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 Season Nine Episodes 4-6 Review: It Just Keeps Getting Darker and Darker.

Just when you think The Walking Dead cannot get any darker it keeps on surprising you.
The second half of season nine has continued with episodes 12-14, “Guardians,” “Chokepoint,” and “Scars,” all of which were great.
“Guardians” and “Chokepoint” continue the story of the Whisperers very well, and “Scars” is the best flashback episode the series has had in a long time.
As stated, the series just keeps getting more gruesome with each episode.
From Alpha brutally decapitating a challenger in “Guardians,” to Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) brutal fight with Beta and the other Whisperers in “Chokepoint”, and to Michonne (Danai Gurira) having to kill children to save Judith in “Scars.”
That last one is especially dark and feels very reminiscent of the season four episode “The Grove.”

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In one of the darkest scenes in The Walking Dead a pregnant Michonne has to kill kids to save her own. 

It also serves as a satisfying explanation for the scars Michonne and Daryl have and why Michonne is so closed off.
Along with this, “Scars” is the first episode of The Walking Dead to make me tear up since Glenn was supposedly killed off in season six (before it was stupidly revealed he survived by hiding under a dumpster).
The conversation Michonne has with Judith (Cailey Fleming) about what she went through and how she became isolated to protect her brought a tear to my eye.
This also leads to Michonne finally deciding to open up and go to the fair, which will sadly have disastrous consequences for Alexandria, based off what happens in the comics.
As for the other episodes, they are also strong ones with “Guardians” serving as the introduction of Beta, played by Ryan Hurst.
Much like Samantha Morton as Alpha, I am loving Hurst as Beta because he is perfectly cast.

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Ryan Hurst is very intimidating as Beta and was the perfect choice for the role. 

In this episode we are also given a first hand look at the way the Whisperers live, which is about as brutal as you would expect.
The scene where Alpha brutally murders the wife of the man who challenged her, and then hands him her head, before killing, is incredibly dark.
The episode also ends on a high note, with Daryl and Connie (Lauren Rindloff) using Whisperer masks to save Henry (Matt Lintz) and Lydia (Cassady McClincy).
This leads to episode twelve “Chokepoint,” which I actually consider to be the weakest of the three episodes because, while it does have an amazing main storyline, it has a very forgettable secondary storyline.
Watching Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) deal with the Highwaymen felt unnecessary and more like the filler we would see in seasons seven and eight.
That said though, the storyline did end on a very funny note.
Also, the main storyline of this episode is so exciting.
The fight between Daryl and Beta had me on the edge of my seat and made me eager to see the eventual fights between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)) and Beta.

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The fight between Daryl and Beta was very well choreographed and intense, even though I knew it was unlikely either one would die. 

This said, I hope they do a better job with Beta’s storyline than in the comics but, if how he has been presented so far is anything to go by, I would say there is a good chance the show can do it better.
All of these episodes are great and have me hyped up for the next episode, “The Calm Before,” which should be one of The Walking Dead‘s biggest moments.
I can still remember reading that moment in the comics and the feelings of shock and horror I felt.
Hopefully the show will be able to do this scene justice, just like they have been doing with the rest of the Whisperer Arc so far.

The Walking Dead Issue 189: Lines are Drawn, Review: More Mediocrity.

