How “New World Order” Changes ‘The Walking Dead’ for the Better
The Walking Dead #180 brings the series newest story, “New World Order,” to a close this week. While the past six issues have kept track of events with Rick and others in his community, the vast majority of pages have been devoted to introducing The Commonwealth. After years of foreshadowing, with Eugene speaking to a mysterious stranger on a radio and a long trek westward to meet this person, the people on the other side of those radio signals have finally been revealed. The result is one of the biggest shake ups in the history of the series as The Commonwealth is not simply another band of survivors or even small collection of groups; it is a minor city.This revelation changes The Walking Dead forever. The size and scope of the story has consistently grown, but this is a giant leap compared to prior small steps. It is a change that could leave some fans understandably nervous, as it redefines the role of every single character from Rick Grimes and Michonne to the zombies themselves. However, “New World Order” was actually a necessary step forward and one that will allow the comics to thrive for many, many years to come.
The Story So Far
In order to understand how valuable this change is, it’s important to look at the past 180 issues of The Walking Dead and the patterns they have created. The series has always been labeled a zombie comic when it is, in fact, a survival comic. Zombies took center stage for the first couple of years, but Robert Kirkman and his collaborators quickly learned that they could not remain the driving momentum of the series. The most iconic villains have been individuals like The Governor and Negan, human beings that undermined the survival of small groups and ruined the best-laid plans. Even before The Governor emerged, minor characters, like serial killer Thomas Richards, were used to create a central conflict within the group.