The Walking Dead #192
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Rick Grimes is dead.
Sebastian Milton shot him at the end of the last issue, but there was still a (very small) chance he would make it out again. But Sebastian confirmed the kill with two additional shots and ran. Thus ends the story of Rick Grimes, after 15 long years.
Or does it? We’ll get back to that just a tad later.
If you’ve been following my reviews of The Walking Dead for the last 12 months, you’re probably aware of the fact that I haven’t been really impressed with the Commonwealth arc. It often felt dragged and cluttered, with random characters and non-twists that were always resolved at the start of the next issue. But #192 almost makes it all worth it, as it proves that Kirkman and co. were patiently building up to this very moment. No matter the cost. Kudos for that.
The pacing and flow of the book is wonderful. It’s really tranquil, with the focus being on Carl and the way he and the rest of the characters handle this turn of events. Adlard does most of the heavy lifting, as much of the story is told through the art alone (shocking for this medium, I know). It’s not just the amount of emotion visible on the character faces, it’s not just the clear and really nice-looking lines, but the framing alone is also fantastic. There are a couple of pages that feature basically the same scene in a number of panels, which might feel like lazy repetition. I assure that is not the case. That sort of repeating panels nicely conveys the passage of time and the severity of the situation.
And then we get to the spreads. Now, the spread with the 24 character close-ups is impressive, for sure. But the two spreads showing the funeral party are the show stealers. Especially the second one, with everyone riding in the sunset. It harkens back to the western influences the book has always had and it’s beautiful.
Now, let’s get back to Rick’s story ending. While he might not be physically present in the book going forward, his influence is felt immediately. Not just on the old cast, but on the new characters as well. He tried his best to save and preserve the Commonwealth, ultimately giving his life for it. Governor Milton is aware and respectful of this and seems genuine in her decision to try and make the community better.
Rick’s death might anger some people, especially since it was in no way something one might call ‘heroic’. I think it’s great, though. It’s a great reminder that death can come easily and randomly for everyone. It doesn’t matter how important you are or aren’t – we will all die. And, again, the aftermath of this death will surely ripple through the story for years to come. It might not have been the death of a hero, but it will surely have that effect. Think Ned’s Stark beheading at the end of Game of Thrones.
For the first time in years, I am excited about the future of the series.
The Walking Dead #192
It's the end of an era, and the beginning of a brand new chapter in this continuing story of survival horror. Kirkman and co. have been patiently building up to this very moment, no matter the cost. Kudos for that.