two-and-a-half-stars
Another month, another mediocre The Walking Dead issue.
In all honesty I have grown pretty tired of the Commonwealth story arc.
Sure, there have been some really good things about it like the discovery of Michonne’s daughter Elodie, Dwight’s death, and the political commentary.
However, all of this good stuff is surrounded by features that bog it down.
Elodie is not very important to the Commonwealth story right now, Dwight’s death has failed to have any meaningful, lasting impact, and the political commentary, although interesting, at first, does not have a very interesting story to go along with it.
This has all resulted in a mediocre story arc that has me less and less excited every time I read the next issue.
Sadly, this mediocrity continues with Issue 189, “Lines are Drawn”, which was hyped up by numerous events in the previous installment, but that hype fails to go anywhere.
I will begin by talking about my biggest problem with this issue, and that is the scenes with Eugene and Stephanie.
At the end of the previous issue, the two were about to be surrounded by a Walker herd that had accidentally been drawn into the area.
The consequences of this?
Absolutely nothing, of course!
Eugene and Stephanie just get trapped temporarily in a train before Eugene uses a fire hydrant to help them escape.
There is only one reason that this is even a plot point in this issue and that can be summed up in two words.
“Artificial Tension.”
Robert Kirkman appears to be worried that people will lose interest in his political fueled story arc so he throws in some random action sequences that have no real impact on the story to try and keep his readers entertained.
However, the fact that these scenes have no consequence makes them very boring and hard to get into.
Speaking of people losing interest in the political fueled story though, it would not surprise me if they did, because this issue once again failed to go anywhere exciting.
Laura breaks Mercer out of prison, just like what was hyped up in the cover, only for the issue to end with him deciding to try and put Rick in power to keep the peace.
I was annoyed to read this cliffhanger because it took all of the exciting buildup with Mercer breaking out of prison, and Rick having to escort Pamela and her family out of the Commonwealth for their own safety, and seems to have settled it too easily.
Also, Rick taking over another community is pretty much a cliche at this point.
I would be surprised if Rick is not the king of the world by the end of the story.
In all seriousness, though, this is a disappointing end to an issue that seemed like it was building up to something big.
There is one touching scene between Rick and Carl that I do like but, otherwise, this is another mediocre issue in a long line of them.
My low rating for “Lines are Drawn” comes, not from it being a bad issue, because it is not, but from the constant mediocrity of this story arc making it very difficult to keep my interest up.
But, who knows, maybe the Commonwealth story arc will get interesting as it goes on?
Hopefully?
In any case we are almost ten issues away from issue 200 so, with any luck, I will be fully engaged in The Walking Dead‘s story again by the time we reach it.
But, for now, I am struggling to stay interested.

The Walking Dead Season Nine Episode 9-11 Discussion: True Terror.

The Walking Dead season nine has been killing it with the Whisperer Arc storyline so far.
The midseason finale served as a great introduction to these new villains and they have only got scarier since the series returned.
These three new episodes, “Adaptation”, “Omega”, and “Bounty”, continue to show that season nine is returning The Walking Dead to its former glory.
I know I have said this many times since season nine began, but Angela Kang was the perfect choice for showrunner because, under her direction, the series has bounced back from a low point in quality that many of us were concerned it could never recover from.
There are so many differences that improve on the series’ comic counterpart.
This is surprising to me because, off the top of my head, I cannot recall a time when the show has had a change that was better than the comic since season five.

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The characters are some of the best differences from the comics this season. In the comics Connie (Lauren Ridloff) is completely forgettable but in the show she is quickly becoming a favourite of mine.

Character development is truly where these new episodes shine, with many characters, like Daryl, having great scenes.
It is the new characters that steal the spotlight though, because Magna’s group, Lydia (Cassady McCliny), and Alpha are already miles better than their comic versions.
Samantha Morton’s Alpha is the true standout of these characters, with her being one of the most terrifying villains in the show’s history.
I love how they gave her this dirty look to fit with her savage nature as a Whisperer.
It was odd how, in the comics, Alpha’s skin was clean, despite wearing literal human skin all day, so this is an improvement.
Morton is also fantastically scary as the antagonist.
Watching the promos, I was originally unsure about her accent but, after watching the episodes, I can say it works perfectly.
Her arrival at the end of “Omega” is nothing short of chilling.

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Samantha Morton was the perfect choice for Alpha. She looks and acts absolutely terrifying.

Speaking of these episodes, they range from good to fantastic.
The first two, “Adaptation” and “Omega” are the good episodes.
They have plenty of amazing scenes but some moments do feel out of place and drag a little, especially in “Omega”.
This is not the case for “Bounty” though because it is already one of my favourite episodes of season nine.
“Bounty” truly shows what monstrous acts the Whisperers are capable of, with a mother Whisperer leaving her own baby to be eaten by the Walkers because it is too loud.
This new scene is very shocking and is a great addition to the show.
It also leads to one of the show’s scariest moments in recent memory, with Connie rescuing the baby and fleeing into a cornfield.
It is here where she constantly has to fend off the Walkers, and it is made all the more scarier because she is deaf.
It felt like something that would be seen in A Quiet Place. 
“Bounty” is just a great episode, with the only negative I have being the blatant stupidity of Henry (Matt Lintz).
Other than this, and a few missteps though, the first few episodes of The Walking Dead season nine’s second half continues the show’s climb of better quality.
It has me very excited for The Walking Dead‘s equivalent of the Red Wedding, which we will surely see by the end of the season.
And, with what we have got so far, I am sure Angela Kang can pull it off.

The Walking Dead Issue 188, Falling into Place Review: Building to Something… Hopefully?

