The Walking Dead readers knew they were in for a treat when the cover of issue #175 introduced the New World Order storyline but no one was ready for its last pages.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead issue #175 follow!
In publishing issue #175, writer and creator Robert Kirkman once again proves his more than 10-years-old zombie title has more than enough gas in its tank to far surpass a 200-issue milestone. In fact, issue #175 has several feeling of an issue #1 with Michonne sitting in the driver's seat as the lead character, especially given the book's ending.
It's been a long time coming (as most things are in The Walking Dead) but Michonne and her group finally arrive at the community Eugene had been communicating with since issue #151. In the issue published 23 months ago, the wise mullet man met Stephanie over the radio and would sporadically continue talking with her until a meeting was agreed upon. Sufficiently interesting storylines overshadowed the well-woven thread which is proving to be a key for the series.
The commonwealth (the word used by New World Order soldiers to describe their home populated by 50,000 residents) completely reinvigorates The Walking Dead -- a book which wasn't falling flat in any way to begin with. Finally, though, a new group has appeared and doesn't seem to be one which will come and go after a feud with Rick's group. Instead, they might force a welcome change to the book and its characters as they assimilate with a well-established bunch, sacrificing leadership roles to become integrate with a thriving community. Whatever may come for Rick, a man possibly ready to relinquish his power having lost his beloved Andrea, the possibilities are incredibly intriguing.
Still, the commonwealth and its Hunger Games/Star Wars soldier hybrids, nor its representative Lance Hornsby, are what propel The Walking Dead #175 and its ensuing New World Order story arc toward a captivating new story.
The final page of issue #175 sees Michonne, a hardened and seasoned survivor, was completely broken down when she saw a message on a board representing lost and fallen faces. "Have you seen my mom, Michonne," a photo of the character pre-apocalypse read. "If you have information please contact Elodie at the bakery on 6th St."
Suddenly, Michonne -- an integral character to The Walking Dead -- is given the most compelling and emotional story moving forward. Such a statement doesn't undermine Negan's intriguing and painful redemption arc, nor does it take away from Rick battling his losses to remain in control of Alexandria. Michonne possibly finding her daughter adds an entirely new narrative to her future and unmasks her from the shell she had been residing behind.
In one page, Robert Kirkman and long-time artist of the series Charlie Adlard punched all the fans in the feels and set the stage for yet another character to have a meaningful, powerful future. It's an instant connection to the commonwealth for an Alexandrian soldier, now suddenly thinking about everything except going home.
The New World Order arc might just be a new beginning for The Walking Dead as Kirkman's story continues to sprawl across several locations, groups, individuals, and futures. Issue #175 proves, if nothing else, the complexity of the series as it expands into uncharted territory and launches an exciting new chapter for The Walking Dead.