Zeb Larson reviews The Walking Dead #146…
A breaking point reached.
Rick Grimes is still grappling with the deaths from issue #144, and he faces an uphill battle in convincing the members of his community not to immediately retaliate. Many people are reeling from what’s happened. Yet this issue feels a little lifeless, as it is a transition piece between what happened two issues ago and what comes next. I will be discussing spoilers in this issue, so consider yourself forewarned.
Rick has to do the awful thing and tell the people who have lost loved ones that they cannot retaliate yet against the Whisperers. Of course, this decision is not a popular one, and some people begin to grumble that Maggie would handle the problem. This leads to the confrontation between Maggie and Rick in which she admits she had Gregory executed and defends her actions. The two briefly throw down, but after a few punches they calm down and agree to start planning for what comes next. Rick returns home to find Eugene in tears, admitting that Rosita’s child wasn’t his. Eugene has a plan, though: go after Lydia and make Alpha pay.
Does it seem like the tension between Maggie and Rick was resolved a little too easily? I hope that Kirkman is just trying to put this on the back burner rather than simply allowing it to come to a peaceful end. After all, Rick has stated over and over again that they do not kill people anymore, and allowing that to come to an end with a couple of thrown punches feels too easy. Other people are starting to look to Maggie as a leader, so perhaps this will be revisited in subsequent issues as a point of tension between the two. Still, Rick appears to let it go a little too easily.
We get some of people’s grief in this issue, but it’s mostly how that grief is being directed at Rick. Most of that is anger because Rick won’t take action yet against the Whisperers. It’s ultimately all from Rick’s perspective, yet we don’t get to see Rick’s reactions to any of this. Because of that, much of the emotion in this issue falls short, despite the fact that this should be a very emotional issue. The exception to that is the ending with Eugene, who has more to offer than just profanity and anger. No, he’s taken the loss (one in a long line of frustrations and sadness with Rosita) and gone to a much darker place: he wants to hurt Alpha by going after her daughter. Poor Eugene, who has been in some ways the most peaceful out of the group, has just gone to a dark place. That gives the issue some emotional heft that it badly needs.
On to issue #147. Every book needs to have transition points, and this is one of them.