Top 10 The Walking Dead Comic Characters.

In an unexpected twist, Robert Kirkman recently brought his epic zombie comic, The Walking Dead, to an end.
With 193 issues under its belt, the series has an expansive list of characters, many of which are incredibly investing.
And I am going to count down who I believe are the top 10 best characters of the series.
Honorable mentions go out to Dale, Tyreese and Abraham who just missed out on making the list.
Now, let’s kick this list off with number 10.

10. The Governor.

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I cannot remember a time when I have hated a character more than the Governor.
I know this may be a strange thing to say, considering this is a top 10 best characters list, but the Governor is a character you are supposed to hate.
And, I have got to admit, Kirkman did an amazing job at making him one of the most detestable characters I have ever seen.
He is one of The Walking Dead‘s best villains and it all comes down to how vile he is and how he covers this up.
Name any crime under the sun and this disgusting human being has probably done it.
Rape, torture, murder, the list is endless.
This is where my one criticism of him comes in as it does get quite uncomfortable when Kirkman goes full on snuff film with what he does and what happens to him.
One of the big criticisms I have heard about his character is that he is too evil to the point of being one dimensional.
Well, to those who say that I would recommend they read The Rise of the Governor and its follow ups, a series of novels by Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga that detail the origins of the Governor, and the events of the prison attacks from his perspective.
There we learn that his name is actually not Phillip Blake but Brian Blake, and he is suffering from some kind of split personality because he comes to believe he is his brother after Phillip’s death.
These books add layers to the Governor and make him more interesting to look at in the comics.
The Governor makes the list both for this reason and how he is easily one of the most memorably hateable characters in fiction for me.

9. Glenn Rhee.

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One of the original survivors in the series, Glenn quickly stood out as one of the more likeable characters with his resourcefulness.
A former pizza delivery boy, it was he who would go out into the zombie infested city of Atlanta to search for supplies to keep everyone alive.
It was here that he rescued Rick and their long friendship began.
One of the big standouts of Glenn is his relationship with Maggie.
For the first 40 or so issues where their relationship was shown they were more like those horny couples you see in horror movies only, you know, they did not die (at least not yet).
It was only after the prison arc where Glenn’s relationship with Maggie grew into something special for me, with them having to raise Sophia after Carol’s death.
Here, we saw Glenn become a father and how he had to try and help Maggie through her depression, which even led to an attempted suicide.
Glenn pushed forward though, providing for his new family in this harsh world.
Eventually, he and Maggie finally succeeded in getting pregnant and it looked like a new chapter would be opening in Glenn’s life.
And then Issue 100 happened.
Glenn’s death in this issue is definitely one of The Walking Dead‘s most shocking moments.
Not only is it horrifying to see one of the comics most likeable characters get beaten to death with a baseball bat but it also opened up a whole new story and line of development for characters like Maggie.
The death is made even more tragic by the fact that Glenn was one of the few characters in The Walking Dead who had not been corrupted by the violence in the world.
Glenn was a likeable character throughout his time in the comic, and very important to the narrative, and for that he takes the ninth spot.

8. Jesus.

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No, not that Jesus.
The Jesus I am talking about is Paul Monroe, who goes by that nickname because, well, he looks like Jesus Christ.
Arriving some time after the No Way Out Arc, Jesus serves as the character who brings The Walking Dead story into a brand new direction.
The volume he first appears in is called “A Larger World” for a reason.
Through Jesus, Rick’s group are introduced to various communities including the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and even the villainous Saviors.
Along with introducing this new angle to the story, Jesus is also a great character with a lot of likability.
He is also the series’ best fighter by a wide margin, even beating Negan in combat during the All Out War arc.
I like to think he was some kind of martial arts instructor before the apocalypse hit, which would make a lot of sense.
Sadly, we do not know anything at all about his past but, despite this, he still remains an interesting character throughout.
His relationship with Aaron after the Whisperer War Arc is also well done, with a significant amount of buildup.
Jesus is a character we did not know much about but was amazing, all the same.
Every time he showed up in a fight you knew something epic was about to go down.

7. Eugene Porter.

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Eugene is one of The Walking Dead‘s most surprising characters for me.
This is because after his introduction and the first few arcs he was featured in, I honestly never expected to like him and, yet, here he is at number seven on my favourite characters list.
When Eugene is introduced he is instantly setup as one of the series’ most important characters because he knows how to cure the zombie plague… only for this to turn out to be a complete lie.
After rightfully getting the hell beaten out of him by Abraham, Eugene admits he lied because he was scared and had no other talent to protect himself.
While this is understandable, it framed Eugene in quite an unlikable light considering so many had died for him.
This changed in the All Out War Arc when, after the death of Abraham, Eugene began to work tirelessly to stop the Saviours by producing bullets for the communities to use in their fight.
Then, when he was kidnapped by Negan, who threatened to castrate him if he did not produce bullets for him, Eugene refused in a moment that showed true bravery and just how much he had changed.
His character development continued into the subsequent arcs, as he became a vital member in, not just the communities’ survival, but civilization’s survival in general.
With all of this growth in terms of his worth and character growth, Eugene went from one of the most unlikable characters to one of the most important and interesting.

