The Walking Dead #139 Comic Review
Have you read The Walking Dead #139? Yes? By all means, read on. No? Why would you even think about reading this review? I shall spoil every last little bit, so consider yourself warned. By the way… why haven’t you read it yet? Go… then come back. Welcome back.
How is it possible that twelve issues have passed since A New Beginning? The memory of All Out War still feels fresh and vivid in my mind, yet we are two complete volumes from that point. And in those twelve issues, we’ve learned much about the new world that our survivors have made for themselves… we’ve learned much about how Alexandria and The Hilltop have fared in the time between now and the original timeline… we’ve learned a great deal about the Grimes and the Greenes, the politics and the advancements… but it wasn’t until this third arc, beginning with The Walking Dead #139: From the Edge of the World, that we finally discover the fate of one of the most beloved characters in the book’s history: Michonne.
Before diving headlong into the pure and utter joy I felt at the sight of everyone’s favorite katana wielding bad-ass, let’s set the stage a bit.
That first page, with that katana slicing through a zombie head like warm butter, got me a bit prematurely excited, and I would guess it did many of you as well. That didn’t lessen my happiness at seeing the first of two wonderful surprises. No longer a king, but still just as impressive (despite all the cowardly things we know about him, he still came through in the end), Ezekiel was a sight for sore eyes.
On top of that, seeing Rick again was a welcome respite from all of the teenaged drama going on with Carl and his wacky antics with Lydia. As I’ve considered before, I do believe we will see more and more of that as the book continues, that it was just fantastic to return to our protagonist emeritus, and to get a glimpse at how time has changed him. How better to get a gauge of that than to see him interacting with characters we know well?
His dealings with Ezekiel on the dock were wonderful; just two guys shooting the shit, yet business was being conducted. To learn that Eugene’s ammunition manufacturing is not only thriving, but still the only thing like it going… to discover that Dwight is sitting on a bounty of lumber, guessing that he is still leading the now reformed Saviors… and that a balance has been struck between communities, and that balance is precious to all involved. How much do you want to bet that that very balance will be threatened at some point and the communities turn against each other?
By the time we see the sweat on Ezekiel’s brow, it’s obvious who is on board that boat, and that image of pirate Michonne at the prow of her ship was absolutely spectacular. I cannot imagine a greater return for who has often been my favorite character throughout the entire series. Not only does she look magnificent in her pigtails and boots, but we get the one thing from Michonne that I never thought we would get… backstory.
How many years have we known this woman? And how little had we known about her backstory? We knew who her pets were, we knew she had daughters, we knew she was a lawyer, and beyond that, we knew nothing about Michonne, until now. In one fell swoop, we discover where she had been during the 2 or 3 years between All Out War and A New Beginning (she was living happily with Ezekiel at The Hilltop until she had a massive attack of survivor’s guilt), and we learned about her life before the ZA and just how heavily not being there for her children has weighed on her this entire time, making much of her prickly demeanor make much more sense in hindsight.
And for as much as we learned about the state of the new society as a whole from the conversation between Rick and Ezekiel, we also learn a great deal about the state of the relationship between Rick and Michonne through their conversation. Plus, we get more than one glimpse of what Rick has really become in this time… measured, calm, quick to become defensive, quick to reason; the elder statesman. He chides her for her disappearance, and comes off as almost scolding her like a father to a child, but it’s also crystal clear how much affection these two have for one another… and nothing says The Walking Dead to me like Rick and Michonne side by side.
Have I mentioned that she has been fishing? And that the seas are chock full of life again thanks to the lack of humans? I got a massive kick out of that… a place on Earth that has not been explored in any zombie literature or films that I can think of. A place that simply is void of that particular drama, yet, from what Michonne says, it sounds like they found some sort of drama nonetheless. Perhaps we’ll get some seafaring tales in the future. Y’arrr!
Of course this issue wasn’t all feathers and pirates… there is also the matter of our little Romeo and his hunt for his lady fair. We get to see the reaction from Maggie and Jesus, as well as Sophia’s reassurance that Carl can handle himself… but it was Dante’s ill-advised comment regarding Carl’s first piece of ass that offered a few of my favorite moments of levity. Poor Dante… his embarrassment for that off hand remark is seen in the next two panels as he looks away in shame. I can’t help but like that guy.
So what do you make of Carl basically integrating with the Whisperers? For as tense as that little confrontation could have gone, they defused the situation deftly and without any histrionics. Sound familiar? Seems to be a perfect analogue for what we just saw between Alpha and Maggie. Could the Whisperers actually offer something in terms of how they conduct themselves? Maggie has some justifiable fear for what Carl’s indiscretion could mean for the community as a whole (that is her job after all), but it seems that those we fear may be those we can respect. Did you see that coming?
Curious… was it Alpha that was talking to Carl or another of the skin wearers? I feel like we’ve seen the shotgunner before, I’m just not exactly sure which one he and/or she is.
Overall, I am very pleased with this as the beginning to a new arc. We had twelve issues to explore this new world our characters reside in… we got a taste of an insurrection, as well as a potential outside threat. What will the next step be? I can’t image Rick is going to be too pleased when he discovers that Carl has gone missing. What will Maggie do in order to find Carl while still maintaining their peace with Alpha and the Whisperers? How will Michonne reintegrate when she takes Rick’s advice and comes home? And how will the fair fare? I love a good party. I believe there is quite a bit of fertile ground to sow some fantastic seeds… I can’t wait to see what Kirkman reaps from this particular crop.
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].