THE WALKING DEAD #178 BY ROBERT KIRKMAN, CHARLIE ADLARD, AND STEFANO GAUDIANO
Artwork
Plot
Characterization
Summary
THE WALKING DEAD #178 thickens the plot of "New World Order." Robert Kirkman delivers killer and subtle dialogue as he demonstrates what The Commonwealth is really about. Charlie Adlard and Stefano Gaudiano produce their expected stellar artwork.
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The last issue of THE WALKING DEAD left us in suspense: would Siddiq be killed for what he witnessed? THE WALKING DEAD #178 reveals that no, he will not. But what follows slowly builds the backdrop of how something just isn’t right in The Commonwealth. There’s just something in the air, something almost too obvious. Robert Kirkman provides excellent dialogue in this issue that elevates this feeling that something’s wrong, while Charlie Adlard and Stefano Gaudiano create the perfect artwork to match it.

Two Mother & Daughter Interactions

Two subplots take an emotional toll in this story: Michonne and her daughter, Elodie, continue to open up while Sophia confronts Maggie about her relationship with Dante. Elodie expresses her early disscontempt for her mother: how she felt abandoned and betrayed. Michonne says she completely understands. Even when Elodie expresses that she may still hate her, Michonne tells her that she’s happy to wait for that hatred to dissipate because she’s simply so happy to see her alive. Michonne says, “I’m your mother. Now that I have you…I’m never letting go ever again.”

It’s a touching moment, a moment that I feel will be highlighted when tragedy strikes. This is a Robert Kirkman book after all.

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As for Sophia and Maggie? This interaction is a bit rougher. Sophia walks in on her mother and Dante flirting and slowly building towards intimacy. Sophia acknowledges that there have been rumors but she didn’t want to believe it. She calls her mother a whore and runs out, forcing Maggie to chase her. What comes next is some real humanity: Sophia expresses how upset she is that her mother hasn’t told her about Dante, how she feels her mother is betraying Glenn. Maggie retorts that to find happiness, she needs to move on and find someone who makes her happy like Glenn did. That person might be Dante.

The Mayor’s Son is a Brat

The real meat of the plot in THE WALKING DEAD #178 deals with the major’s son. Last issue, we learned how much Mercer (his bodyguard) and the other armed guards of The Commonwealth despise this little runt. In this comic, we witness how terrible he really is: he makes a pass towards Yumiko despite the fact that she tells him to backoff. This forces Magna’s hand. She breaks them apart, resulting in the mayor’s son pushing her towards the ground.

THE WALKING DEAD #178
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

Princess isn’t having any of this. She places her goggles over her eyes and subsequently takes down multiple guards, including the mayor’s son. The scuffle continues until Mercer puts a stop to it. Elodie, in an alarming fashion, explains to Michonne (who is about to pull out her sword) that they must “know their place” in The Commonwealth.

The look on Michonne’s face says it all, and it becomes evidently clear that The Commonwealth will not be a sanctuary for our heroes.

The Nuances of THE WALKING DEAD #178

As expected, these small interactions make THE WALKING DEAD such a great read. After our heroes are cleared (right before the interaction with the mayor’s son), Eugene and Stephanie touch base. Stephanie explains to Eugene that she was wrong to maintain contact with him without telling others. She’s a bit deprecating here, but it matches up with what Elodie says: people need to know their place. It’s unclear if this is a race issue or not, but both Elodie and Stephanie are black, so that may be the direction Kirkman is heading.

the walking dead 178 cover
Head over to ComiXology to receive a digital copy of THE WALKING DEAD #178.

This issue also completely lacks Rick Grimes: he’s only mentioned by Carl when he and Sophia have a brief interaction together. This shows how strong THE WALKING DEAD’s support cast has become. Rick Grimes could probably die and the series would still be just as strong, if not stronger. It’s clear Carl is maturing to the point that he could eventually lead alongside Maggie.

The Artwork of THE WALKING DEAD #178

THE WALKING DEAD #178
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

Per usual, Charlie Adlard and Stefano Gaudiano do an excellent job. Adlard’s depictions of characters like Mercer and Elodie give these new characters a lot of depth. From the way their facial structures match their emotions to the way they move about a room, it’s as if we’ve been viewing these people for years. The fight scene in this issue is also easy to follow, something that is always appreciated when a lot of characters are in play.

Then there’s Gaudiano. His inks deliver on so many levels to scenes. For a book about chaos and zombies, Gaudiano gives a surprisingly cool tone to everything.

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What Can We Expect Next?

THE WALKING DEAD #178 opened the door for a lot of dicey conflict. If this turns out to be a case of race — or even a case of class — our heroes are not going to stand for it. The mayor made it clear that she wishes to view Alexandria and The Hilltop. How will this revelation of The Commonwealth affect that? And I’m curious: what will Siddiq tell the others about his interaction with Mercer? There are two more issues left in “New World Order,” so there’s only a short amount of time for a lot of action to occur.

Stay tuned!

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