6. Maggie Rhee.

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Maggie is a character whose development does not get discussed very much compared to other characters and I think this is a shame.
Upon comparing how she started out in the series to where she ends up, it can clearly be seen how she is a completely changed person by the story’s conclusion.
When we first meet Maggie she is, to quote Glenn, a “sex machine.”
Many of her scenes in the first few arcs focus on the intimacy between her and Glenn with a lot of eye candy.
However, this changes after the prison attack where Maggie loses all of her remaining family.
This loss, and the pressure of the orphaned Sophia now viewing Maggie as her mother, causes Maggie to spiral into depression, resulting in a shocking suicide attempt.
After recovering from this, Maggie comes to accept becoming Sophia’s mother and enters a new stage in her relationship with Glenn.
From this point on, they are one of the clear examples of a family unit created in this apocalypse.
However, this unit is shattered when, shortly after learning she is pregnant, Maggie is forced to watch as Glenn is beaten to death in front of her.
After this traumatic event, a more hardened Maggie arises.
And with the triumphant words of “I believe in Rick Grimes” she becomes the leader of the Hilltop and by the story’s end is even the president.
This growth from lovesick girl, to caring mother, to hardened leader is one of The Walking Dead‘s most emotional character growths.

5. Michonne Hawthorne.

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Michonne is an instantly recognizable character from The Walking Dead.
The image of her walking with her two pet zombies, katana in hand, is one of the most recognizable in the series.
However, it did take a bit of time for me to warm up to her character.
This was probably because she first appeared and was a central character in of the comics’ weakest volumes, “The Heart’s Desire”, which basically turned The Walking Dead into a soap opera for a time.
Then there was her storyline with the Governor, which turned her into a victim pretty soon after we had met her and to very uncomfortable levels.
The fact that it later went full on snuff, rape revenge definitely did not help.
It felt like Kirkman was just trying to shock the reader with what she experienced.
After this, though, Michonne got a lot better as a character with Kirkman delving deeper into her mentality and even the guilt she holds for some of the things she has done.
Her final confrontation with the Governor is an epic moment for her, even if she does not succeed in killing him, and the moment she saves Carl’s life after the prison massacre is a highlight.
From here, she continued to be a strong, reliable figure who grew a close bond with Rick.
This eventually resulted in my favourite scene of hers where Rick calls her his best friend, only for her to cheekily reply, “what are you, ten?”
Then there is the discovery that her daughter Elodie is alive in the final arc and, even though I felt like what came of it was a bit of a missed opportunity, their reunion is incredibly touching.
Michonne is one of the series’ most memorable and coolest characters, emerging from the initial slump I felt she had in the best of ways.

4. Negan.

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If the Governor is a character I love to hate, then Negan is a character I hate to love.
Arriving on the scene in The Walking Dead‘s 100th Issue, Negan made a bloody splash when he brutally beat Glenn to death in front of everyone, including Maggie who was pregnant.
This instantly set Negan up, both as the new big threat for the group to face and also as someone for the reader to hate.
However, this last thing did not happen for me.
Because, while I did hate Negan initially, her very quickly grew on me as a character.
He was not only darkly humorous but also had a moral code, with him hating rape so much that he kills a man in his group when he tries to commit it.
This made Negan very different from the Governor because, while he was someone who simply did twisted things because he wanted to, Negan did them because he believed they were the right thing to do.
And it was this sentiment of Negan’s that allowed him to have a redemption arc in the aftermath of All Out War, becoming a changed man and helping Rick and the communities in the war against the Whisperers.
Although he never shakes his violent tendencies, as seen by him beheading the Whisper leader Alpha to prove his loyalty to Rick.
This unpredictable personality made for some great interactions with other characters, especially Carl who would go on to form a kind of friendship(?) with the monstrous man.
Then there was the resolution to his story in Issue 174, where Maggie finally confronts him for killing Glenn.
Rather than doing so, though, she instead leaves him to live the life of loneliness he deserves.
This act seems to give the both of them closure, and Negan departs from the story with his redemption arc fully complete.
Negan is the best villain in The Walking Dead.
They made a character who committed a horrific act of violence the first time we meet him somehow likeable, and made me hate myself for liking him.

