The Walking Dead Issue 190, Storm the Gates, Review: Welcome but Rushed.

3 stars
In my review of the previous The Walking Dead issue, I criticized the Commonwealth Arc heavily for how aimless and mediocre it had been so far.
Coming into Issue 190, “Storm the Gates,” I was expecting it to be more of the same, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this issue could be a step in the right direction.
It is not spectacular or anything, but it does give me hope that the Commonwealth Arc might just get better.
Although, I have had false hope with this arc before so we will have to wait and see.
I will also admit that I was wrong about something I criticized Robert Kirkman for last issue, this being artificial tension.
I thought the Walker herd in that issue was just a way for Kirkman to create some pointless tension in a slow story, but the herd actually has a story point in “Storm the Gates,” with the herd attacking the Commonwealth.
The reason it got so close to the community before being spotted, is because Pamela called her troops back after Mercer was arrested, which is another case of Kirkman wonderfully showing Pamela’s incompetency.
The approaching herd leads to Rick, Mercer and the others. having to all hide in the buildings while the herd walks around, until Maggie arrives with her deus ex machina army to save the day.
Although I did like that the herd actually serves a point in this issue, a lot of the storylines here seem pretty convenient.
Rick and Mercer are somehow able to get the Commonwealth’s 50,000  civilians inside their buildings in a matter of minutes?
Then there is Maggie’s arrival with her army, which is a complete deus ex machina, but one that moves the plot forward.
I feel I should also mention one panel where Magna is looking down at Maggie and something about the artwork here looks a little off.
That said, the rest of Charlie Adlard’s artwork is stunning as usual.
After the Walker herd are defeated, Rick and Mercer plan to finally talk with Pamela, only for her to march in with her army from Greenville and accuse Rick of trying to usurp her.
Rick tries to convince her this is not the case but she is too paranoid to believe him, ordering her troops to attack in a panel similar to the ones when Negan attacked Alexandria, and the Governor attacked the prison, bringing an end to the issue.
This cliffhanger was a very welcome one for me because it finally looks like it is going to create some interesting consequences, possibly even some deaths, in the next issue.
Coming back to Magna, she shares a scene with Yumiko, which highlights their relationship, that has me believing one of them may bite the bullet.
However, while I do welcome this cliffhanger, it does feel very rushed to me on a story level.
Pamela was somehow able to organize an army in Greenville, a community probably a long way from them, in a matter of hours.
Not only this, but her accusing Rick of trying to take over feels very forced.
Up until this point, Pamela has trusted Rick, especially after he killed Dwight to save her life, so her suddenly thinking Rick wants to become leader of the Commonwealth comes out of left field, even if it does finally get the story rolling.
Overall, this was an average issue with various positives and negatives.
I hope that the next issue follows up on its promise of action and excitement, rather than reversing all of this like it did with the antagonism between Rick and Michonne.

The Walking Dead: Issue 182 – More of the same.

3 stars

WARNING: Major spoiler for the issue.
In my review of the previous issue of The Walking Dead, I stated I was getting a bit annoyed about how it had been a while since the story of the comics had any genuine excitement.
Sadly, it looks like that trend continued with the latest issue, number 182, The Commonwealth Grows.
Just like Issue 181 though, there was nothing bad about this Issue.
It was good, it just continued the cycle of not much excitement happening.
However, even if there was not anything bad about this issue, there was something about it that felt off.
In the opening moments of the issue, we meet up with the minor character John, the new leader of the Sanctuary.
This scene felt off because John was a completely different character to the one seen in previous issues.
He seemed a lot more generous and willing to work with people, which is a complete contradiction to how he was in previous Issues.
This inconsistency was quite jarring but I do think it is slightly implied that it may be an act to get what he wants.
I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.
Other than this, the issue was enjoyable, although once again lacking in the exciting department, as we got to see Pamela Milton meet and interact with all of the other communities.
One thing I did find particularly interesting was Pamela’s interest in learning about Negan.
It was a brief moment but possibly hints at her potentially trying to have him executed for his crimes, which could be an interesting story if Kirkman goes that route.
Pamela asking Rick about Negan was not the only interesting character interaction this issue though, as Dwight finally made up with Rick over Sherry’s death.
While I am glad that the two are back on the same page once again, this makes their entire conflict feel very forced and unnecessary, considering literally nothing came out of it.
The two best scenes of the issue in my mind though, were the moment when everyone learned about Michonne’s daughter being alive and Rick’s conversation with Mercer.
The scene where everyone learned about Elodie and just stared at Pamela in blank shock was pretty hilarious and Rick and Mercer’s scene seems to be hinting at future events.
Rick explains to Mercer about how their system works and Mercer seems obviously disgruntled with the way the Commonwealth does things.
This could be once again hinting at a coup committed by Mercer.
This scene also really made me love Mercer because it explained why he does not agree with the Commonwealth’s system.
The system has actually left Mercer well off, protecting people like he has always wanted to do.
The thing Mercer does not agree with it that there are others in the Commonwealth “not living their lives to the fullest”.
This shows Mercer to be a very selfless person who is concerned about the well-being of others and really made me like him as a character.
Other than this, Issue 182 was a fairly standard Issue.
What really has me excited is what is coming.
The cover of Issue 183 promises a riot in the Commonwealth and, based on what I saw in this issue and on the cover of Issue 184, it looks like Eugene is planning to get a train going between Rick’s communities and the Commonwealth.
I am genuinely excited to read the next few issues as the story looks to be more exciting there.
As for this issue it is still good but it is just more of the same.

The Walking Dead Issue 179: Not a lot of Excitement but that’s not a Bad Thing.

3 stars
Warning: This review will contain major spoilers for the issue.

