The long-running Walking Dead comic is nearing its 200th issue, and the series’ status quo may be changing in a profound way in the months to come.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead #191!
The series is currently exploring the growing conflict between Alexandria and the much larger Commonwealth, with Rick Grimes caught squarely in the middle. Rick sees the Commonwealth as key in restoring pre-zombie civilization, even as he laments the ways in which old problems like economic disparity have returned. Already Rick has been forced to kill his friend Dwight to prevent all-out war between the two settlements, and the ending to issue #190 made it appear that was was inevitable regardless.
Instead, Rick manages to prevent a catastrophe by delivering an impassioned speech to both sides. He convinces his own allies and the citizens of the Commonwealth that the only way to achieve lasting peace and prosperity is to work together. As Rick reminds his fellow survivors, they don’t have to be the Walking Dead (mirroring a similar speech from earlier in the series)
Rick convinces the people of the Commonwealth to unseat Mayor Pamela Milton and strive for a more cooperative existence. Rick then extends a helping hand to Pamela herself, freeing her from her jail cell and encouraging her to help guide the Commonwealth to a brighter future. At this point, Rick seems destined to become the city’s new governor, even as he claims to have no interest in the role.
However, a major wrench is thrown in the works when Pamela’s spoiled, arrogant son Sebastian retaliates against Rick. Sebastian confronts Rick in the middle of the night with a loaded gun. And in the heat of their argument, Sebastian shoots Rick in the chest.
Rick isn’t dead yet, but the outlook isn’t good. After years of surviving the undead, the loss of his hand and battles with bloodthirsty villains like Began and Alpha, has Rick’s luck finally run out?
This issue draws an interesting parallel to AMC’s Walking Dead TV series. That series was the first to introduce a Rick Grimes-less status quo. The show eliminated Rick during its ninth season, though fans quickly learned Andrew Lincoln’s Rick will return in a series of TV movies. Has the time come for the comic to finally retire its leading man and forge a new path without Rick Grimes?
Let us know if you want to see a Rick-less Walking Dead comic in the comments below.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.
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