3 stars
Aside from Dwight’s death and some interesting political commentary, there has been very little that I have found to be investing in the last ten issues of The Walking Dead.
However, Issue 188, “Falling into Place”, seems to set this up to change.
The issue is average, just like many other issues in this arc, but it thankfully looks to be the one that will set the wheels in motion for the Commonwealth’s civil war.
Initially, this does not appear to be the case because Mercer is quickly arrested at the beginning of “Falling into Place”, before he can set his revolution into motion.
But, by the end of the issue, this revolution looks to be gaining full steam as Laura sets out to recruit George and the rest of Mercer’s men to rise against the establishment.
This looks set to commence next issue because the cover features Laura and two others storming the cell that Mercer is being kept in.
Rick and Michonne seem to have caught on to Laura by the end of the issue though, so it will be interesting to see what they do.
Speaking of Rick and Michonne ,this issue continues to disappointingly move away from their conflict, which was set up at the end of Issue 186.
It still feels weird to see that they have made up after Rick explicitly said he would never forgive her for putting him in a situation where he had to kill Dwight.
Despite Robert Kirkman seemingly abandoning Rick’s role to play in the upcoming civil war, Mercer thankfully continues to be a key player.
He gets one of the most interesting scenes in the issue where Pamela confronts him about his actions, only for Mercer to rightly criticize her hypocritical actions.
Along with the brewing the civil war, there is another feature that looks to bring much intensity to the next issue.
This is the cliffhanger of “Falling into Place”, which sees a heard of Walkers heading straight for Eugene and Stephanie, who have been left to work on their train.
While I did like this cliffhanger, the way the issue built up to it is a little contrived.
It all starts when Carl, Jesus, Arron, Dante and Siddiq, who were sent by Maggie to check in with Rick at the Commonwealth, come across Princess.
The synopsis of this issue tries to be dramatic with the line “is Princess friend or foe?” but we all knew she was not going to be.
This turns out to be the case when she runs away, only for them all to run into a herd of Walkers to create some artificial tension, oh joy!
Even though I did not like how obviously set up this scene felt, I will admit it did lead to some good banter between Carl and Princess.
I chuckled when Carl told her that being a loner is “total bulls*!t” and she replies, “you don’t have to curse.”
It makes me wonder what a scene between Princess and Negan would be like.
She would be horrified.
After this, the group diverts the herd and it unfortunately reaches Eugene and Stephanie at the end of the issue.
As for their fates, I am unsure if Kirkman will kill them off or not.
Eugene has become a very important character in the comics and I do not know if Kirkman would kill him off right after Dwight.
As for Stephanie, I find it unlikely she will be killed of because we just met her and she has not received much proper development yet.
Still, I do have some hope that this herd and the coming civil war in the Commonwealth will finally bring the excitement needed for this arc.
Overall, “Falling into Place” was another average issue in The Walking Dead. 
Things look to get more exciting in the next few issues but, if they do not then I cannot see the Commonwealth story arc being anything better than just average.

The Walking Dead Issue 187: What Happened to the Conflict?