3. Andrea Grimes.

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Andrea was one of my most hated characters in The Walking Dead show.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I started reading the comics and found Andrea to be one of the most likeable characters.
The TV series really screwed up her storyline and it was incredibly sad to read the comics and see what a missed opportunity she was in that show.
Andrea starts out in the comics as just an ordinary woman who becomes hardened by the world, after the death of her sister.
Becoming a sharpshooter, she is quickly established as one of the groups most reliable and useful members.
Then there is her relationship with the elderly Dale, which is surprisingly emotional and well done.
The two’s arcs are both great and make their relationships one of the highlights of the comic.
However, her relationship with Dale is not the best of the series.
No, that goes to Andrea’s relationship with Rick long after Dale’s death.
Initially, I felt that this relationship came out of left field but, as it developed and we got to see these two grow from it, it quickly became the best relationship.
Andrea has so many amazing moments from the comics, like her taking out the Governor’s men when he attacks the prison and, most notably, her fight with Connor in the bell tower.
Her death in Issue 167 from a roamer bite is one of the most emotional deaths in the entire comic series.
It is quite the gut punch seeing everyone whose lives she affected saying their final goodbyes to her, and then even seeing Rick nearly give up and allow Andrea to kill him when she turns.
Thankfully, he pulls himself together and puts her down, remembering her final words at the end of the issue.
Andrea is an amazing character with so many standout moments and an emotional sendoff.

2. Carl Grimes.

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Carl is another character that was screwed over in the show, although not to the extent that Andrea was.
His show version just never went down the dark descent that the comic Carl did.
This Carl started off as a lot more useful than the TV adaptation, with him learning to use a gun way sooner.
Still, he was not really important until after the prison massacre where he lost his mother Lori and newborn sister Judith.
After this point, Carl went down a very dark storyline, with him having to take care of his injured father and later killing another boy named Ben who had gone crazy and murdered his own brother.
Carl doing this showed just how brutal the world of The Walking Dead was for a child, with him being forced to commit acts to keep himself and the group safe.
This worsened after he was shockingly shot during the No Way Out arc because he became harsher as a result.
His crueler temperament even led him to try and assassinate Negan.
Luckily, the swearing leader took a liking to Carl so did not hurt him.
The two even formed some kind of bond, continuing to have talks after Negan was locked up.
It was at this point that Carl began to take a lot after both Rick and Negan, almost killing two bullies when they attacked him and Sophia, like Negan would, and going after Lydia in the Whisperer Arc after he learned she was being abused, like Rick would.
This created a complex personality for Carl where he embodied traits of not just the main character of the series but also one of the series’ biggest villains as well.
One of the big themes of The Walking Dead is about raising children in a cruel world and what this causes the child to become.
Carl embodies this perfectly and the series could not have ended any better than with him sitting in a rocking chair with his daughter Andrea, who is named after his step-mother, telling her the story of the series.

1. Rick Grimes.

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The man, the myth, the legend, the main character, Rick Grimes is, without a doubt, the best character in The Walking Dead. 
He was the one we followed all the way up until the ending, and during that time we got to see him grow from the leader of a small group of survivors to a heroic figure sure to be remembered in the history books.
His journey to get to this point is inspirational, with him enduring many sacrifices and hardships.
We, as the readers, instantly related to his search to find his wife, Lori, and son, Carl, after waking up in the apocalypse.
When he finally found them and his goals switched to protecting the group, we followed him in this.
And it was not long before Rick had to start doing morally grey things to protect those he loved.
Shooting Dexter in the prison arc was the beginning of this, and the act culminated in him shouting “we are the walking dead!”
With this statement, Rick’s hardships continued as he shockingly losing his hand to the Governor and then saw  Lori and their baby Judith die in the prison massacre.
He did countless horrible things to protect his people after this, from ripping a man’s throat out with his teeth to save Carl from being raped, to torturing a group of cannibals to death after they had already been beaten.
All of this resulted in Rick and his group, including Carl, starting to lose their humanity to survive.
Then they arrived at the Alexandria Safe Zone and we got to see our battle hardened main character struggle to live in society again, only for things to predictably go wrong in the worst of ways, resulting in him needing to take charge.
It was here that Rick emerged as the true inspirational leader, giving numerous memorable speeches to inspire his people.
His relationship with Andrea also started here as the best of the series.
He then began to take steps towards building a humane society, as seen by him sparing Negan, even after all the horrible things he had done, and later freeing him when he had been rehabilitated.
Rick even began to rebuild a society that was better than our own one, with everyone being equal.
His inspirational journey to build this society reached its pinnacle in the Commonwealth Arc, where his new system conflicted with the flawed old one.
The end result was Rick’s society winning with his story coming full circle when he said the great line of “we are NOT the walking dead!”
Sadly, this also resulted in Rick’s death at the hands of Sebastian Milton, which is my one big problems with Rick’s story.
I like the idea behind his death but I felt the execution left a bit to be desired.
Still, this does not change the fact that Rick is a fantastic main character, and the best character of the comic.
Watching him rebuild a new and better society in an apocalyptic world was amazing, and a highlight of the series.

