The community has been compromised, zombies are everywhere, no one is safe. This event sets everyone back to a Day One scenario of vulnerability and isolation, but how will they react with the knowledge they’ve learned from years of being in the zombie apocalypse? This issue is brutally pragmatic and, while you might not like decisions made by characters, you have to work to understand them.
Before judging anyone in this book, you need to reflect on what you would do in this situation. I’m sure many readers of “The Walking Dead” already have their exit strategies worked out for when the zombies rise up. If you’re serious in that contemplation, then what you see in this issue wouldn’t surprise you too much. It’s just jarring to see it come out of the mouths of people. Some might see the worst in people coming out, while others will only see smart decisions that need to be made. You’re either a survivor or someone waiting to die.
Amidst the pragmatism, Michonne is given a scenario that allows her to put her heart back on display. A shame it’s only surfacing to most likely get broken. She’s managed to keep it hidden for so long and here she really can’t control what happens. In another scene, Gabriel is given an opportunity to redeem his actions from the very first time the zombies arrived. This time he makes the better decision for others, though I can’t see it working out for himself. He always judged himself harshly for surviving and this time might die for his magnanimity.
The issue ends on one hell of a line from Rick. It’s harsh and it’s mean but can you really blame him? This is the sort of thing you have to believe in order to survive the undead wandering and trying to eat you. This is the viewpoint that keeps you sharp. You just never expect to hear someone say it aloud to others. It’s jarring. Even if it is a thought that passes through many parents’ heads each and every day, without the presence of zombies. You can’t judge Rick too harshly for this, he’s just a man, with a son, looking to keep it real.
It wasn’t until this issue that I noticed how much Adlard is painting his drama within normal looking houses. It’s a change of pace from the standard zombie settings and with the blinds all drawn this is just a character study, as usual. The locked room pressure works and it’s nice to see Adlard get the chance to do this arc as something different.
This storyline might end up resetting everything we know in the book – but when hasn’t that been an option? The zombies breaking into the compound puts everyone back to the place they were in when this all started. People will die, again, and survivors will be on the move some more. The cycle begins anew but this time everyone has previous experience, they have knowledge gained. It’s the old becoming new but with the human variable different so that outcomes can be wildly altered. This is everyone’s chance to do it better, if they can.