On the heels of two absolute home runs, The Walking Dead knocks it out of the park once again with issue #177. Relationships are built, the world is mysteriously expanded, and a potentially threatening but undeniably game-changing new storylines comes into play.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead issue #177 follow.
Rick Grimes, though not a huge factor in the expansive New World Order story arc, starts the issue in a conversation with the young Mikey. With both of his parents now dead, Mikey is primed for possible relevance in a moment which queues Rick up for some self-reflection. In the issues since Andrea's death, Rick has shown himself to be more human than ever before through vulnerability. It's a delicate line to walk with a character so crucial to the book's narrative but comes at a time where other characters carry the burden of progressing the overarching story. It's a well-played pacing act from Robert Kirkman's pen.
Speaking of pacing, it took long enough but Maggie is finally sealing the deal on a new relationship with Dante. This doesn't mean, however, she is moving one from the heavy weight she carries in the form of her love for the late Glenn Rhee. Killed 77 issues ago, the value of Glenn is ever present when Eduardo catches Dante and Maggie in the act and she nearly feels the urge to kill all of the witnesses.
At this point, The Walking Dead comic has replaced action and threats of death with relationships and character death, helping it become more interesting than ever before. This is padded by the fact that most of the characters have thorough histories by now which readers are familiar with and often look fondly upon but Kirkman's continued use of history and background for expansion continues to dazzle.
Back at the Commonwealth is where the story which appears to be central to the story continued. Picking up where they left off, Michonne and her daughter Elodie reveal heartbreaking truths about one another since the fall separated them. While the conversation between the two spares the Commonwealth's leadership of being defined as allies or enemies, it does spring Michonne's role in the series forward, once again. In fact, as a potential civil war brews within the Commonwealth, Kirkman might be priming the core survivors for a divide within themselves as Michonne's heart will lay with her daughter while her daughter's loyalties lay away from Alexandria.
Among the Commonwealth, yet another character with a posh name is brought in, going be Sebastian Milton. He's every bit the mouthy brat possible, living the tough life of rich governor's son with a security detail always nearby. Like the early Alexandrians, he and those around him have seen little of the true apocalyptic world outside their walls, and could easily be taken down if any sort of threat arose.
The head of Sebastian's security detail, however, is not to be messed with. Officer Mercer, who takes the cover of the issue, is an axe-throwing champion who slaughters threats left and right. With an ungrateful boss dishing out orders, Mercer is ready to let the higher ups of the Commonwealth fall, possibly staging the aforementioned civil war. With little details presented, there are a couple of ways it can go down, each of which sound interesting. Will the governing body hire Rick's squads to defend them from a coup? Will Rick's group become divided in hopes of living in the Commonwealth community after the dust settles? Or will they simply let the Commonwealth fall and strike while it lay in ruin?0comments
While the New World Order story is keeping its cards close the vest, it is slowly peeling back the curtain issue by issue on the most expansive and exciting chapter of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead issue #177 is available at comic book stores now. The Walking Dead TV series airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.