The Walking Dead Issue 193 The Farm House Review: The End… Wait, What!?

4 and a half stars
Well, I don’t think anyone saw this coming.
There we all were, wondering how The Walking Dead would continue without Rick Grimes when, suddenly, leaks started to come out saying the series would be ending with Issue 193.
It has to be a joke, I thought. It has to be.
But no, this really is the end.
Robert Kirkman somehow managed to keep the ending of The Walking Dead completely secret, even going as far as to create fake covers for future issues that will never exist.
Personally, when I heard of this deception, I was unhappy about it.
I believe that a writer, director, developer, or whatever should never mislead their consumers about future products that they know will not happen.
However, after reading Kirkman’s reasoning behind this, I do understand why he did this.
I still think he should have come clean about the ending of the series but I can see that he wanted to surprise his readers in a good way.
Honestly, I am just sad that it is over.
I remember when I started reading The Walking Dead comics.
I had just finished binge watching the first two seasons of the television show and I wanted to know what would happen next so I started reading.
What I found in the comics was a far superior story to the TV show, with even more engaging characters, plot points and shocking moments.
After catching up, I continued read the next issue every month to see what would happen.
And, even though I was recently thinking about how much The Walking Dead had descended into mediocrity, I was still a massive fan.
Even after the death of the main character, Rick Grimes (which I thought was handled poorly), I was eager to see how the series would continue… only for it to end in a surprising twist.
Enough about my opinions on the overall series though, now I want to talk about the final issue itself, Issue 193 “The Farm House.”
Since I found the previous issue to not be a very good one, and felt that Kirkman was rushing to conclude his story, I fully expected “The Farm House” to join the likes of Game of Thrones among the worst endings to great series in 2019.
Thankfully, this is far from we got.
I actually love this ending.
Do I still think it is a little rushed?
Yes.
Do I think there are a lot of unanswered questions about certain characters?
Yes.
But, overall, this was a fantastic way to end a story that I have been invested in for so many years.
The ending does not fix the mediocre Commonwealth Arc that came beforehand, not by a long shot.
However, it does bring a fitting end to the series and the many characters we know and love.
Picking up after only Kirkman knows how many decades after Rick’s death, “The Farm House” sees Carl living in the countryside with Sophia and their daughter Andrea, named after Carl’s amazing stepmother.
The issue starts with a Roamer coming across Carl’s house who kills it, before angrily storming into town to confront Maggie’s son Hershel, who sadly reminds me a lot of Sebastian.
Turns out the undead are so rare these days that they have actually become a circus attraction, and Hershel is not happy that Carl put down his property.
This starts an believably absurd legal situation that is unbelievably absurd where Carl faces a fine for killing something that could have easily killed his daughter.
Carl states this is not what his father died for and he is exactly right.
Maggie then walks in, now the president of the Commonwealth, and convinces the judge not to fine Carl so long as he gets another Walker for her spoiled son.
It was heartbreaking to see how similar Maggie and Hershel have become to Pamela and Sebastian.
It is a parallel that Kirkman makes plainly obvious with Sophia saying Hershel could end up like Sebastian if Maggie is not careful.
Angered by how Hershel is allowed to keep the dangerous undead, Carl kills the Roamers in the night before going off on a job with his ex Lydia.
It is here that we get a full display of how far the world has come, both after Rick’s death and the zombie apocalypse itself.
Because of the decline in humans, animal populations are sky rocketing with a massive flock of birds flying over the two’s heads.
They then meet up with Eugene, who has actually started to build his railway network, giving off a very wild west theme.
Upon returning, Carl is arrested for killing the Roamers and is sent to Michonne who is now a judge.
It is here that we get a big highlight of the issue, where Michonne actually quotes what is written on the back of each volume, “in a world ruled by the dead we are finally forced to start living.”
After this powerful statement, Carl is released back to his family.
Before this though, we get a final scene from Hershel where we come to understand he is not as similar to Sebastian as we had been led to believe.
Showing those Roamers actually allowed Hershel to feel close to his father Glenn, who he never had the pleasure of meeting.
This gives us another perspective on the whole situation.
We then see that a statue has been made in Rick’s honor, with him in the pose he was in when he saved the Commonwealth from disaster right before his death.
A fitting memorial to the hero we followed for 192 issues.
Finally, we get the final and best scene in the entirety of  “The Farm House”, where Carl reads Andrea the story of Rick Grimes.
During his narration, we get shots of Maggie with Hershel, Jesus and Aaron resting on a riverbank, what looks like Negan laying flowers on Lucille’s grave, Princess and Mercer walking their dog, Lydia arriving home to her partner, Magna and Yumiko in a park, Eugene watching his train go by, Laura eating with her crew, Michonne going to see her grandchild, an elderly Pamela going to see a thankfully still jailed Sebastian, and Rick Grimes’ grave right next to Andrea’s.
Carl then tells his daughter she would have liked her grandfather to which she replies she knows, appearing irritated, before she joyfully asks him to “read it again”, as if Kirkman himself is asking his readers to do so.
The final shot sees Carl smiling as he reads to her in his rocking chair, the panel entirely white and vacant around them, except for the big “The End” to the side and, just like that, I break down.
I cried seeing such a heartwarming ending to a series I have loved reading for years.
This was a fantastic end to The Walking Dead story, and I am overjoyed with how it subverted my expectations from a day ago, when I first heard the story was concluding.
Sure, it does feel a little rushed and it makes characters like Princess seem pretty pointless in hindsight but, overall, I am happy with the ending.
Goodbye, The Walking Dead. 
You will be missed.