3 stars
The Walking Dead 
Issue 186, “The Powder Keg” ended with an amazing cliffhanger that set up not only a conflict between Rick’s communities and the Commonwealth but, more importantly, between Rick and Michonne.
I was excited to read the latest issue 187 “The Road Back” to see where Robert Kirkman would take this newly developed conflict… only for him to downplay it with the two characters oddly making up.
It was incredibly jarring to see Rick go from saying he would never forgive Michonne last issue to him immediately apologizing to her this issue.
What is especially weird is that the cover of Issue 187 seems to point towards the two’s conflict growing when in reality the exact opposite happens.
There might be more tension between them in the future but, for now, this scene makes it seem that Kirkman has thrown any potential storyline of the two being at odds in the trash, which is a huge disappointment.
Even Rick’s character seems to have done a complete 180, with him seeming to have come to Dwight’s opinion that Pamela needs to be taken down also strangely being forgotten with him now pushing for peace at the beginning of the issue.
This is an unusual case of bad writing from Kirkman.
It really is a shame because the rest of the issue does a great job of building on the growing conflict in the aftermath of Dwight’s death.
The best parts of “The Road Back” came from Mercer and surprisingly Princess who both go through a great amount of character development.
First there is Mercer, whose frustration with the Commonwealth finally boils over with him giving a speech to his fellow soldiers about rising up against Pamela and the rest of the Commonwealth leadership.
This is unfortunately overheard by Lance who looks ready to arrest Mercer by the end of the issue.
Mercer really sucks at making sure people do not overhear his secret plans, first there was Siddiq and now Lance.
As for the Princess, I was surprised by how much I liked the development she got this issue.
She leaves Mercer and the Commonwealth, explaining that the abuse she suffered from her family as a child has led to her to like being alone.
This left me feeling sorry for her, which is a nice change considering I found her to be a mostly annoying character up until this point.
However, even though Princess left, by the looks of the cover of the next issue, it appears she will be drawn back into the conflict.
We can see Carl, Jesus, Aaron and Siddiq rushing towards her in the cover of Issue 188 and all of these characters are sent to see what was happening in the Commonwealth by Magna and Maggie this issue.
With things clearly about to explode in the Commonwealth because of Dwight’s death and Mercer’s soon to be arrest, it is clear they will play a vital role in the story.
Another thing I was surprised to find how much I liked was the portrayal of the love triangle between Carl, Lydia and Sophia.
I usually hate love triangles but here it is portrayed rather nicely.
Sophia finds she actually gets along well with the new kid Carl tried to set her up with and Lydia gets jealous of her and Carl.
This leads Carl to tell Lydia she and him work together because they are both monsters, (which is obviously a really bad thing to call your girlfriend) causing Lydia to storm off.
Then, when Carl departs, he explains what he meant, stating they are both the only ones who can truly see who they really are after all they have done.
This is a very touching scene that had me routing for their relationship in ways I have not before.
All of this is fantastic stuff but again it is weighed down by throwing out Rick and Michonne’s conflict, which could have been very interesting.
The rest of “The Road Back” is good but I just wish Kirkman had kept this conflict going.

The Walking Dead Issue 186, The Power Keg Review: Well, that Escalated Quickly.

4 stars
Coming into Issue 186, “The Powder Keg,” I knew something bad was going to happen.
There had been so much build up towards something happening in previous issues that if nothing had happened it would have been a serious let down.
Thankfully, the big event that had been built up for so long occurred in this issue with Michonne betraying Rick to Pamela and then Rick being forced to shoot Dwight after he pulls a gun on the new Governor.
I had my suspicions that a character would die this issue but I never suspected it would be Dwight.
I thought he would be the one to instigate a revolution against the Commonwealth’s leadership but it seems his death will be playing that role.
However, the big shock of the chapter was not Dwight’s death but Michonne’s betrayal.
Sure, her daughter does live in the Commonwealth but I thought she would have more faith in Rick to control Dwight rather than having to sell him out to Pamela.
This was obviously a terrible idea as well because Michonne’s actions may have unintentionally set off the titular “powder keg” that will set the Commonwealth ablaze.
This is because Rick seems to have fully accepted Dwight’s ideology and now believes he chose the wrong side in the upcoming war by the end of the issue.
Still, I do not think this will turn into a war because we have already had two of them in quick succession so something new has to happen.
I wonder what that could be though?
Whatever the case, this sequence of events was very shocking and finally made me get on Dwight’s side, even if he did die.
In earlier issues I actually hated what Dwight was doing, thinking it was dangerous but now I see his reasoning behind it.
Because of the trauma he experienced at those who held onto power like Negan, Dwight judges Pamela to be no better than them and a detriment to freedom and society.
It was also easy to see why he felt this way about Pamela, due to the issue showing how she leaves dangerous Walkers around to shoot at so she can act like she is the one keeping everyone safe.
This explanation made me relate a lot to Dwight’s actions and made it all the sadder when Rick had to shoot him in a moment that was reminiscent of Dwight’s first appearance, when he murdered Abraham.
Dwight was introduced with an out of nowhere death and he departed with an out of nowhere death.
It was very fitting.
The rest of the issue is pretty decent with a touching scene between Eugene and Stephanie and a funny scene between Carl, Sophia, and the new kid Joshua.
However, there were still a few weak moments.
The first interaction between Rick and Michonne had Rick slowly coming around to Dwight’s idea, even though he had been completely against it earlier so it felt out of place.
Then there was the scene between Magna, Heath and Vincent where it was revealed Magna had been left in charge of the community even though she is a fairly new addition, compared to Heath and Vincent.
This also felt out of place.
Still, these moments were nothing major just small gripes I had.
The rest of the issue is great and seems to finally set the power keg off with the shocking death of Dwight and the even more shocking betrayal of Michonne.

The Walking Dead Season Nine, Episode Six to Mid Season Finale Discussion.

