The Walking Dead released the next installment with issue 171 on September 6th and it is safe to say it is one of the biggest letdowns of the series. Readers have been preparing since June for the reveal of yet another character (and possibly another faction) to be introduced, and with just the character design alone, it was off to a bad start.
In June the cover art for The Walking Dead issue 171 “Meet the Princess” was revealed via illustrator, Charlie Adlard, leaving fans to ask if it was a joke, and when it was not disproved, it was taken for seriously with doubts and criticism. On the cover, we see what appears to be a girl armed heavily in the most retro outfit anyone could have in the apocalypse, donning a pink fur vest and goggles.
From then on I had little expectations for anything, and tried to go in open minded. This morning, upon reading the issue, I was gravely disappointed.
We’ll start off catching up with Siddiq and Eugene, who in last issue just found out about Siddiq and Rosita’s love affair. Siddiq explains Rosita was lonely and the two did not want to hurt him, and Eugene simply accepts that it happened, and it was over. Pleasantly surprised, I had nearly forgotten all about the new character and was happy just for this development in the plot. Looks like we won’t be getting rogue Eugene after all (and it is bitter sweet).
But that was the height of the issue, as after that we end up spiralling into weirdness when Michonne leads the group just outside of the city of Pittsburgh. She calls out to the city because she wanted to “try” something, expecting any survivors to come out of hiding at her word. Sounds like a good plan, it’s a broad city so there must be a couple people here or there, right? Wrong.
This is when we meet Juanita Sanchez, our “Princess”, and immediately she provides some issues- but not the good kind where it is plot driven (at least not yet).
Her outfit has not grown on me. It is still a tacky attempt at something that mirrors SyFy’s Z-Nation, with impractical clothing that just looks out of place. While Z-Nation makes it work due to the context and humor of the show provided already, in the seriousness of The Walking Dead’s series, it is just odd. It was definitely a step down for The Walking Dead because while clothing is a small detail, it does display the character’s personality through the sketch. If their goal was to make me irritated in one page (front and back) then congratulations.
Which brings me to my next annoyance, her personality. I can handle annoying characters, I have stated before that Negan is one of my favorites, and just so happens to be the one that gets under many people’s (readers aad watcher’s) skins. , however he personality is just too- dare I say it- cringey.
She blames her annoying personality on the fact she has been living in the city alone for a good few years (which I find is highly unlikely, but who knows) and has not socialized with people, and thus makes her more talkative than most. She has also been told that she has a temper- which I can only hope was some sort of foreshadowing. We also learn that she talks to herself in addition to talking to herself, and did I mention she dyed some of her hair purple “just because”? Because what else is there to do in the apocalypse? Certainly not scavenge.
She uses her weapon of choice which is some sort of unknown large automatic weapon.
Regardless of not knowing the exact make of the weapon, I would assume just by the impact it looks to have and the size alone that said weapon is too loud and used freely with little regard to surroundings, which gives off an impression she goes for presentation over functionality, and who is safe to live like that?
The final annoyance was her means of acknowledging the race ratio (the racio if you will) of the group being well balanced and well mixed, and claiming how minorities were no longer the minorities. This did not need to be mentioned, but for the sake of her character, I suppose it was a good detail to add on- she tends to make conversation through pointless topics. Either this was a slick way of making her more annoying, developing her character with personality, and giving her some sort of awareness around her or it was just a poor excuse to bring light to the diversity in the world. Either way, it was another tick on the nuisance meter, and left me with a sour impression simply because it was unwarranted, unneeded, and just a pat on the back for the creators as far as I am concerned.
That being said, I do find it a weird coincidence that she has characteristics much like Negan. Now, maybe this is nothing, but she tends to do just as Negan does with identical facial expressions (the wide eyes, the laugh) and even lines ( both claim that they will “grow” on the people they annoy). Then again, this could be just a reach on my part.
All in all, I am not satisfied with the new addition to the group and hope she serves a better purpose than to be just another new face. Perhaps she could be someone we already know, or with someone we already know, or perhaps she will be a new hinderance towards the group. Either way, I hope that her development levels out, and soon she will feel less suffocating, and less of a “quirky new girl” trope.
The Walking Dead, I won’t stop reading, but this was one of the worst issues to be released, and I hope it is worth it. At the very least, make it pay off.