The Walking Dead, Issue 192, Aftermath Review: Everything Changes but not in a Good way.

two-and-a-half-stars
In my review for the shocking Issue 191 of The Walking Dead, I said I had mixed opinions about the possibility of Rick Grimes dying.
On the one hand, I did like the idea of his death being reminiscent of assassinations of other historical figures but, on the other hand, I thought it was stupid that it was Sebastian, of all people, who killed him.
Overall, I decided to reserve judgement on the death until it actually happened in Issue 192, “Aftermath.”
Well, the chapter was released yesterday and we finally got to see the great Rick Grimes die, and, I have to say, I am disappointed.
My main criticism lies in how Rick’s death honestly does not feel like the death of a main character.
Seriously, this chapter is named “Aftermath,” we should be seeing all the people Rick helped reacting to the news of his death.
Sure, we do get Carl’s reaction and that is handled very well but we get almost no reaction from the other characters.
What about Michonne?
She was Rick’s best friend and she does not even shed a tear over his death.
Maggie, Sophia, Eugene, Jesus, Aaron, these are all characters who Rick has helped survive and we do not see of their reactions apart from brief mourning shots as they go to his funeral.
And that’s another thing, we don’t even see his funeral.
Carl collapses from grief on his way to Alexandria and says he does not think he can do this without his father then the issue just ends.
It honestly feels like the death of a minor character instead of the lead of the entire series.
What’s more, it looks like the comics are going to be quickly moving on from Rick’s death.
The next issue looks to be entirely Negan focused, and the issue after that is introducing a new character Sheriff Kapoor, who looks almost exactly like Rick.
I should not have to say this but, since Rick is the main character, his death should feel like a massive event that will affect the future of the series bur it honestly does not feel like that.
I’m not going to act like there aren’t some great things about “Aftermath” because there are.
Seeing Rick get repeatedly shot by Sebastian had me screaming out in shock.
Not only this but the scene where Carl confronts Sebastian in prison is magnificent.
It shows how Carl has been influenced by both Rick and Negan because, while he decides to let him rot in prison like Rick would have wanted, he also promises to hurt him if he ever gets out, quoting Negan as he leaves by saying “ta, ta.”
However, while this is a great moment that points towards an interesting future for Carl, it does not make up for how poorly handled Rick’s exit feels.
He was killed by one of the most annoying characters the series has ever had, there is almost no reaction from the other characters to his death, which ultimately feels like that of a side character rather the main one, and the comics already look to be moving on from it in the next issue.
In my opinion, Robert Kirkman really dropped the ball with this.
The Commonwealth Arc has been downright bad in my opinion.
There were various great moments in it that made me believe it could get better but, overall, it was poorly plotted, structured, and resulted in a disappointing death for the main character.
I will keep reading to see what the series is like without Rick but, unless it has picked up by issue 200, I will think the series has officially jumped the shark.

The Walking Dead Issue 191: The Last Stand Review – Coming Full Circle with a Shocking Twist.

