Sam Talks of the Dead: Chapter 4

We reach an interesting point in the intersection of television and comic at this point. The TV series, as any one familiar with both forms of media will tell you, is moving at a much faster pace than the comic does. In addition it’s moving at a much faster pace than the TV has in the past. What does this mean for the future of the show? In my opinion nothing but good things can come of this. I think the writers realized how good the upcoming material was a decided to do crazy things like consolidate entire chapter into one single TV episode. Has it been working? Yes I believe it has been working quite well, and I’m really interested to see how far they get in comic land by the end of this season. The speed of season 3 does mean that I have more TV comparisons to make so lets get to it!

Finally we meet Michonne in this chapter. After her appearance in the end of season 2 I was incredibly curious about his woman and her eerie zombie pets. What we see at the beginning of this chapter is the latter half of the “Michonne Special” that ran just a few months ago. Maybe I’ll talk about that before Chapter 5. We see her killing off a handful of zombies, and she sees Otis driving a carriage from the farm back to the prison with some supplies. She follows him. Then we get back to the conflict at the prison. Dexter tells Rick they got the weapons pointed at his head from A-Block…which is now overrun with zombies. In the action that ensues, Otis followed by Michonne are attacked by the zombies outside the gates of the prison. Michonne holds them back saving Otis’ life. Inside the prison walls Tyrese sees Rick kill Dexter, in all the commotion no one else notices. After the zombies are dispensed with, the prison gates are opened.

Rick confronts Michonne and tells her that she cannot bring her companions into the prison. She quickly cuts off their heads. We see Andrew run crying from the prison after Dexter’s death and no one tries to stop him. Tyrese tells Rick he should maybe rethink his policy of “You kill, you die.” Of course this would mean that Tyrese secures his future after killing Chris.

After things settle down, we see everyone start adjusting to life in the prison a bit more. They find a good way to kill some of the zombies surrounding the outer fence without having to leave the gates, and Andrea makes everyone some new clothes from prison uniforms. Lori is afraid of the other inmates, and Patricia since she betrayed everyone. Patricia is lonely after being exiled for the aforementioned betrayal. Then we get a rundown of all the soap operas in the prison.

Carol and Tyrese are ahem interrupted by Michonne, who appears to have an interest in Tyrese that will most likely cause huge problems for Carol in the future. Glenn and Maggie seem to be doing just fine, and Dale and Andrea are still considering leaving the prison. Herschel’s love affair is with gardening apparently as we see him instructing Axel and Allen in the ways of the trowel.

Some of the men get to work clearing out A-Block more and find a library in the process along with a generator that they’ll be able to use to power the prison as long as they have gasoline. Not wanting to allow too much happiness, Allen gets bitten on the leg, and Rick cuts off the affected area in the hopes that Allen will be saved (sound familiar?). They get Herschel to patch him up, but it doesn’t look good for Allen.

Meanwhile in the gym, Michonne is busy trying to woo Tyrese with knowledge of professional sports. She succeeds in getting Tyrese’s pants off and Carol sees the whole thing. As if to make Carol’s situation seem worse, we see Glenn and Maggie being all happy and naked together.

In the next panel we see Michonne talking to…seemingly no one. She’s explaining that she likes it in the prison, and that she thinks these are good people…to no one. Now any readers who don’t know me, I have an acute interest in mental disorders like personality disorders and schizophrenia. It may sound strange but the thought that Michonne may be afflicted makes her infinitely more interesting to me from this point on. Later Carol reveals to Tyrese that she witnessed hiss infidelity and tells him to move out of their cell. The next day Rick gets the bandages taken off of his hand but his fingers are still bent at odd angles. Tyrese moves out of Carol’s cell and she cries all over Rick. It seems as though Allen’s boys have already given up on their dad making it through his recovery.

While Lori, Michonne, and Carl are having breakfast together and discussing the worthlessness of small talk, Rick comes to ask Lori to talk to Carol. Upon entering Carol’s cell, they find her wrists slit, and Sophia huddled in the corner staring horrified at her unconscious mother. A few cells over Tyrese and Michonne are revisiting the events of the previous day when Rick interrupts and reams out Tyrese for moving on to Michonne while Carol lays dying nearby. Michonne runs out screaming, disgusted with herself. Tyrese and Rick then get in a huge fight, and everyone close by learns that Tyrese killed Chris and Rick killed Dexter. Tyrese accuses Rick of being a killer, and enjoying to kill and mutilate. After both men fall from the balcony their on, everyone else comes out of their cells to make the fight stop. We then learn that Allen is dead. Rick goes to Allen’s cell, puts a bullet in Allen’s head and passes out.

When Rick awakens he is in a cell with Carol; a makeshift infirmary. She is completely enamored by the way Rick fought for her honor, and she kisses him. Rick freaks out and Carol leaves. Soon Dale comes into Rick’s cell and explains that they’ve decided to form a committee to make decisions for the group from now on. Dale takes Rick outside where most of the group is working on the crops. He wants to talk to everyone, because he’s worried they think he’s crazy. He implored everyone to realize that no one is ever going to come to save them. His speech end with him proclaiming, “WE ARE THE WALKING DEAD!” It’s all quite dramatic, but I couldn’t look away from the page for a while. The chapter ends with Rick looking defeated and hopeless standing by Dale’s side while everyone stares at him in disbelief.

So first lets look at the contrasts to the TV show. Michonne is with everyone at the prison, which is quite different, but since Andrea is still with the group there wouldn’t be any one else in comic land for Michonne to meet that would connect her with the rest of the familiar characters. In addition there’s no Tyrese in the TV show, so much of the dramatic conflict created by her in the comic would be lost if she popped up at the prison at the same time. We learn early on that Michonne’s zombie companions are her boyfriend and his best friend. It is very telling of her character that she is so willing to dispatch them. She didn’t keep them because she’s wanted their companionship, she kept them because she needed to survive. She knew that she’d be safer surrounded by the smell of zombie, and removed their jaws to keep herself safe. She’s very intelligent, but I don’t know what her whole story is. I was certain at this point, that she was either crazy, or perhaps a government operative. We know next to nothing about her so either path wouldn’t be too far outside the realm of possibility.  These are just some of the reasons that she’s grown to become my favorite character is the entirety of the series so far.

Another important contrast was how Allen’s fate mirrored Herschel’s, except of course Herschel doesn’t die and Rick valiant plan to save his life succeeds in the TV show. I thought this was a really well done instance of reproducing an event in the comic that produced a lot of tension with the characters available in the show. Now it’s any ones guess what could happen to Herschel the one-footed-wonder.

The Rick that we see by the end of Chapter 4 is worlds apart from the Rick on TV. While I personally feel that TV Rick is quickly going to become comic Rick at this point, which is the opposite of what I originally anticipated, his predicament is distressing and I do fear for his sanity in the long run.

In summation this chapter didn’t have too much action aside from introducing us to Michonne, and killing Allen. There was a lot of relationship development…which honestly isn’t that interesting to me. I do understand its place in the series. In an effort to continue encouraging the reader to root for the human condition and to see that life as we know it is not completely torn asunder we continue to get glimpses of happy couples, and even unhappy couples. Romance, and broken hearts are familiar to us as readers. Rick’s final admonition that they are the walking dead may be the death knell for a lot of that plot however as life stops trying to mimic normalcy for them and instead transforms into a totally alien and borderline psychotic world infested by undead monsters.

From this point on, I feel that things will only get crazier. The group is now acclimated to the prison and things are settling down. The dead will keep walking in chapter 5: The Best Defense.

-SM

 

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