In terms of action, not much happened in Issue 179 of The Walking Dead, New World Order Part 5.
This issue mainly serves the purpose of bridging the gap between the previous issue and the next one.
However, even though some people might find this lack of action boring, it is necessary for the story to have issues like this to build character and avoid abrupt shifts in the story.
For example, if they had put Michonne deciding to stay in the previous issue and then had the characters immediately returning to Alexandria, we would have got barely any time to see them interacting with The Commonwealth community and set up each of their beliefs on how it is run.
But, just because we did not get any action this Issue does not mean there was nothing interesting happening because we did get development for some characters like Magna.
In one particular scene, the final nail was driven into the coffin and it was confirmed that The Commonwealth works on a class based system with the upper class class in charge.
Surprisingly though, almost all the characters seem to believe a system like this is a good thing.
This is strange because, if you think about it, they came from a society that was almost a Utopia.
Rick built a system in Alexandria where everyone is equal and it does not matter who you were before.
If you remove all the zombies and outside groups, like The Whisperers, trying to kill them, then Rick’s society would be the perfect one so it is strange to see characters like Eugene seeing the upside  to a class system.
It does make sense for Michonne, since she was a lawyer beforehand but for the others it was a bit odd, especially when they had just watched a member of the upper class assault someone and get away with it because of their status.
However, thankfully Magna comes in and, in a nice piece of development, seems to be the only one offended by this idea, no longer wanting anything to do with The Commonwealth.
After this, we get various small moments of the characters, escorted by Stephanie and Elodie, exploring The Commonwealth.
This was important because it allowed us to see the characters associate with those in The Commonwealth and get a feeling of how it works.
We even learn there are other communities out there that are part of The Commonwealth, like Greenville.
Afterwards, the group depart to Alexandria, with Michonne understandably staying behind to be with her daughter.
However, she does give her sword to Eugene, a decision I think she will come to regret because she may need it in the future, what with the problems of the class system.
Then, just like when exploring The Commonwealth, we get a series of scenes presented with single panels to show the passage of time as the characters return to Alexandria along with Pamela, Maxwell, Mercer and their soldiers in tow.
During these scenes we get a real sense of how bad the class system in The Commonwealth is.
Pamela sleeps in a big tent forcing the others to sleep outside and when she finally sees Alexandria she is very disapproving, declaring it “a s#*t hole.”
These scenes prove just how large Pamela’s ego is because she thinks of herself above everyone else.
The issue ends with Eugene and Magna riding ahead to warn Rick about The Commonwealth’s arrival and Eugene declaring they had better be as nice as they seem, “for their sake.”
I unfortunately found this cliffhanger to be rather pointless because, even if The Commonwealth does turn out to be bad, there does not seem to be a lot that the survivors would be able to do since the community has over 50,000 people.
They massively outnumber all of Rick’s communities combined.
This issue did have a few strange moments, like everyone agreeing about the class system having its advantages and the cliffhanger but, overall, I think it was a good one.
There may not have been a lot of action but it bridged the gap to the next Issue where we will finally have Rick meeting the new Governor.

The Commonwealth is run like a modern day government in Issue 176 of The Walking Dead… but that’s not a good thing.

4 stars
In Issue 176 of The Walking Dead, New World Order Part 2, we got to see how the Commonwealth operates when Eugene and the others are taken to meet its leader Pamela Milton.
The issue picks up immediately after the shocking reveal of the previous one that Michonne’s daughter Elodie is alive and looking for her.
Michonne’s reaction to this was well done, with her wanting to see Elodie immediately, even going so far as to threaten Lance to see her but he wants them to meet Milton first.
Over the next few pages we get to see how The Commonwealth operates.
We finally get to meet Stephanie, who tries to talk to Eugene but is reprimanded by Lance, rather severely in fact.
After this, we meet Maxwell Hawkins and the leader of The Commonwealth, Governor Pamela Milton (I am sure it is not a coincidence that Kirkman decided to bring another Governor into the story).
It is through these two characters that we see how The Commonwealth is actually run like a modern day government… but that is not a good thing.
It seems that Milton and Hawkins only see people who were of elite status before the apocalypse as important to The Commonwealth.
This can be seen when Hawkins decides to have Michonne talk to Milton instead of Eugene (even though Eugene was the one who lead them there and is one of the most important people from his community) just because he was a science teacher while Michonne was a lawyer.
It only gets worse when Michonne meets Milton.
Milton views herself as bringing back civilization, even though Rick’s group has been doing this as well and wants Michonne to thank her for what she has done when she has not done anything to help Michonne yet.
She also seems to view people below her status as weaker because of how she refers to the soldiers guarding her as “brutes”.

These factors combine to show that The Commonwealth is run by elites and people who were not important before the apocalypse but are now, like Eugene, are of no importance to them, apart from doing grunt work.
This has pretty bad implications when you think about it.
Milton views her soldiers as “brutes” and soldiers are technically more regarded than police officers.
Rick was a police officer before the apocalypse so Milton might view him as lower than her own soldiers and therefore see him as an unfit leader.
Since Milton views herself as bringing back civilization, she will probably try to take over Rick’s communities.
I do not believe she and The Commonwealth are villains because they do have the best intentions but they will most likely be a problem for Rick’s communities rather than allies.
It has some very interesting implications for the future of The Walking Dead, which I like.
Then we get the final scene of Michonne reuniting with her daughter Elodie.
I was very surprised by this because I thought it would be at least a couple more issues before the two reunited but I am very glad it happened sooner.
It was a very touching moment and I cannot wait to see how their relationship evolves, considering the two have spent years apart thinking each other were dead.
Overall Issue 176 of The Walking Dead was a pretty good one.
We got to see how The Commonwealth is run, opening up some interesting story points for the future and got to see the heart warming reunion between Michonne and Elodie.