4 stars
Well… that just happened.
I got spoiled right before I read Issue 191 of The Walking Dead, “The Last Stand”, but it was still shocking to see the ending of the issue.
Before I begin the review, I have to warn you there are gigantic spoilers in this review so if you have not read the issue then go do that before continuing.
Seriously, you do not want to get spoiled about this like I did.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the big moment of the issue, and what is sure to be one of the biggest moments of The Walking Dead.
That being Rick getting shot in the chest and supposedly starting to bleed out at the end of the issue.
This is such a big moment in the history of the series because, make no mistake, Rick is going to die next issue.
While this has not been confirmed, it is made blatantly obvious by the issue.
Rick is shot right in the chest, and blood is leaking from his mouth so it is clear the bullet hit something vital.
Not only that, but Rick’s character arc came full circle in this issue, with him managing to peacefully resolve the situation with Pamela, and save the Commonwealth, by making a passionate speech declaring, “we are NOT the walking dead!”
This is directly mirroring a similar speech in Issue 24, where Rick states the exact opposite, and the final shot of Rick about to bleed out also mirrors the cover of Issue 45, where he is similarly shot.
Then there is Rick’s final scene with Carl, which has a real sense of finality to it, serving as the unknowing goodbye between the two.
So, yeah, Rick Grimes is definitely going to die next issue.
If he did not then it would feel like a major cop-out.
How do I feel about this, though?
Well, right now I am mixed.
For one, I actually love the idea of Rick getting taken out in assassination after gaining so much support, which is very similar to many inspirational historical figures.
It is very realistic and, with it coming directly after Rick’s arc comes full circle, incredibly well done.
My problem lies in who shoots him: The cowardly Sebastian, the son of Pamela Milton.
Honestly, the idea of the great Rick Grimes being killed by a guy who reminds of me a spoiled, bratty teenager from one of those awful MTV shows is pretty stupid.
This could have been remedied if Robert Kirkman had built Sebastian up as a more intimidating character.
For example, he could still be spoiled, as this is his main motivation for shooting Rick, but he could also have a power base and people who work for him, establishing him as more of a threat.
As it stands though, it is pretty disappointing that Rick gets taken out by such a brat.
However, whether this drives Rick’s death more into the negative side for me will depend on how that death is handled next issue.
If Rick dies before he reaches anyone then no one will know it was Sebastian because he used a silencer and probably left almost no trace.
This could create an interesting story where Carl searches for his killer and Pamela tries to protect her son.
Speaking of Carl, I am very excited to see him take Rick’s place as the main character.
One of the big themes of the series has been how children grow up in this world of the dead, but with Carl now grown up and about to take Rick’s place, it could create a new age for The Walking Dead.
Since Carl is still only around 14 though, I do expect there be a time jump to age him up so he can be a realistic leader, because I do not see a 14-year-old leading a community.
As for the rest of “The Last Stand”, it is pretty good.
I would have found the way the hyped up battle with Pamela ended disappointing if it had not been for the ending, though.
It is funny actually.
Before this point, The Commonwealth story arc has been a jumbled mess and now it all seems to be coming together to send Rick off.
It is both tragic and exciting to see Kirkman killing off his main character.
Tragic because we are seeing the end of a character we have followed for well over a decade, and exciting because this could bring a new age for The Walking Dead with Carl as the main character.

The Walking Dead Season Nine Review: A Return to Form.

4 and a half stars
Seasons seven and eight were the weakest of The Walking Dead.
Full of bottle episodes and with an incredibly slow structure overall, these two seasons really should have been merged into one.
So, in order to bounce back, the show needed to deliver a fantastic ninth season and, boy, did it.
Scott Gimple was replaced as showrunner by Angela Kang who brought The Walking Dead back from the brink, adapting one of my favourite story arcs from the comics perfectly.
However, going in I did have my concerns, what with this season being the final one with Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes.
I was afraid the show would not be able to sustain itself without Rick but, thankfully, I was dead wrong about this.
Not only did Rick get a good sendoff in episode five “What Comes After,” but Daryl (Norman Reedus) works as the new lead after Rick’s departure.

Rick's departure
Rick got a good sendoff with episode five, and I am interested to see how his movies will turn out.

The season gets better from there with the New Beginning story arc, which saw a six year time skip.
From here, the season delivers great episode after great episode, only faltering with episode seven “Stradivarius,” which is not a bad episode but is much slower than the others.
By far the best part of this season, for me, is how the new characters from the comics are made even better that their comic book versions.
For example, I care for every member of Magna’s group in the show, while in the comics the only one I care for is Magna (Nadia Hilker) herself.
Connie (Lauren Ridloff) is an especially fantastic improvement on her comic book counterpart.
Then there are the Whisperers who are even scarier than they are in the comics, especially Samantha Morton as Alpha who knocks it out of the park.
I doubt that anyone could play this role better.
Finally, for characters, there is Judith (Cailey Fleming).
After Carl died in season eight, which is the stupidest decision the show has ever made, the series had lost one of its central pieces.
One of the main themes of The Walking Dead is how children grow up in a land of the dead and, with Carl gone, so was this theme.
Enter Judith in season nine, who so far, in my opinion, manages to be a better character than Carl and I cannot wait to see what else the writers decide to do with her.

