Following my journal opener which covered The Walking Dead #1, this entry covers the issue with the second-most variant covers (20) in this series - #100.
The Walking Dead (TWD) issue #100 (July 2012) shipped with a total of 20 variant covers and had a total order of 379,000 copies. This made it the largest selling single comic of the 2010s decade, the #2 highest ordered comic of the 21st Century so far, and the #1 comic of the century for Image Comics. A special chromium wrap-around cover by Charlie Adlard priced at $9.99 had 31,000 copies out of the total order. This was the peak of TWD 'fever' before Season 3 of the TV show debuted.
The three Saviors seen in issue 99 are complaining about the plan to attack the Alexandria Safe-Zone at dawn. One of them says that he is going to head for an unknown man by the name of Paul, who's group is farthest away. The Safe-Zone citizens are seen praying for their lives. Spencer approaches Andrea while she is keeping watch on top of the wall. Andrea is reluctant to talk to him when he starts to mention her and Rick, possibly thinking he's going to act jealous, but he instead reveals that he's happy for her and Rick.
Eugene is seen mourning over Abraham's grave, while Father Gabriel is in the church praying. Aaron and Eric prepare for The Saviors, taking an inventory of the Safe-Zone's guns and ammunition.
While on the road, Michonne says that the group will not make it to the Hilltop community in time. Glenn is still optimistic about it but they stop the van for the night. As Michonne takes first watch, Rick thanks her for everything, and says they'll have to be on the road by dawn. Rick says goodbye to Glenn, and states that he is happy for him. Later, as Michonne kills a few roamers, Rick takes over her shift.
Rick sits on top of the van, barely awake, when suddenly a man catcher is put around his neck and he is pulled off the van. The perpetrator turns out to be the Savior that Rick spared on the road earlier to deliver a message to Negan. He taunts Rick, before ordering one of the three Saviors accompanying him to signal the rest. The Savior fires his gun in the air. The survivors rush out of the van only to find Rick being held hostage. Before they can even get their bearings, a truck pulls up carrying a massive group of Saviors. A man carrying a modified baseball bat asks for the leader, so the Savior that captured Rick identifies him as such. The man introduces himself as Negan.
The Saviors line up the survivors from the van (Rick, Carl, Glenn, Maggie, Sophia, Michonne and Heath) on their knees. Negan informs the group that he wants revenge for the dead Saviors that Rick and his people killed. Negan then dictates the terms for the group's survival; everything in the Alexandria Safe-Zone now belongs to the Saviors. Negan further states that there is a new world order and that Rick and his people now follow Negan or they will die.
Negan then tells Rick that he is going to kill one of the group to show Rick's people that he is in charge. Negan introduces his weapon of choice for the execution: Lucille - a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. After a long narrative from Negan about who should be killed with Lucille, Negan randomly picks Glenn as his victim by playing a game of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe". Maggie panics as Glenn begs Negan not to kill him. Rick tries to intervene, but Negan snaps at Rick, telling him that there are fifty men surrounding them and they will all die if they try to stop Glenn's execution. Rick and the others remain silent and watch in horror and cry with bowed heads as Negan smashes Glenn's head in with Lucille. The first blow fractures Glenn's skull and pops out an eye (consistent with the TV show 7.01). Everyone cries, looking horrified and angry at Negan. Negan then taunts the still conscious and now brain-damaged Glenn, who reaches out and calls for Maggie. Negan then repeatedly and brutally smashes Lucille into Glenn's head, leaving a mass of broken bone, smashed brains, and spattered blood.
Still crying for his friend, Rick angrily tells Negan "I'm going to kill you. (...) Not today, not tomorrow... but I WILL kill you". Negan gleefully tells him that he won't, as his best chance is right now. He challenges Rick to do so, though ensuring him that as soon as he does, the Saviors will kill the survivors on the spot. He also threatens to have his men gang rape Carl if Rick continues to act defiantly. After slapping Rick around, Negan once again reiterates that he's the one in charge now. He informs Rick and his group that The Saviors will be back in one week to collect half of everything in their community. He turns around, leaving the survivors with Glenn's mangled corpse.
After #1, this is the TWD comic produced with the greatest number of variant covers - there are 20 variants as noted below in alphabetical order:
100 - Adlard and Rathburn, regular cover A
100 - Adlard variant cover
100 - Barnes & Noble Edition
100 - Chromium Edition (wraparound cover)
100 - Convention Edition
100 - Escape Edition
100 - Hero Initiative (LE105)
100 - Hitch variant cover
100 - Lucille Edition (a Retailer Initiative, LE500)
100 - McFarlane variant cover
100 - Ottley Sketch Cover (known as the 'Comixology' variant, LE500)
100 - Ottley Variant cover
100 - Phillips variant cover
100 - Quitely variant cover
100 - Red Foil Edition (LE250)
100 - Silvestri variant cover
100 - Sketch cover
100 - Skybound Megabox Edition (the most-recently produced #100, December 2016)
100 - Second Printing
100 - Third Printing (part of the six-part #97-#102 set showing Negan holding Lucille horizontally; the other five each present as Second Printings)
Of these 20 different covers, the Hero Initiative version is by far the rarest and most valuable with just 105 produced, each with a hand-drawn and signed cover. There are also a few, perhaps 10-15, blank covers which seem to have leaked into the market. CGC will not grade these as they are "unofficial". A separate book called the 100 Project was also produced showing each of the individually-drawn/signed covers.
The next most-rare, at just LE250, is the Red Foil Edition showing Negan's baseball bat Lucille on the cover.
The Lucille Edition and the Comixology variant (Ottley Sketch Cover) are equally rare and valuable, with just 500 of each produced.