Previously in The Walking Dead: The survivors continued to manage the hoard of walkers set in motion by the whisperers. Waiting in the wings, we have a group of saviors that seem to be biding their time until they finally move on Alexandria. All the while, Rick and Negan are still “snowed in,” drinking hot cocoa, and playing truth or dare.
Issue #165 brings the reader to a world where Rick and Negan are friendly and fighting their way out of a house surrounded by walkers. Carl is trying to blast and slash his way through a herd while the saviors are advancing on a weakened Alexandria. Cyclops and group from the sanctuary finally confront the Alexandrians and decide to take out their frustrations on Dwight as their coup becomes official. We leave Dwight firmly in the grasp of the optically-challenged savior.
In a small but potentially important panel, we see Siddiq discover the radio Eugene has been using to speak to a woman in Ohio. This storyline has been dangling for some time, so hopefully Siddiq’s discovery is finally enough to push the narrative.
Elsewhere, Jesus, Michonne, Eugene, and Andrea are on horseback separately leading walkers away from Alexandria like lemmings before dumping them into the sea. For the most part, it is going smoothly until the Jesus and Michonne group push a mass of walkers in the direction of Andrea and Eugene. After being surrounded by walkers, Eugene is rescued by Andrea. All seems fine until Andrea has her “oh shit” moment and realizes that she is wounded on her neck, clearly suggested that she is infected and sure to turn. Here’s where the controversy comes in.
Though the evidence seems obvious, some people are suggesting that Kirkman is only trolling, messing with, and manipulating readers to set up another angle. I would argue that Andrea is infected and going to die. As a top-tier character, becoming infected in issue #165 may seem odd, but she has to die. Here are 5 possible reasons why:
- To align the comic and the show. Quite simply: The show and the comic have diverged too much. By killing Andrea now, we can shift to Rick getting together with Michonne in the comics just like they are in the show. If you’ll notice, comic Michonne has seen little panel time since the time jump. I say Kirkman has been waiting to kill off Andrea to merge storylines.
- To push Rick against the whisperers. Andrea’s death is just what Rick needs to brush the dust off his prosthetic hand, polish up the cane, and whoop some whisperer. After all, their mega-herd is the cause of Andrea’s death, so it makes sense that he would exact his revenge and become the bad-ass of old.
- To push Rick against the saviors. Grief is a tricky thing. Rather than take out our frustrations against the rational target, we go after whoever is the closest at the moment. As we saw, the saviors are ready to knock on the broken down gate of Alexandria. Wrong place at the wrong time.
- To turn Rick on Eugene. If it’s not the whisperer’s fault, and it’s not the saviors’ fault, who’s fault is it? Eugene’s, of course. Rick told him to leave his sleepy butt at home, but no! Eugene didn’t listen, which led to the loss of Rick’s lady love. Sorry, Eugene. You’re dead, too.
- To plan for Rick’s demise. When Rick dies, and Kirkman has said from the beginning that Rick will die, it will need a monumental amount of buildup. This is not be something that a 5-issue arc can cover. I say that issue #165 sets up a series of events that lead directly to Rick’s demise. Will Rick kill the wrong people or let the wrong people go? Will he be so distraught after losing another lover in the apocalypse that he will make a deal with the devil himself – Negan? Andrea’s death will be the beginning of the end for Rick.
Looks like the truth will be known soon. Until then …
Consume.Review.Repeat. gives The Walking Dead #165 8.2 neck wounds out of 10.