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The little ass kicker herself is the new Carl for this show and it is going pretty well so far.

Then there are the episodes themselves, which are stellar, as stated.
The best episodes of the season, though, came towards the end, with episodes 14 “Scars” and 15 “The Calm Before” being absolutely fantastic.
These episodes were investing, dark, and some of the best episodes of the entire series.
Overall, I would say The Walking Dead can manage just fine without Rick.
However, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) may be another story because both are set to depart next season, which is concerning.
But Maggie is supposed to be returning so there is that.
I am also a bit concerned about how the Whisperer Arc will be handled in season ten, because, after the horrifying pike scene of episode 15, I believe the arc started to go downhill a bit.
Hopefully, the show will be able to improve on this arc in season ten just as they did with season nine.
If you stopped watching The Walking Dead after seasons seven and eight I would recommend you start watching again because the show has returned to its former glory.
I just hope that it stays there.

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, Episode 16, “The Storm” Review: An Interesting Finale.

3 and a half stars
The Walking Dead 
season nine came to a close with its season finale this week, “The Storm”, in a surprisingly anticlimactic end to a fantastic season.
That is not to say “The Storm” was a bad episode but, compared to the other finales the series has had, the episode did not have that much of a climactic feel.
This does makes sense though, considering the episode is following the shocking pike scene from “The Calm Before.”
In fact, “The Storm” not only lives up to its name by a being a continuation of “The Calm Before” title, but by also featuring a snow storm, the first in The Walking Dead show’s history.
This is surprising when you look at how many snow storms have been in the comics, but hey, better late than never.
The previous lack of snow is more than made up for in this episode, with the snow storm being the main threat the characters face.
This new threat, combined with the characters dealing with the aftermath of the pike massacre make for some compelling moments.
For example, the scenes between Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) were touchingly tragic, with Henry’s death having driven them apart.

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It is tragic to see Ezekiel and Carol’s relationship plummet after the death of Henry and makes me wonder what the future holds for them.

It made for a sad contrast, with their relationship being established at the beginning of season nine, only for it to end in the finale.
The fall of the Kingdom basically represents the fall of their relationship.
Speaking of Carol though, the way she and Lydia (Cassidy McClincy) interacted was great.
I especially liked Lydia’s growth through her battle with suicidal thoughts in the aftermath of Henry’s death and being ostracized by many of the other survivors for her mother’s actions.
The big highlight of the episode though is definitely Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), with him taking another step towards his redemption.
After Judith (Cailey Fleming) is lost in a snow storm searching for Daryl’s dog, Negan is the first to give chase and eventually rescues her, even though he gets hurt.
His line that she “wanted more Negan time” was a great moment from him that showed the connection between the two.
It honestly feels like the connection Negan had with Carl in the comics, so I am glad the show found a way they could keep that alive, even with Carl being dead.

Negan
I am loving how Negan’s redemption arc is being played out in the show, especially Judith’s role in it. 

As for the rest of the episode, it was fairly standard.
With the Kingdom having fallen and the Sanctuary not living up to its name, the group are forced to make their way through Alpha’s territory to get to safety but nothing all that massive comes from it.
It is revealed later in the episode that Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the other Whisperers left for winter, however, this does not make much sense to me because wouldn’t it be winter everywhere else?
In any case, the scene with her and Beta (Ryan Hurst) is basically just a reminder that they are still in the story so does not offer much weight.
However, The final scene of the finale definitely does as someone attempts to communicate with the group on the radio they have set up.
I heard rumors that Rick would be on the radio so it was a bit disappointing to not hear his voice, but I am not going to let my expectations influence my opinion on the episode.

Rick
I was sad to realise Rick was not on the radio, however, we still have The Walking Dead movies, where he will appear, to look forward to. 

As to who was on the radio, there has been a lot of speculation.
Most people think it is Maggie and this is the way the show will bring her back, but I personally think it is Stephanie, who is a new character that will be in the next arc, after the Whisperers.
This means, when they are finally dealt with, we will be getting the Commonwealth arc, which I am kind of dreading because of how lackluster this arc has been so far in the comics.
Whatever the case, this cliffhangers is still better than many of the other ones we have had in the series.
I am looking at you “Last Day on Earth.”
Overall, “The Storm” is a decent season finale, and director Greg Nicotero did a good job with it.
Not a lot may have happened, but it was still better than some of the other season finales and was a good way to wrap up season nine.
And, with how great this season was, I am eager to see how season ten will turn out.

