The Walking Dead #137 Comic Review

Issue137

Avast! Here there be spoilers for those of ye who haven’t yet read the latest offering from Robert Kirkman’s mighty tale of landlubbers and the undead who wish to eat them…. y’arrrrr…. so ye best be taking heed.

 

Last month I made the analogy of The Walking Dead being similar to a game of chess. The pieces were all being laid out for some major events to unfold… and in this issue, #137: A Future Uncertain, the game has escalated. One rook checked a queen, with a knight ready to pounce… while in another arena, a young pawn has taken something far more tender from our favorite one-eyed bishop.

This issue pulls us away from the more balanced approach of last month, focusing more on the two main storylines in the Hilltop, Gregory’s planned coup and Carl’s advocacy of Lydia, as opposed to catching us up on a number of characters and locations. Both events have major implications for the future of the series, but I think it’s fair to say that the life and death situation Maggie currently finds herself in may be a bit more impactful than whatever shenanigans Carl is up to.

Before I delve into the intricacies of Gregory’s Shakespearean power play…

Carl got some loving from everyone’s favorite zombie skin wearing Lolita… and it may have been the creepiest thing ever! Teen sex is uncomfortable enough in a comic, but having Lydia licking her lips after tonguing his eye socket wound… ugh. Seriously… ugh. I don’t think anybody necessarily trusted Lydia, but I did not think it would come to this point as quickly as it did. I’m guessing life is a little different for the Whisperers.

The biggest question I have in regards to Carl’s new situation, how is Sophia going to react? We saw a wonderful and loving exchange between the two earlier in the issue, and Carl has promised not to let anything happen to her. I’m guessing breaking her little heart doesn’t qualify.

Going way back, after Carl was shot (the first time), it was Sophia who said that scars were sexy. Carl rebuked her adorable advances by stating that she didn’t even know what sexy meant. The ghost of that comment lingers on as Lydia made very sure to let Carl know how she feels about scars. And I don’t think it’s any mistake that it was Sophia who returned Carl’s glasses… he made the comment to her that he must have grossed some people out without them… and he repeated the comment to Lydia.

Carl doesn’t yet realize it, but he just found himself in a situation far more dangerous and deadly than any horde of undead… being in the middle of a teenage love triangle.

Beyond the John Hughes quality of teenage love and angst in the zombie apocalypse, Carl made other very bold moves this issue. He argued for Lydia’s comfort last issue, then amped it up to making a successful argument for her release under his custody, and in doing so got into full blown “scary killer Carl Grimes”… the serial killer that Negan predicted oh so long ago, when he made very certain that he would kill her if she caused any trouble. It’s probably a foregone conclusion that he is being horribly manipulated, but I do enjoy seeing him stepping up and doing his part to spread the “Grimes Doctrine” as often as possible.

Enough with Hilltop 90210…

Were you expecting Gregory to implement his murderous plot so quickly? So easily?? I mean, why would Maggie have trusted him so readily? I had come to the belief that she, above everyone else, was immune to Gregory’s charm, but alas… in a time of great stress and having a screaming monster of a so called human in your face calling you words unfit to display on the venerable institution that is the Internets, she allowed him to offer a way out of the mess. Can you blame her?

I am l loathe to give any credit to Gregory. He is slimy, cowardly, and an all around dick. But I think it’s now obvious that he is a smart dick, and not someone who can be taken lightly. To be honest, I really didn’t think he had it in him. Then again, as Sherlock Holmes says in a 1945 film, Pursuit to Algiers, “Poison is a woman’s weapon”… sexist, to be sure, but a fitting insult for a sleaze like Gregory. And it really isn’t the act itself that is surprising. It’s the very fact that he orchestrated everything. That he managed to understand Maggie well enough to play her like a fiddle is impressive… and that he allowed himself to get caught by Jesus is a reminder that for as much as he can’t be taken lightly, he also shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Do you think there is anything that can be done for Maggie? We have no idea what poison it was that he used, and whatever it is, does Dr. Carson have the means to treat it? Will Jesus go full samurai on Gregory and lop his head off like an overripe roamer?

It’s a bit unfortunate that in an issue with the potential death of one of the series’ most beloved and important character hanging in the balance, that final page of Carl and Lydia’s hands embracing in what can only be considered the “had sex off-screen” position and Carl’s iconic hat off to the side (is that symbolism of his childhood being set aside in favor of a more adult life?), has overshadowed everything else. I didn’t read this issue and immediately think, “Oh my goodness, Maggie may die!”… it was, “Holy crap! Carl got laid!”.

That’s not a bad thing however… it’s simply the lingering image and the more shocking of the two events. We as readers have known Carl since he was a wee lad… and we’ve been with him throughout his terrible childhood of violence and loss. To see him growing up, and I think we can all agree, making one hell of a terrible mistake in trusting and “connecting” with someone that may be on the wrong side of the sanity tracks, is difficult.

I have this weird feeling that Maggie will be fine. I don’t know why… we’ve certainly had to say goodbye to plenty of our favorite character over the years… but Maggie just feels safe to me. I may be eating these words next month, but I’m not afraid for her.  I’m afraid for Carl.

It’s not very often that we get an issue without Rick Grimes, but it’s becoming a bit more common. I’m not at all sure if this is a sign of a change in focus for the book, but Carl is making for compelling material. I am curious as to how Rick is going to react to Carl hooking up with someone that could be considered “the enemy”, and, of course, to the act of treason by Gregory and the Scumbag 4 (6 if you count the kids… it’s a family affair).

Fortunately, we will have our answers in a month… or at the very least, some of them.


Mr. Blahg can be heard, along with his co-host Grace, weekly on Under the Comic Covers, a podcast dedicated to independent comics. Have any comments or questions for Mr. Blahg, he can be reached at [email protected].

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