Created by: Robert Kirkman
Michonne – First Apperance: The Walking Dead #19
So one of my favorite characters in TV today is also as it happens, on one of my favorite shows, The Walking Dead. Now I know there are those that knock the show, I’ve never actually been Andrea sure why, great characters, storylines are compelling and being someone who also reads the comic, I love how the show has developed into it’s own universe. And as you may already know, if you read the title of the show, we’re going to be talking about Michonne, the katana wielding badass who keeps Karl and Rick safe.
Now one of the reasons I wanted to talk about Michonne was that there are two different versions of her, the TV show and the comic. And on top of that Michonne shows up in the Telltale game series The Walking Dead: Michonne. Like I said, I’ve been reading the comic since the first trade, I hate that I have to say trade. See this is one of those painful comic book collecting stories. I was in my local comic shop in NC and I picked up The Walking Dead #1 off the rack, where there were a stack of them. I leafed through it, and even though I’m a huge horror fan I shrugged and set down. I then went to a shop down the street, saw another stack, picked it up again and said, nah. All I had to do is buy the stupid thing!
The funny thing is, when I started to research this I realized I had forgotten a lot about Michonne’s comic book origin since I haven’t re-read the comics in forever, but I’ve watched each season about a dozen times. So what I’ll be doing is talking about Michonne’s comic book origin and then her television origin, and in between we’ll take a look at the Telltale game series The Walking Dead: Michonne. Now why the game series, well here’s the cool thing, the game tells the story of what happens and where Michonne was after the war between them and Negan. The game is set up as three episodes and takes place after the comic’s time jump and in between issues 126 thru 139. Now I’ve played a few Telltale games but not this one and I had no idea that it willed a gap in the comics, so I am looking forward to picking that up this week.
Now to Michonne’s comic book origin. The character was created by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard and first appears in issue #19 of The Walking Dead. She arrives on the scene almost the same as she does in the show. Michonne arrives on the scene pretty much the same way as the show in that she is dressed in a hooded cloak followed by two jawless walkers she is leading around by chains. It of course makes perfect sense we saw Rick and Glenn get all guts up and walk through a mob of zombies almost unscathed, so her walkers are mobile camouflage.
In the comic Michonne comes across Otis and saves him from a few walkers. Yep, if you only watch the show, Otis lives for quite a while in the comic. So after Michonne saves Otis he brings her back to the prison where Rick and the gang are hanging their hats.It’s when the gang are fighting some of the prisoners that were left and then some walkers. Otis is outside the fence and he’s about to be overrun and then out of nowhere Michonne shows up and saves him. When she gets there she really doesn’t get that warm of a reception. She does help them and they can tell she is more than capable but she is a stranger and has some serious skills so they lock her up in one of the cells to be sure she can’t hurt anyone. Which is so funny since now, in the comic, and in the show she’s is absolutely family. So how does this compare to the TV show. In the show Michonne makes her first appearance in episode “Beside the Dying Fire” the finale for season 2. In the show she actually shows up right at the end of the program to save Andrea as everyone flees from a herd that has overrun Hershel’s farm. And I have to say it looked so cool. I’ll add the clip from the show over at the site, Heroesvillainsandsidekicks.com.
It was perfect, the cloak, sword and walkers on chains. So her introduction wasn’t all that different. She enters the picture to save one of the crew. However in the comic she goes from saving Otis to meeting the gang and entering the prison. On the show however she spends quite some time alone with Andrea, trying to keep her alive. The two of them end up meeting up with the Governor’s crew and get taken back to Woodbury where Michonne just knows that the Governor is just no good. Michonne ends up leaving Woodbury only to be tracked down by Meryl who tries to kill her. She gets away and during her escape she sees Glenn and Maggie get taken by Meryl. Michonne picks up the diapers that Glenn had and starts to walk. She eventually comes to the prison where, like the comic she is met wearily. After telling the crew that a group led by a man who calls himself the Governor they decide to all go to Woodbury to get them back. This is very different from the comic, in that when Michonne meets the Governor in the comic she is already a part of Rick’s group. Rick, her and Glen have gone out to investigate a helicopter they saw go down when they are found and taken to Woodbury thinking they may be good people. It’s not till they get there that they realize they were very wrong. Here’s another huge instance where the show and comic diverge. In the show she goes back because she hates the Governor for tricking her and Andrea and she thinks he may have a woman chained up in his room. She also knows he just off since she found his room of zombie heads in fish tanks. In the show Michonne finds the Governor’s zombie daughter penny and kills her as the Governor walks in. They fight and Michonne takes his out out with her katana. In the comic, well in the comic it’s a lot darker and violent. In the comic when Rick, her and Glenn are taken he separates them. Rick in the infirmary, Glenn in a cell, and Michonne in a cell next to him. And here’s where it gets dark. The Governor has Michonne tied up, her arms over her head and her legs to the floor so she is like an “X”. His men strip her and he removes his pants. And for this issue and the next he tortures her and rapes her repeatedly. It’s a pretty hard read and I have to say I was surprised at the level of brutality that was in those issues. Her face looks like hamburger and all the while Glenn is in the cell next door listening to her scream and cry.