The Walking Dead, The Calm Before, Episode 15 Review: Emotionally Horrifying.

5 stars
They did it.
They actually pulled it off, thank god.
This is what the season six finale of The Walking Dead should have been.
I remember watching that moment when it cut to a point of view shot, hiding who Negan’s victim was, and feeling absolutely infuriated that they had ruined one of the comic’s most shocking scenes.
Thankfully though, episode 15 of season nine, “The Calm Before,” manages to transition the shock and horror of The Walking Dead’s Red Wedding moment to television brilliantly.
For starters, the episode does a fantastic job of building tension.
It is clear right from the opening minutes that something bad is going to happen this episode, even if you have never read the comics like I have.
Watching the happy life of a married couple in the Hilltop change into a scene from a horror movie where Alpha kills them and scalps the woman, perfectly sets up the emotional horror of the episode.
From here, the episode continues to build and build on the tension by showing many of the shows’ main and recurring characters enjoying time with their loved ones at the fair.
As a comic reader, these scenes were very intense for me as I tried to guess who among them would get the pike.
I wondered if it would stay closer to the comics or try something knew?
The director of the episode, Laura Besley, was probably thinking the same thing because she put in multiple red herrings to mislead us comic fans, which certainly worked.
The scene between Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) is a great example of this because Alpha leads him away, making me think Ezekiel was going to get his comic book death.
Morton once again stole the show in this episode as Alpha, with her subtle threat that there is going to be “a hard winter” sending chills down my spine.

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Samantha Morton continues to knock it out of the park as Alpha in this chilling scene with Khary Payton’s Ezekiel.

All of this buildup combined with the red herrings made the eventual pike scene all the more shocking to me.
Much like with the season six finale, I remember the horror I felt reading this moment in the comic, but, unlike the season six finale, this time, the horror was pulled off effectively.
The way this scene was shot only amplified the terror, with the pikes slowly coming into view as Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), and the others walk up the hill.
After this, the sequence cuts between our main characters’ horrified reactions, those at the fair looking for their loved ones, and the heads on the pikes.
The images of those heads will probably be seared into my brain for a while, with the haunting shots of them with their hair blowing through the wind as their heads lie decapitated on the pikes.
Everything about this scene was perfectly horrifying.
From the sequence of the shots, to the music, to the acting, especially from Reedus and McBride.
The moment Carol and Daryl realise Henry (Matt Lintz) is one of the pike victims is incredibly tragic, with the scene being reminiscent of when Carol lost her first child Sophia (ironically played by Lintz’s sister Madison) and Daryl had to hold her back.

tragic.jpg
Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus gave great performances with their reaction to Henry’s death. 

Speaking of Henry, I was surprised to see he was one of the pike victims but I do think it is tragically fitting because of where it will take characters closely connected with him.
Along with this, it means that Henry is not taking Carl’s place after he was stupidly killed off in season eight, which is good.
I think MOVIEidol said it best, “I do think killing Henry right here, first of all does confirm that Henry isn’t the new Carl, you know? Cause Carl can’t be replaced.”
However, it is not just Henry who gets a shocking pike death, but Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) as well.
I will admit, I was a bit suspicious Enid might be a pike victim, given how much screen time her relationship with Alden (Callan McAuliffe), but I was not expecting Tara.
Her death shocked me, especially since they were really hinting at Rosita (Christian Serratos) before they showed Tara’s head on the pike.
As for the other seven characters who met their fates on the pikes, they were mostly side characters but I still felt their loss due to a fantastic addition to the episode.
In a scene that is completely TV series original, the only survivor from the Whisperer’s attack Siddiq (Avi Nash) tells the communities about the victims’ heroic last stand against Alpha and the Whisperers.
Much like the pike scene, the way this scene was shot was amazing.
Not only this but Nash’s performance, and the tragic music, actually made me tear up, making it two episodes in a row I have done so.

Siddiq's speech
Siddiq’s emotional tale of the pike victims’ heroic struggle for survival is one of the most tragic moments in The Walking Dead‘s history.

The Walking Dead honestly could not have done the pike scene any better.
It balanced the horrific tragedy of the event perfectly, and added a brilliant scene that highlighted the heroic actions of the victims.
Now, I only wonder how the season will end with the finale, “The Storm”?
But, this said, I have complete faith in Angela Kang, who wrote the episode.
She has completely turned The Walking Dead around.
After season eight and the announcement of Andrew Lincoln’s departure, I was actually thinking of quitting the show but, after seeing where Kang has taken the series, I am so glad I stuck around.
“The Calm Before” did justice to one of the comics’ darkest moments and even added to it, creating an amazing episode that was built off emotional horror.

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.”

Pregnant michonne kills.jpeg
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.

Beta.png
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.