Last month’s issue of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics, Issue #191, teased a major, major death with a big cliffhanger. Did Kirkman follow through in Issue #192? There are major spoilers below for fans of The Walking Dead comics, so click away if you don’t want to know (for reasons that will become evident, this may not affect the television series).
First, a little background: In the current arc of The Walking Dead comics, Rick, Carl, Michonne and Company are at the Commonwealth, a 50,000 person civilization out in Ohio. The Commonwealth is a functioning society with a military, rock bands, sports teams, and many of the amenities of a pre-apocalypse civilization. Its downside, however, is that its system is classist. Basically, people are placed within the class system in The Commonwealth based on their occupation prior to the apocalypse, so that lawyers remain lawyers and house cleaners remain house cleaners, and their socioeconomic situation is reflected accordingly.
This is not a system that the members of Alexandria are a fan of, particularly Michonne. When Rick and Michonne come in, they seek to unravel the system, which means making enemies of Governor Milton, the leader of the Commonwealth. By Issue #191, Governor Milton is imprisoned and new elections are planned. There is even talk of Rick Grimes running to become the new Governor of The Commonwealth.
One person who is not happy with the state of things, however, is Sebastian Milton, the son of Governor Pamela Milton. At the end of Issue #191, Sebastian takes matters into his own hand, pulls out a pistol, and shoots Rick Grimes in the chest. In the Issue #191 cliffhanger, we’re left to wonder whether Rick lives or dies.
That answer arrives definitively in Issue #192, in a way that leaves no doubt. When the issue picks up, Sebastian shoots Rick Grimes several more times. By the time Carl arrives, Rick is a zombie. Carl has to shoot Zombie Rick in the head. RIP Rick Grimes.
In other words, while Rick is still technically alive in the television The Walking Dead universe, he’s officially dead in the comics. What that means for the television show is obviously unclear. It’s possible that the Rick Grimes movies ultimately end with the actual death of Rick Grimes at The Commonwealth. In fact, with Danai Gurira also leaving The Walking Dead, it’s possible that The Commonwealth arc will be reserved for Rick, Michonne, and Jadis and the movies, while the rest of the characters remain in Alexandria. Or it may be that all the characters from The Walking Dead universe ultimately converge in The Commonwealth, where we see Rick Grimes die once and for all in the third Rick Grimes movie. In this week’s fifth season premiere episode of Fear the Walking Dead, Scott Gimple may be setting that up by teasing the origins of CRM, the outfit that picked Rick up in the helicopter last season.
In either respect, for fans of The Walking Dead comics, it’s hard not to see Rick’s death as anything other than a disappointment. Robert Kirkman has said in the past that Rick Grimes would die before he completed his comics, but to have him killed by a nobody like Sebastian Milton is kind of a random bummer. To put it in a context fans of the TV series would understand, it’s kind of like seeing Rick Grimes killed out of the blue by Spencer Monroe, the sniveling, whiny son of Deanna Monroe. In other words, it’s not an epic death befitting the biggest and most important character in The Walking Dead history. After 17 years, Rick Grimes is gunned down in his own bed by a nobody punk.
One way that Rick’s death in the comics may affect the television series, however, is this: It looks like Negan is going to become the nominal lead now.
Source: Image Comics