So to me in the show, I never really felt Michonne had such a strong reason to hate the Governor like she did, but in the comic it’s quite understandable. The revenge she enacts on him is also in kind. When she gets loose in the comic she doesn’t just take his eye. She knocks him out and when he comes to he’s tied up and she is before him with several implements such as her katana, a drill and a spoon. She then begins to dismantle him, making sure to categorize all his wounds so he doesn’t bleed out. Slowly. First she cuts off his arm, then his eye, then some other gruesome stuff and she finishes it by cutting off his man parts. And she has been careful to make sure he will live. And live he does.
Whereas in the show the Governor returns to the prison with a new group to be killed by his new girlfriend after Michonne stabs him to save Rick. So some similarities but really different where it counts. Now I want to do a show on the Governor because he’s another character that has a very different arc when you compare the show and the comic. And with him you get to explore his comic origin not in The Walking Dead comic, but in the novels, “The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor” written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga and released October 11, 2011. This was an awesome book and wow you learn everything about him and his brother. Well, back to Michonne.
Now before we look at the next really big difference between her character in the comic and the show I want to talk about a few little ones. This first one that I totally forgot about was that, in the comic, when she first meets the group and begins to settle in she is drawn to Tyreese. But Tyreese is with Carol, who is so not like the Carol in the show. But hey, that’s another show. But Michonne, knowing this, puts the moves on him anyway and comes on hard and starts a sexual relationship with him. Carols sees this and that drives her over the edge even more. So that was an odd one to not remember. In the show she doesn’t get involved with anyone until her and Rick hook up. Whereas in the comic Rick is with Andrea.
Another small point I didn’t remember is that she talked to herself a lot in the comic. She was talking to family, like Rick when he went off the rails and was talking on the phone to know one. I had totally forgotten how broken she was.
And that leads us to the biggest difference in my mind, her life before the world went to pot. Here’s where the book and the show really diverge as far as her back story goes. Some parts are the same and the loss is just as rough. And this is where, comic wise, we have to cull her origin from multiple sources. To piece together we need to look at the regular comic series, the Michonne special comic and the Telltale game, even then we don’t have a ton of details, but we can get enough.
So in the comics we learn that before the outbreak Michonne was a type “A” personality lawyer at a what we can guess was a pretty large firm in the city. We also know she had a family, that due to her job she and her husband had a strained relationship and eventually they separated. It seems that the separation happened fairly close to the outbreak, maybe only months. So this is different right off the bat. In the comic she has a husband she is separated from and in the show Michonne has a boyfriend or husband she is still with. Although they may not be married, it’s hard to tell.
Now in the comic we learn that Michonne has some intense quilt due to the fact that when her husband and her split, the husband kept their kids, twin girls Collette and Melody, and over time she started spending more time at work and moved closer to her job, and less time visiting and seeing her kids, until it sounds like she hadn’t seen them in months before the outbreak. In the Michonne Walking Dead special comic, we see a well dressed Michonne in her sharp suit running down the sidewalk dodging walkers. She makes it to her very nice looking apartment and we learn she lives with her boyfriend and there is another person there with them, a friend. They fight off some zombies and her boyfriend is bitten. Now they don’t know that means he’s going to turn, it’s early. We then see Michonne out scavenging for supplies in some of the houses near her. It’s then she finds the Katana’s in a neighbor boy’s room. She has to stay there the night and when she get back, you guessed it, the boyfriend and her other friend have turned and Michonne takes them out. We then see her walking out of the apartment with them in tow as her jawless chained camouflage. She doesn’t talk about all this much, but it does come up and it has a lot to do with the plot of the Telltale game and Michonne mentions it a lot when she returns to Alexandria in issue 146 that take place after she returns to the community after the event of the game.
The other really great part about the Telltale game is all the flashback scenes where Michonne is searching for her kids. I’m assuming this takes place before she goes to her back to her apartment and her boyfriend gets bit and all. Because in the Telltale game it shows her in her ex-husband’s house frantically looking for her kids and she doesn’t have her sword yet. So she did try to find them.
And I have to admit, I forgot that she had girls in the comic. I’ve watched the show so much I only remember her backstory from that. In the show, like I mentioned, she has a boyfriend who she has a child with, a baby boy named Andre. We first see this in a flashback/nightmare where she and her boyfriend and a friend are talking about art. We see that she is a professional, smart and witty and that she loves her kid. But we later learn what happened in the end. They had all made it to a camp and while she was out foraging for supplies and food the camp was overrun. When she returned found her baby was dead because her boyfriend and friend were high. They may have been bitten, maybe dying, but we then realize the zombies she is using as camo when we first see her on the show is her boyfriend and his friend. Pretty rough stuff.
But I have to say, as bad as that was, I think the guilt over choosing your work and abandoning your children, not seeing them for months and then knowing they are pretty much dead would be a kind of guilt that would destroy you. I personally cannot imagine that, how it would feel to have never been able to say good-bye or to maybe even remember the last time you saw them. It makes a lot of sense as to how closed off and broken she is in the comic when we first see her.
hooks up with Tyreese and as we move through the comic she has a brief relationship with Morgan when he joins the group and then more recently with King Ezekiel. But she was never really happy with them, maybe Ezekiel but things never worked out. Zombie apocalypse and all. But the coolest thing is that on the show her and Rick are together. I mean she’s pretty much become Carl’s surrogate mom through the seasons and it was awesome when her and Rick got together. It’s been one of my favorite things about the show this latest season.
So remember, if you want to view some really good game play video of the Telltale Michonne game check out TheRadBrad’s Channel.