Warning: This article contains major spoilers. Read at your own risk!
The current story arc seems to have drawn to a close (or at the very least gone over it’s peak) in Walking Dead #33. It has definitely left our small band of explorer / heroes in bad shape, and while one is missing a body part, one has sever mental trauma, and one has a lot of physical and mental trauma, they all made it out with their lives.
This story arc as a whole was pretty unexpected. Spotting a helicopter which lead to a town made up of mentally unstable sociopaths was crazy enough… finding out that their self-proclaimed governor kept his zombie daughter leashed to a wall, stages fights between residents and new-comers in an arena surrounded by chained zombies and watched by town residents, and likes to rape his women victims was almost over the top.
Kirkman made a bold decision in chopping off Rick’s hand. At first I thought this was a terrible choice… after all, a hand is something that won’t heal. Rick is permanently damaged. However the more I think about it, the more I like this turn of events. Rick is somewhat of a mainstay in the book. He and his wife are the only characters that seem safe. Chopping off a limb makes you think that Kirkman might be crazy enough to kill Rick after-all.
While I do feel this story has pushed the limits, and the art has been absolutely outstanding, I did think the rape of Michone was a bit harsh. Even that I could deal with. What really felt unnecessary was the fate of the Governor as dealt by Michone in retaliation to her own torture (this included having his eye plucked out with a spoon, the chopping off of his man-bits, the dismemberment of his arm, and a few other pretty horrible things). Issue #33 was a payback issue. It was gratuitous in violence and nothing more. While one could argue that the Governor got what was coming to him, I would argue that he got a bit too much. I was actually a little sickened while reading this and didn’t feel a sense of closure. Rather I felt that Kirkman was trying to appease his readers for the shocking treatment of Michone by one-upping it on the Governor.
Up until this story arc I have felt that Walking Dead is one of the greatest stories in comics, currently not so much. Things have taken a turn towards shock value which feels very cheap.
I’m actually happy to see this story draw to a close and look forward to moving on to bigger and better things. If only the group would just get motivated to leave the prison for good and get back to some exploring…