A Look at The Walking Dead #183- “And Michonne Without Her Sword”

This one kind of just flew by, didn’t it? And Michonne should keep her sword with her going forward.

But really, this, like a lot of the issues since we got to the Commonwealth, felt like a quick read. And it’s a good read, but a fast one. The majority of the time centers around Michonne and Elodie in both the Commonwealth and a nearby area that I’ll get to later. It does set up an interesting conflict for Michonne, as well as leaves us in an interesting place when the issue ends, so let’s get right to it.

Actually, we don’t spend as much time within the Commonwealth itself as you might think, as the issue starts with Michonne and Elodie being escorted by a soldier named Jerome to a place called Greenville. They’re attacked by roamers and it’s been established that this isn’t a problem for the soldiers because they have so much armor. Protection or not, they can still be outnumbered.

And once the walkers on-panel are eliminated, Jerome seems surprised by some roamers that emerge from the woods, even though there’s no reason he shouldn’t have been able to see or hear them. Same with Elodie or Michonne not warning him. But hey, we’ve seen this happen both in the comic and on the show, so I guess it’s at least par for the course.

Plus, we get this really cool and kick-ass panel of Michonne being an absolute boss after she’s gunned down some roamers. She might not have her sword, but Michonne is far from helpless. And Elodie has an opportunity to see her mother in action, so that’s nice. It also further shows just how little of a threat a small pack of walkers are when they can be taken care of with relative ease.

We arrive at our destination: Greenville. Elodie and Michonne are greeted by Cloris at this quiet little resort that looks like a getaway from the Commonwealth. It looks like it’s made for relaxation. Why do I say this?

It’s exactly what happens. We see mother and daughter spend time on the water, dining, and just relaxing. The whole thing even brings Michonne to tears, as if she can’t believe such a thing is a reality. It’s kind of like when Rick and company arrived at the Alexandria Safe Zone. How could such a haven be real after all they had endured while always on the move?

But this leads to one of my two issues with this issue: we’re done at Greenville as soon as we arrive. This issue could’ve let us spend some more time with Elodie and Michonne and allowed us to learn more about Greenville as well. After all, until the end of the issue, we don’t know how long until Rick and Pamela arrive, so why not just soak in this new area while we have the time?

As it stands, we leave Greenville as soon as we arrive. We get a nice moment with Michonne giving her wine and cheese to a family in need- much to Cloris’ chagrin- and that’s great. I like seeing how selfless Michonne is, especially after she’s learned about this class system at the Commonwealth, but there was no need to just blaze past through Greenville.

But no. We’re back at the Commonwealth in less than no time at all because we need some conflict. And it’s quite a conundrum that ends up entangling Michonne in the process because of her law background.

As Lance explains, it’s a lover’s quarrel. The man in question who was beaten- Anthony Keith- apparently attacked an officer because Keith’s wife was having an affair with said officer. That escalated into the beating. Naturally, citizens are concerned for the well-being of their own. Not so much with authority figures.

But if trust in the system fails, then the system itself could collapse. And that’s where Michonne enters the picture, as she’s put in the awkward position of having to defend the officers and prove no wrongdoing. And this is not negotiable or arguable. It’s Michonne’s first real assignment since she got to the Commonwealth and it’s one that is guaranteed to make her an enemy of the people.

After all, to the Commonwealth, even with her relation to Elodie, Michonne is just some stranger that just showed up. What business does she have defending officers who just brutalized one of the residents?

It doesn’t get better when Lance later informs Elodie and Michonne- who are already feeling the scorn and hate from Commonwealth residents- that Anthony Keith succumbed to his injuries and died. So Michonne not only has to defend the officers, she has to defend officers who are now seen as murderers in the eyes of the people?

Yeah, of course shit is gonna hit the fan. Rather quickly, at that. So apparently people have been harassing Michonne and Elodie since Michonne got the assignment- they even had protest signs ready. That always seems to happen. Anyway, rioting breaks out, Michonne and Elodie are forced to run for their lives since the people aren’t interested in hearing their side.

They don’t care that this isn’t a position that Michonne asked for or even wanted. Right now, they’re interested in vengeance or showing that they won’t just bow down to the system.

So obviously this is the perfect time for Rick, Pamela, and company to arrive at the Commonwealth. Holy Instantaneous Movement, Batman! It’s incredible how fast things happened in this issue. I said that I had two issues with the pacing of this issue, and Rick’s quick arrival is one of them.

For one, again, we needed more time at Greenville. And I’m no comic book writer, but I think you could’ve made this specific ending work over the course of two issues instead of one. Consider: spend the bulk of this issue at Greenville. Let Michonne and Elodie unwind while also explaining more of the Greenville area to the audience. That way, we get to learn more an area that’s new to us.

Build up the antagonism towards the police and then maybe lead into the Anthony Keith incident, and then have that play out in the following issue. Juxtapose that against Pamela explaining to Rick what the Commonwealth is all about, as well as their code and rules. It’d be an interesting way to have the two scenarios play against each other. And when Rick arrives, he and Pamela see that the Commonwealth has gone to hell.

But sans the stuff with Rick’s group, we get all of that in the span of an issue and I don’t see why Rick and Pamela had to arrive at this exact moment. Just how much time has passed, anyway? We spent so much time with Rick showing Pamela to the different communities. And yet, from the last issue, they’ve gone from the Hilltop all the way to the Commonwealth.

Again, I must ask, just how much time has passed? It’s too convenient and easy for Rick and Pamela to arrive at the Commonwealth just when things have gone awry. Now is this a problem in the grand scheme of things? Not really. But it’s irritating, given how much time it took the previous group to get to the Commonwealth area, and yet that same amount of time seems to have passed in the span of one issue.

In an otherwise good read, it’s the only thing that takes me out of it. But otherwise, a good issue. I’m curious how much Rick’s perception of the Commonwealth may change now that he’s seeing it for himself…

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