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The Walking Dead Book Fifteen - Book Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published March 9th 2019
A new world order has emerged from out of the apocalypse
The Walking Dead Book Fifteen Robert Kirkman
Kirkman & Adlard & Gaudiano & Rathburn. Image Comics.

The Walking Dead Book Fifteen is a collection of issues 169 through to 180 of Robert Kirkman's comic book series The Walking Dead. It was published on 10 October 2018 by Image Comics. Robert Kirkman is credited as the writer and Cliff Rathburn, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano and Dave Stewart are all listed as artists. The front cover has the Walking Dead written on it in large pink font and a new character in the series called Princess surrounded by Walkers.

The Walking Dead Book Fifteen is set shortly after the end of the Whisperer War. Rick has just lost his wife Andrea and is still grieving and the communities are rebuilding and looking to find more allies and resources. After Rick finds out that Eugene has been talking to a mysterious person over the radio, he orders a group to leave Alexandria and to go on a mission to track down the person and their community. Michonne volunteers to leave the mission and gathers together a group of volunteers to come with her. Halfway there, while walking through an abandoned city, the group discovers a new survivorů Princess.

Princess has large, wild looking purple hair, wears a pink fur jacket and a large pair of goggles, carries a large gun and has the personality of someone who has been alone in the apocalypse for a little too long. I really liked Princess. When she was first introduced, she looked a little bit weird, but she grew on me. I liked her positive attitude and non-stop chatter, her wide-eyed excitement, her fashion sense, her sense of humour and her skill with a spear. I'm looking forward to seeing what Robert Kirkman is planning on doing with her character.

The new community that they discover is called The Commonwealth. It is a community of 50,000 strong that is made up of several connected towns and operates via a class system that separates people into a low class and an upper class based on what job they did before the apocalypse. The Commonwealth functions a lot like how society used to function before. The people have jobs and money, they have an arena for sports games and music concerts, they have cafes and bakeries and ice cream parlours and restaurants, and even an army. The Commonwealth is ruled by a Governor named Pamela Milton who is part of the upper class. The upper class of the Commonwealth are very arrogant and think that their community is superior over others and the return of true civilisation.

The Commonwealth has been an interesting addition to the Walking Dead. Their class system has given me a lot to think about. How their class system works is people are assigned a job based on their previous job experience and once a year they are given a chance to move up a level and earn a higher wage. The class system is designed like a ladder. The average workers at the bottom of the ladder are encouraged to move up the ladder until they can become part of the upper class. It's supposed to be something positive for them to work towards.The system has a lot of flaws. One of the biggest problems is that the upper class in the Commonwealth value people with impressive skillsets such as lawyer, doctor or politician over people who used to work more average jobs like baker, teacher or butcher.

When the people at the Commonwealth meet Eugene, the smartest person in Rick's group, they are dismissive of him because he used to work as a high school science teacher. When they meet Michonne and she tells them that she used to be a lawyer, their reaction is much more positive, and they ask her to join the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth value people who come from privileged backgrounds much more over people like Eugene. It is only later on in the book that the Commonwealth realises that they were wrong about Eugene and that he DOES have some worth despite the low paying job that he held before.

It is wrong to judge people based on their job. A person in a high paying job isn't necessarily smarter or happier than someone who is in a low paying job. A lot of people work crappy jobs just to pay the bills. A job is just a job. It shouldn't define them. This is the biggest problem with the Commonwealth. They do not view everyone as equals. They are a society divided by haves and have-nots. I can see some positives to their class system. After the Black Death killed a staggering number of people, those who were left were able to ask for higher wages because there were less workers around to compete for jobs. It would be the same situation after the zombie apocalypse. A lot of the low class working in the Commonwealth are probably earning twice as much as they earned before the dead rose because now there are a lot fewer bakers, teachers and butchers. It's a system that could benefit a lot of people but it's also a system that could be abused as well because it takes away the freedom of personal choice.

The Commonwealth arc of the Walking Dead is only just beginning. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes and if this community will choose to keep its controversial class system or will abandon it.
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Why? In the Walking Dead Book Fifteen Rick sends a small group to investigate a new community called the Commonwealth and finds a functional society divided into a class system and ruled by the rich and the elite.
Where: Available from your local bookstore or online retailer
Cost: $49.99
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