‘The Walking Dead: The Alien’ breaks Robert Kirkman’s promise, but not the one we wanted
If you’ve ever gotten the lore bug and dove into the history of The Walking Dead, you’ve quickly discovered many variations of “Nothing is known about _______’s past prior to the outbreak.” Kirkman and company don’t dwell on the past. Who people were before the apocalypse is mostly moot, especially when a high percentage of new characters die within issues on introduction.
There are tidbits about the main cast. We know Michonne had a child, we know Glenn had a strained relationship with his parents, we know Rick’s grandpa served in WWII and his father taught Rick his moral code. But for the most part, the relationships explored in both THE WALKING DEAD comic and The Walking Dead show center on those still living and visible. So when THE WALKING DEAD: THE ALIEN digital one-shot by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin was released, I doubt many of us were expecting this:
WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!
Image Credit: Image Comics
That’s not an alien! That’s Rick Grimes’ little brother Jeffrey. TWD: THE ALIEN takes place in Barcelona, Spain. So technically Jeff is an alien…get it? Bad form, gentlemen! Turns out Jeff was traveling abroad when the apocalypse hit, leaving him stranded in a foreign country with no way to know if his brother “Richie” has survived his work-related coma. The big reveal is above, that “Richie” now goes by Rick. Jeffrey makes Claudia promise to find the elder Grimes brother if she ever makes it Stateside, which is highly unlikely for so many reasons.
I don’t know about you, but I was hoping the alien in TWD: THE ALIEN would be literal. After all, that was Kirkman’s original plan.
“When I pitched The Walking Dead originally, it was turned down, simply because there had never been a successful zombie book in the history of comics. [But] I wasn't willing to accept no for an answer. So I said, ‘Oh, well, I forgot to tell you that this is actually a big setup for an alien invasion. So yeah, I kind of tricked them into accepting The Walking Dead.”
Kirkman never truly meant for aliens to be behind the zombie outbreak. But with a troll title like THE WALKING DEAD: THE ALIEN it appeared perhaps he’d changed his mind. Well, technically he did. Way back in 2013, Kirkman swore in Letter Hacks #107 (letters to the editor at the end of each issue of THE WALKING DEAD) that Jeffrey Grimes would never appear in the comics.
Image Credit: Image Comics
So, what I’m saying is..there’s a chance. Come on, Kirkman. Do it.
You can pick up a copy of THE WALKING DEAD: THE ALIEN over at Panel Syndicate.