In my last The Walking Dead discussion post I talked about the departures of Maggie and Rick and how I felt they would impact the show.
I said that despite their departures the show’s future looked bright and, based on the final three episodes of this half of the season, I think I can stand by that statement.
Even though viewership is still declining, I think The Walking Dead is returning to its glory days and it will only get better as it goes on.
The show has already made improvements on its comic book counterpart, something that has not happened since season five.
This improvement can be seen in the episode after Rick’s Departure, “Who Are You Now?” where we get the official introduction of Magna (Nadia Hilker) and her group after they appeared at the end of the previous episodes.
I already think these characters are a massive improvement on their comic versions.
Magna is a lot more fleshed out and given more backstory, with it being revealed she was in prison.
Her group of Yumiko (Eleanor Matsura), Luke (Dan Fogler), Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Kelly (Angel Theory) are also made much more interesting because they are given more characteristics and a lot more to do.

Magna 3
The portrayal of Magna, Yumiko, Kelly, Connie and Luke is already better than what we have been given so far in the comics.

I also liked how this episode and the other ones place a divide between the communities.
Everything was all hunky-dory after all out war in the comics so to see such open hostilities between the communities is very interesting, especially because we do not know what caused this divide.
We do know it has something to do with the X’s carved into Daryl and Michonne’s back but not much else.
This adds a layer of mystery to the story, which I am really enjoying.
However, the seventh episode of the season “Stradivarius” is definitely the weakest of the season because, while it does continue the character growth of Magna and her group, it only slightly pushes the story forward.
It is certainly not a bad episode though, and the season not having one bad episode out of eight is definitely something the last few seasons cannot attest to.
The mid-season finale, “Evolution”, is one of the best episodes of the season, possibly only falling behind Rick’s goodbye episode “What Comes After.”
It features the moment I have been waiting for even since it happened in the comics… the reveal of the Whisperers and it does not disappoint.
The final moments of this episode felt like a horror movie and brought incredible levels of tension.
This unfortunately led to the death of Jesus.
I had heard rumors of his death before watching the episode but I was still disappointed to see him go because, just like his actor Tom Payne said, he had been badly underused up to this point.
That said, what an epic way for him to go out.
It was a masterful sequence that shocked me, even though I knew it was coming, and showed the true horror of the Whisperers.
Just as Jesus finishes killing some Walkers in an amazing use of slow motion he walks towards safety but two more stand in his way.
He takes out the first one when suddenly the second one ducks and stabs him from behind whispering in his air, “you are where you do not belong” as thunder crashes around them.

Jesus
Even though it is sad to see Jesus go he got one hell of a send off.

This was an amazing way to reveal the Whisperers because it shows how deadly they are with many unable to tell if they are Walkers or Whisperers in disguise.
We then got the intense cliffhanger of the group realizing the supposed talking Walkers are actually people wearing their skin and then hearing multiple Whisperers as they surround them before cutting to black.
And, with that, the first half of season nine comes to a close.
I have been saying for a while now that season nine was the make it or break it season for me, where the show would either recover from its dark descent or rise above it.
Thankfully, I am now certain that the show has moved past the dark times of seasons seven and eight.
Angela Kang has done an amazing job with this season and if it continues like this, it may be one of my favourite seasons of The Walking Dead.
One thing is for certain though, I cannot wait to see how the rest of the Whisperer arc plays out in the next half of the season, where we will get the much awaited arrivals of Lydia, Alpha and Beta.

The Walking Dead Issue 185, On Guard Review: The Calm Before the Inevitable Storm.

