In which a lost family member is found and another family member may be lost to Rick and the people of Alexandria. Your Major Spoilers review of The Walking Dead #180 awaits!
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler: Charlie Adlard
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 6, 2018
Previously in The Walking Dead: The Commonwealth’s class system divides the visitors from Alexandria on how fair its practices are. However, Michonne decides to live there, giving herself a second chance at life alongside her daughter as the Commonwealth’s newest lawyer. Moving on also means giving her katana to Eugene to show Rick how much she believes in her new life. Eugene leads the Governor’s delegations on the long journey back to Alexandria, where the real work is about to begin.
SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
Walking Dead #180 opens in the new setting of the Commonwealth, a larger and more affluent community that has not seen the combat that Alexandria has, as Michonne is shown her new home. And it is HUGE… Now reunited with the daughter she thought she had lost, her first instinct is to worry that the deal comes with strings, but she is assured that it’s just the place that comes with her status as lawyer in the Commonwealth. Back in Alexandria, Rick is shocked to hear that Michonne stuck behind, but puts it aside for his first meeting with The Governor, a name which brings back bad memories. Amazingly, he puts all this right out front, explaining to her why he’s uncomfortable, giving her the tour of Alexandria and trying to put her at ease while getting as much information as he can on her settlement. The conversation turns sour as she explains how resources are allocated in The Commonwealth: If you were of high-status before the zombie apocalypse, you will be given more resources, much as we saw with Michonne. Rick ominously ends the issue opining that her world order isn’t to his liking, and now it’s time for a New World Order. (Cue Hulk Hogan theme.)
THERE’S A SAMENESS TO THIS
The biggest surprise of this issue came in the fact that I have missed a couple dozen issues, but it doesn’t feel like much at all has happened in Alexandria. That’s always the downside of the pacing of this book, with its slooooow burn on drama, and this issue ends up feeling like a conversation rather than a full-fledged story unto itself. Worse still, I feel like we’ve seen this many times before, with Rick meeting a new possible antagonist and responding to them with quiet threats and the possibility of more conflict. The idea of The Commonwealth is an interesting one, as for once, Rick is facing a group more combat-oriented or savage than his people (indeed, Dwight makes a big show of Alexandria’s military force in these pages, leading to some of the awkwardness), but it feels all-too familiar just the same. Charlie Adlard’s art is always interesting, and I really appreciate the effort put into character design and layouts. The arrival of The Governor in an-honest-to-gawd restored stagecoach, wearing a pitch helmet really sets up exactly who and what she is from the first panel, and the shots of Michonne’s apartment really sell how spacious and beautiful it is. I also do not understand the thought process of marking this issue as part six of an arc, as it ends on a cliffhanger and is clearly a middle chapter of something larger.
BOTTOM LINE: SOLID, BUT SLOW-PACED
The Walking Dead is one of those books that I preferred to read in trade, when I was a regular reader, because the story flows so much better in larger portions, and this issue is the perfect example of why. Even though The Walking Dead #180 features a big change for Michonne and some wonderful moments for the art, as well as the reveal of a new character who brings with her a lot of baggage, but the pacing of the story and the vague notion that I’ve read this before leaves us with a slightly disappointed 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. I know that the real fun is in the larger tapestry with TWD, but this issue just doesn’t make for a satisfying single-serving read.