Robert Kirkman pulls on all the heart strings as Michonne and her daughter, Elodie, are reunited. He also builds suspense as aspects of The Commonwealth are hinted at. All of this is assisted by Charlie Adlard and Stefano Gaudiano's artwork. This issue is a must!
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Tear-Jerking Issue

It hasn’t been since THE WALKING DEAD #167 that I shed tears reading a comic book. In THE WALKING DEAD #176, this happens once again as Michonne and her daughter, Elodie, reunite in The Commonwealth. After a suspenseful ending last issue, Robert Kirkman spends this entire issue building up suspense: will Michonne find out if her daughter is still alive? The answer is yes, and we’re given more information as we anxiously wait for that answer in part two of “New World Order.”

The Commonwealth is a “Machine”

What makes THE WALKING DEAD #176 such a good issue is the way it paces itself. Michonne immediately attempts to find her daughter at a downtown bakery. However, Lance states that they must go through proper procedures before they are free to roam around The Commonwealth. This infuriates Michonne, who nearly attacks Lance. But when she comprehends the only way to see her daughter is to follow the pony show, she begrudgingly obliges.

Image courtesy of Image Comics

Eventually Michonne, Eugene, and company reach a government building of sorts and are asked their professions. They learn Michonne used to be a lawyer. Upon hearing this, they whisk Michonne away to meet Pamela Milton, governor of The Commonwealth. Due to the infamous Governor that readers encountered in Woodbury earlier in THE WALKING DEAD, readers of this series naturally feel alarmed when hearing someone given the title “Governor.” However, Pamela seems much more stable. She’s a stern woman who claims “civilization is a machine. All the parts have to go in the right place for it to work.” She claims everyone has their part – brutes included.

This goes on and on until Michonne finally stops Pamela and says she’s heard enough: she needs to see her daughter. Pamela immediately sympathizes and they march towards the bakery where the very special and touching reunion occurs.

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THE WALKING DEAD #176 is a Very Human Comic

There were a lot of things I enjoyed while reading this issue — the pacing, the dialogue, the artwork — but what I really admired was the interaction between Michonne and Pamela. At first, I had raised an eyebrow due to the power structure (a white woman essentially explaining civilization to a black woman) but then Kirkman is able to readjust this assumption of mine. When Michonne is finally able to express her distress, Pamela empathizes immediately. She notes that she, too, is a mother. All power dynamics dissipate in the moment and the two rush to the bakery to find Elodie.

What’s even better: Pamela goes on and on about her machine analogy. Everything she says sounds fantastic on paper. But when it comes down to a real human situation — a daughter and mother finally reuniting — all of that is pushed aside. I think this represents THE WALKING DEAD really well, as the entire series has revolved around trying to find the best society in such a terrible world. What we learn from each attempt is that things always go wrong because of human factors, and things also go right because of those same human factors. They’re situations you cannot account for but know too well.

The Artwork of THE WALKING DEAD #176

Image courtesy of Image Comics

Per usual, the artwork in THE WALKING DEAD is spectacular. What I liked about this issue is the amount of new characters we meet and how unique they look. Charlie Adlard does an excellent job differentiating the looks of the “brutes” and other members of the “machine.” What’s neat about this particular issue is that it almost feels like FULL METAL ALCHEMIST. Adlard’s depictions of the soldiers parallel Hiromu Arakawa’s depictions of State Military soldiers in the manga. This has me thinking Adlard intends to show how well put together The Commonwealth is. These are real soldiers.

The shading delivered by Stefano Gaudiano are also fantastic. They give real depth to the different characters and scenes. I particularly enjoy the introduction of Pamela. The shades give her a bit of a grand reveal, one that leaves the reader feeling suspenseful.

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“New World Order” is Shaping Up to be Excellent

THE WALKING DEAD #176 is a great issue, as expected. Robert Kirkman appears to have a lot in store with The Commonwealth, and I’m so excited to see what happens next. The reunion between Elodie and Michonne can be endearing or heartbreaking: we as fans of this series know it can go either way. And then there’s the mysterious Stephanie. Will she and Eugene finally have their meeting? Who exactly is she? Lance mentions a type of punishment for her if she disobeys orders again. Is The Commonwealth hiding a dark secret? Hopefully we find out in the next issue or two!

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