stay calm, they will be able to work it out. Suddenly, Negan appears and tells Rick he’ll handle it. Dwight looks at Rick surprised and Rick tells him that it is okay.
Negan spreads his arms wide and tells John and the rest of Sherry’s group that they are ungrateful and they need to put their guns down. He lets them know they are alive because of two people, him and in his words Rick MotherF—- Grimes. He proceeds to say that he knows how they feel, they want their freedom, and that they are mad and want revenge for the death of Sherry. He then offers them a proposition. He asks them if they want to go back to the way things were under his rule which concerns Dwight. Rick tells him to wait and see where Negan takes things. Negan continues saying they should think about those days, how everything worked on a points system and their supplies and food came from people bringing it to them and how much those people hated them for it, but at the same time feared them.
He gets off on a diatribe about a sex act with a foot, which surprises everyone. As they look on at Negan, Mark one of Sherry’s followers kneels in front of Negan, presumably taking his offer. No one else kneels down in front of Negan, defiant. Negan makes a fist and backhands Mark knocking him to the ground. He asks Mark why he would want to go back to the way things were after he took an iron and cooked the side of his face. He then goes to John to tell him he always liked him, and that at the end of the day, he knows he doesn’t want to go back to Negan’s rule, and that he really didn’t want to follow Sherry either. He tells him that breaking off from the network is the same as going back to rule under him. Negan then says to John that he knows he’s not going to avenge Sherry, and deep down John is actually relieved she’s dead.
John lifts his gun to point at Negan. Negan says he knows that emotions are running high, but it would be a mistake for everything to break down into a massive battle. He says that Sherry needed problems even when there were no problems, so she made them, which led to the situation they now faced. He tells them to head back home under peaceful circumstances and the fact that Rick will let them do that without repercussions should prove to them what kind of person he is. Negan then says for them to stay in the factory he made livable for them, and that when the time comes that Rick needs help, they will come and help.
John’s group turns and leaves peacefully, and as they do, Negan turns to Rick and offers his condolences for the death of Andrea. Rick looks at him as he walks away trying to figure the man out. As cleanup continues, Andrea’s body is brought out to be buried and Carl and Rick embrace tearfully. The survivors repair the gate, and have a funeral for their dead. Jesus lets Rick know they found Gabriel dead hanging upside down, having been killed few issues back by Beta. Eugene says it was his fault that Andrea died, but Maggie tells him it wasn’t.
After the funeral, Rick is sitting in his house when Carl and Lydia come in. Carl says he is sorry, but Rick doesn’t respond. Carl puts his hand on Rick’s shoulder but Rick just sits there quiet. Carl says goodnight to him and he and Lydia walk out leaving Rick alone. Rick finally gets up takes off his shirt and prosthetic arm and walks outside. He goes to the graveyard and lays down on the freshly dug dirt of Andrea’s grave.
So, there you have the recap, but what did I think? This issue was a nice cooling off period after the emotional farewell from the last one. We see the two groups come together to help rebuild and cleanup, and Negan step up as a master negotiator. Does Rick really trust him? Maybe, maybe not. We will find out soon enough I believe. The very last panel is almost as emotional as the entire last issue. You can see how much Rick cared for Andrea, I would even go as far to say that he probably cared for her more than Lori. Kirkman really did a great job in writing that final panel, and a big kudos to Charlie Adlard for the fantastic artwork as always. It’s going to be nice to see where the story leads to now. We know that The Whisperers are still out there, and that there is always something lurking around every corner in this world.
Finally, if you don’t read the Letter Hacks at the end of the issue, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not taking a look at the small love letter Robert Kirkman wrote to Charlie Adlard and the rest of the team of this book. It really is great, and you can see how much he appreciates all the work.