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Review: The Walking Dead #177

Meet Officer Mercer, the newest individual we’re introduced to living in the “New World Order” that is the Commonwealth. The Walking Dead #177 is broken up into a few parts and while each segment varies greatly, each emphasizes the focus on the living with the series.

Rick is with Mikey who is working through issues through poetry an interesting aspect in a world where danger is around every corner and the dead have risen. There’s a focus on addressing loss and trauma of what’s going on and with Rick involved he is of course still dealing with the loss of Andrea. It’s an interesting an important segment as it shows that things are relatively stable but there’s still emotional turmoil. A segment with Maggie as well shows this aspect of stability. After everything that has happened, this is a time when you can let your guard down and enjoy things a bit.

Emotion is the name of the game of this issue as Michonne is reunited with her daughter Elodie. We learn Elodie’s story and are reminded of the horrible things everyone has done or had done to them to survive. It’s emotional and writer Robert Kirkman as usual does a solid job of focusing on the human aspect of the story. The series isn’t about surviving the dead, it’s about living in a world of the dead.

We’re also introduced to Mercer and Governor Milton’s son. This is the first sign that things aren’t perfect in the world of the Commonwealth and indicates where the next bit of turmoil is coming from. The series has done a good job of keeping the crazy hidden but we readers know there’s no way this new community can be as good as it’s presented. The cracks are visible here and it’s hard to know who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation. Unlike with other communities, the sides are a bit grey. Kirkman gives us something familiar but changes it up just enough to keep it interesting.

The art by Charlie Adlard, with ink by Stefano Gaudiano, and gray tones by Cliff Rathburn is excellent as always. Each new character has so much personality and the emotion of the story is driven as much by the art as it is by the story itself. That’s equally impressive since the story is in black and white which changes up how we “read” the scenes a bit more. It emphasizes Adlard’s line work and the detail, or lack of, added to each scene and character. The lettering by Rus Wooton too adds to the emotion of it all making it a bit clearer how dialogue is delivered. Slight bolding helps emphasize a word.

This new arc has been a slow but solid build introducing us to this new world and letting the malice (or expected malice) build. Is it in our minds considering the series history? Or, is there something up with these new characters and community that spells trouble for our heroes. Is it all too good to be true and this is the quiet before the storm? Kirkman and team know how to build to a cathartic explosion and this latest arc feels like it’s building to something, I just don’t know what.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Cover: Charlie Adlard Cover Color: Dave Stewart
Ink: Stefano Gaudiano Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn Letterer: Rus Wooton Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review