Luckily for fans of the zombie drama, the series is based on Robert Kirkman's exciting comic books which have been quite accurately adapted in recent years. Heading into the All Out War storyline which pits Rick Grimes and his surrounding communities against Negan and the Saviors, it looks as though the series will continue to follow the source material.
To prepare for Season 8, or for those who just can't wait to find out what will happen next on The Walking Dead, there are a few key comic book issues they should read.
The last issue of The Walking Dead's March to War story arc is issue #114. It is also the last issue which was adapted to television.
In issue #114, Rick believes his girlfriend has fallen from her bell tower sniping position to her death. Negan has the good guys cornered and it looks like Nicholas or another Alexandrian to the tune of eeny-meeny-miny-moe again just as Shiva and the Kingdom come to the rescue, along with Paul "Jesus" Rovia and the Hilltop.
There are several notable differences in The Walking Dead comics by comparison to the TV show, such as Rick's relationship with the still-living Andrea rather than Michonne. Starting with issue #114 will offer new readers a chance to meet the comic book characters before learning what's next for them.
Starting the arc by having Rick march with all of Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom to Negan's Sanctuary, it appeared the next big fight would be at Negan's doorstep. It all comes to a halt when Negan brings his ever loyal ally out onto the Sanctuary's balcony to reveal Gregory has aligned the Hilltop with the Saviors by warning them of the impending attack.
The events which follow see the setup of Sasha's comic book counter part realizing her death by becoming a walker after being held prisoner by Negan. The death was considerably different in the comics, though, and is certainly worth checking out.
Issue #118 of The Walking Dead comics sees one of the more major deaths of the arc.
The fallen character's name aside, it comes during a raid on one of Negan's outposts. Rick's army has elected to attack the groups which follow the villain but don't call the Sanctuary home every night. During one of the battles, a character is shot and killed. However, the issue also features the growing tensions between Maggie and Gregory at the Hilltop and the cowardly leader tries to explain that the man who killed her husband is reasonable.
More importantly, Shiva saves the life of her master King Ezekiel in an effort that proves costly.
Deep into the war, Negan wants to be sure that any of his weapons striking any members of Rick's group results in death. To ensure this, he covers his bullets, knives, and other ammunition with zombie guts in an effort to infect anybody who might be wounded by them.
Late in issue #123 of The Walking Dead, Negan instructs Dwight to shoot Rick with his crossbow while the two have a clean shot at him. Dwight, looking to remain true to his allegiance to Rick Grimes' against Negan's knowledge, is reluctant to take the shot. He does, though, and pierces Rick's stomach.
Rick is quickly taken to the infirmary where the group realizes all of the weapons have been covered with the germs which cause the zombie virus to activate.
The final issue of the All Out War storyline, The Walking Dead #126, is a surprising end to the saga which is Rick vs. Negan.
In one final battle at the Hilltop, Rick and Negan have a showdown in front of their respective armies. Both characters take on a scary amount of bodily damage. In fact, one of their injuries will stay with them for the rest of the series.
However, the final showdown between Rick and Negan proved to be divisive among fans. Whether you wanted the villain dead or you hoped he would stay alive because the colorful language is fun to read, Rick's decision at the end of the war ws one only a leader of his caliber is capable of making.
Volumes 20 & 21
To read the entire All Out War storyline, picking up The Walking Dead Volumes 20 and 21 is the easiest method.
Picking up with issue #115 and running through issue #126, the two part six-issue each trades encompass the entire fight between Rick and Negan. Knowledge from the TV series will be enough to dive into the comic book story and keep up with it, though picking up with issue #97's Something To Fear arc will be a fun experience for any fan who wants to see the major differences and accuracies when the comics are adapted to television.
With Season 8 on the horizon, the issues are inevitably packed with spoilers for the AMC series of some sort but offer fans the opportunity to learn The Walking Dead's history in addition to getting a preview.
More Walking Dead
With half of a year left until The Walking Dead airs a new episode, stay tuned to ComicBook.com for any news related to the AMC series as it trickles out in the off-season.
MORE WALKING DEAD: TWD Actor Teases Epic Return From Season 1 / FTWD Renewed For Season 4 / Three Actors Promoted To Series Regulars / TWD Showrunner Joins FTWD / TWD F-Take Clips With Rick And Daryl / How Long Until New TWD?
The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October of 2017. The first trailer is expected to arrive at San Diego Comic Con in July. For complete coverage and insider info all off-season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.