Since issue 70 (read my review here), Rick and the rest of The Walking Dead crew have been living in a protected community outside of Washington, DC. Run by Mayor Douglas Monroe, the community is a well-organized and seemingly civilized suburban safe haven. The members of the community have jobs, houses, easy access to food, and they celebrate holidays like Halloween and throw dinner parties.
However, ever since their induction into the community, the gang has definitely had a hard time fitting in. After spending a year living in fear of zombies, murderers and cannibals, Rick and company are struggling to accept that they may finally be safe. Carl has difficulty connecting with other children after having to grow up too quickly, Michonne can’t seem to part with her katana, and Glenn wants to get back out into the dangerous field of scavaging for supplies. For Rick, however, the transition has been noticeably difficult. Defying the community’s “no gun” policy, he’s determined to carry a secret weapon and intends on using it if their place in the community is threatened.
In the past, Rick’s desire to keep his friends and family safe has forced him to make difficult decisions and cross moral lines. But despite his moral transgressions, his friends and family have (for the most part) accepted his choices as necessary for survival.
In issue 75, not everyone is on his side.
Convinced that the community doctor, Pete, is beating his wife and son, Rick takes his recent position as constable too far and appoints himself judge, jury and executioner. He demands that Pete either be killed or exiled from the community. However, when Douglas makes it clear that Pete’s position as a doctor makes him too valuable, Rick loses his temper. The ensuing fight between Rick and Pete draws the attention of a few community members, and in his rage, Rick pulls a gun on Douglas. In a shocking twist, it is Michonne who finally subdues Rick — hitting him over the head with a rock. But a sudden explosion leaves Rick’s fate unclear.
Michonne’s decision to take down Rick is a powerful and unexpected one. Like Rick, Michonne has shared Rick’s “survival of the fittest” philosophy for most of the series. Hell, this is the girl who they found walking around the countryside with two dismembered zombies (one of whom was her boyfriend!). Michonne’s actions demonstrate that it’s Rick who is the real danger to the community, and that he has changed too much to live in “civilized” society.
But it was the back-up story that really stole the show. Written by Kirkman and illustrated by Invincible artist Ryan Ottley, the seven-page full colour back-up featured current and past members of The Walking Dead cast. In a nonsensical and truly Kirkman-y way, the story picks up right after the end of issue 75, and provides an alternate version of what could happen after Rick’s exploding disappearance.
In the back-up, Rick awakens in a hospital room (a noticeable call-back to issue 1) with a new mechanical hand. After throwing on a superhero inspired costume, he’s ejected out into a battle field filled with zombies, aliens, and deceased TWD cast members. Michonne has enough time to explain that hostile aliens were behind the zombie apocalypse all along, just before her head is cut in half.
The story provided a nice divergence from the usual emotionally heavy subject matter in TWD. Also, anything that involves Michonne wielding a lightsaber is automatically awesome in my books. Overall, the back-up story was fun and Ottley’s crisp images, combined with dynamic poses and facial expressions, really added some vibrancy to Adlard’s usually dull characters.
Issue 75 included even more tasty extras, such as the 10 full-page photos of the cast of the upcoming TWD television series. The six episode series, scheduled to air in October during AMC Fearfest, has been filming in Atlanta, GA, since early June. Images from the set and interviews with the crew have been promising, and the casting decisions seem spot on. Check out AMC’s The Walking Dead blog to see all the cast photos.