The Walking Dead #165 is the perfect follow-up issue to its predecessor. While the Negan/Rick scenes aren’t as big—or as important for that matter—as the ones in Issue #164, the time that the unlikely team spends together is golden. Yet again, they’re coupled up and are working to eliminate the walker horde, and yet again, one of them comes close to biting the big one but is saved by the other. This time around, writer Robert Kirkman chooses to shift the focus from Negan and Rick to the other members of the group but does so in a way that is satisfying. During this shift, Kirkman makes sure to ‘check-in’ with Rick and Negan, and in doing so, avoids ‘abandoning’ them to write about the others.
Despite all hands being on deck, the seemingly ever-increasing horde of walkers challenges the defenders of Alexandria, and several times throughout the issue, I found myself feeling nervous. The Walking Dead #165 perfectly encapsulates the idea that walkers can’t taste a character’s popularity, and in Kirkman’s eyes, all his characters are equally dispensable. No one is safe, and it is this thought, I believe, that makes The Walking Dead so great.
Charlie Adlard’s art in The Walking Dead #165 is stellar. I especially like the 16-panel pages that Adlard incorporates into the issue, as these layouts give their respective pages a sharp, staccato feel that works extremely well depicting the chaos of the situation. I also greatly appreciate Adlard’s attention to detail while illustrating the walker-riddled panels of this issue. Adlard’s work here—along with Stefano Gaudiano and Cliff Rathburn—suffocates and terrifies in the most pleasant of ways.
For me, this is a nearly perfect issue, and the only thing that is missing is that haunting “Pick you jaw off the desk, Holy S***” moment that we all love. Don’t get me wrong, Kirkman does slip in a surprise or two, but I wasn’t blown away.
The Walking Dead #165 is intense and should not be missed.