3 and a half stars
When Rick got his hand cut off by the Governor all the way back in the prison arc, I never thought there would be a twist where he gained the magical ability to grow it back.
However, in the latest issue of The Walking Dead, “On Guard”, Rick obtained this ability because while talking with Dwight his hand magically grew back!
Okay, time to get serious now.
In all honesty Rick’s hand appearing to have grown back was nothing more than a funny mistake.
That said though, the scene where this happened was anything but funny, with Rick confronting Dwight about his actions throughout “On Guard.”
This moment marked the culmination of Dwight’s devious actions, which began right from the last issue’s cliffhanger, where Dwight was angered by Rick’s refusal to attempt a take over of the Commonwealth.
Here, in the beginning of the issue, Rick logically points out to Dwight why they could never take the Commonwealth by force and tells him to get out.
After this, Dwight attacks some soldiers to gauge the citizens’ reaction and is thrown in jail.
This leads to the ending scene of the issue where Rick confronts Dwight (and we are given that funny mistake of Rick’s regrown hand), with him again logically pointing out why Dwight is wrong.
I do not think Dwight will listen though, despite how much I hate where his character is going.
He was such an amazing character in the Whisperer Arc, however, after Sherry’s death, he has been in a slow downward spiral.
I do not know if Robert Kirkman is trying to make him unlikable but if he is not then he really needs to improve on Dwight’s character.
Still, Dwight’s antics did lead to be best part of the issue, which was the cliffhanger.
In the final scene, after Rick once again points out how dangerous Dwight’s plan is, he is confronted by Mercer who overheard the conversation.
Mercer calls Rick “the leader the Commonwealth needs” in a fantastic bit of development from him that shows just how impressed he has become of Rick and his people during the brief time they have known each other.
This also has massive implications for the next chapter because, based on the chapter, it looks like someone will try to assassinate Pamela with Rick getting in the way so maybe this is an expansion of Mercer’s endorsement of Rick.
That said, I do not think Mercer will be the one aiming the gun at Pamela because he has stated previously he has never wanted her dead so I have no idea who the gunman will be.
The rest of “On Guard” was pretty decent, with both good and bad moments.
For example, the scene where Rick breaks down into tears over how much Andrea would have loved the Commonwealth was a great scene.
However, the one where Sophia complained to Carl about how she has never had sex had a lot of cringe to it and I really hope it is not setting up some kind of love triangle between them and Lydia.
Although, there were plenty of good and bad moments in this issue I am eagerly looking forward to the next one.
Multiple things are hinting at this issue, “The Powder Keg,” being a big turning point, from its title, to the cover, to even a scene between Magna and Yumiko in “On Guard.”
In a moment between the two Magna comments, “when things are peaceful, that’s all just killing time between the horror.”
And if that is not an ominous hint towards next issue then I do not know what is.

The Walking Dead Issue 184, Eugene Tinkers Review: Good Overall but Weak Cliffhanger.

3 and a half stars
Just as I predicted in last month’s issue of The Walking Dead, in this one Eugene begins his plans to set up a train between the Commonwealth and Rick’s communities, hence the title “Eugene Tinkers.”
This was a very good issue overall, that primarily dealt with Rick and Dwight’s reaction to the Commonwealth, the aftermath of the Anthony Keith situation, and Eugene’s plan.
All of these plots were handled fairly well, especially when they intersected with Rick getting a sense of the Commonwealth through Michonne and her involvement in the case of Anthony Keith’s death.
This moment provided my favourite panel of this issue with Michonne wondering if she has sold her soul to keep peace in the Commonwealth.
Michonne states with fear, “I’m afraid I already have” and her face is covered entirely in darkness, which is a great use of symbolism in regards to her getting involved in the darker aspects of the new community.
She also seems to have got the soldiers who killed Keith off the hook for now so it will be interesting to see how the public react to this given the intense ending of the riot at the beginning of the issue.
Though the way Rick handled things in the aftermath of this did seem to bring a lot of people over to his side as evidenced by the two Commonwealth citizens who seem interested in moving to his community.
Pamela was obviously concerned about this because, in an earlier scene, she helped Rick clean up the mess of the riot just so she could look though.
Her son Sebastian, however, was not having it and continues to be a total jerk in any given situation.
Other interesting events of the issue include the trial Michonne speaks at, which shows how the Commonwealth’s court system works and the revelation that Princess and Mercer are in a relationship.
I honestly laughed when I saw this because I felt like her kissing him a few issues back was just a joke so it was kind of funny to see that Kirkman actually intended that to be the building blocks for their relationship.
That is not to say I think this is poorly done because I will have to wait to see how their relationship progresses and their characters grow before I know if the two work together or if this is a misfire.
Of course the big moment of the issue is Eugene’s plan to reconstruct a railroad between communities, which has huge world building implications for the series.
However, the issue was not all good because the cliffhanger is very weak.
Dwight basically confronts Rick about helping the Commonwealth through getting their own leader there.
Rick refuses and Dwight gets angry, then it is on to the letter hacks.
I felt like this cliffhanger was very weak because it is almost certainly a fake one, which will be immediately resolved at the beginning of the next issue.
If not, then this will only add more to the pointless Rick vs Dwight subplot, that is honestly making me really dislike Dwight, which is a shame because he was a real standout in the Whisperer War arc.
Overall though, “Eugene Tinkers” was a good issue that had plenty of interesting moments and set up plenty of interactions between Rick and the Commonwealth community.