Just copy and pasted my thread I started about this issue in a different forum so we could start talking about it here as well.
For the most part I really enjoyed this issue. The first half of it was some of the best storytelling we have seen in a while in my opinion. At first I thought Sophia getting that upset about finding out her mom was having sex with a new guy was being taken a little too far. But then once it was said she was more upset over the fact that Maggie didn't even bother to say anything to her about it it made a lot more sense.
Cophia is definitely in the air. I imagine these two are going to really start developing a romance from this point forward. This is how Kirkman started off the Rick/Andrea thing where they started off as friends first. Only question is will Carl outright end things with Lydia or will she end up dying? I'm beginning to think that with the Commonwealth being as large as it is and a good amount of the Hilltop/Alexandria people likely moving there Lydia will be naturally phased out of the story because she will move to Ohio and meet new people.
Second half would have been pretty good as well if it wasn't for the Sebastian character. He is clearly one of those one dimensional characters that Kirkman occasionally brings into the series specifically for one particular reason and nothing else. He's just there to create some conflict right from the get go and make people readers wonder if everything is right with this new place. I imagine he will probably be killed within the next twenty issues or so (that may be the big issue 200 story is a murder plot happens in regards to him and some of the longstanding characters get caught up in it).
This Commonwealth place seems like it is on the up and up. They just need to do particular things in order to maintain order and giving people specific roles is a way to do that. No different than in the real world the police not allowing non police forces to do police work.
A couple things I did notice. Have we had a timeskip recently? It hasn't been that many issues since the Hilltop burned down and they have the mansion rebuilt already? Oh well. Maybe the thinking was that if everyone in the community was helping rebuild it it could have gotten rebuilt in a matter of weeks? I'll have to go back and look over the issues from the point where the place was burned down and see how much time has passed. Think it has been around three weeks or so but I'll check.
Also Stephanie looked black in this issue. As far as I remember she was shown as being white in the initial issue she was shown in. Was that a bit of a continuity flub or was there a specific reason why they gave her a much darker skin tone in this issue?
It's hard for me to call what we saw in that first half "good storytelling". The bit with Siddiq and Mercer was certainly pretty ominous, but this encounter ended just about completely like I predicted. The Alexandrians literally just got there and were meeting the leader, they couldn't have someone turn up missing THAT quickly. Mercer also couldn't jump out of line that quickly, there has to be buildup to the first moment that he actually starts to enact his plan, there's still so much we haven't seen of the community. As far as the Maggie bit, there was nothing new about a situation like this that we haven't seen in some kind of other story: Man and Woman are famously in love, one of them dies, survivor goes through grieving period where they just can't imagine life without their significant other, and then they eventually decide for themselves that it's ok to find love again. Sure, it might be somewhat interesting how the entire town knowing about it comes into play. But the kid being upset that the new person isn't the same mom/dad and heartfelt parent-child discussion about it......it's nothing we haven't seen before, and Kirkman didn't write it any kind of way that deviated from the standard cookie-cutter formula. We all knew this moment was eventually coming for Maggie, it was just a matter of whether or not it would be Dante. We then switch over to a different mother-daughter moment, where Kirkman I'm sure delibarately, slips in the exact same line of "I've been alone for a long time". I'm sorry, but this didn't really break away from the most basic predictions either. We've seen characters that have been separated from loved ones for a long time, where they harbor angry feelings towards the other person due to said separation. Wouldn't surprise most people that Elodie had these feelings, and with the way that she embraced her mother, we know that she isn't holding a grudge anymore, even if she didn't say so explicitly.
Now don't get me wrong, both sequences definitely hit the feels, which I'm gonna assume Kirkman was going for rather than trying to make these moments anything more than they needed to be. We've known Maggie and Michonne for a VERY long time, so perhaps he was just trying to draw the parallel between the two in terms of their love lives and the people who matter most to them. It's very touching when you look at it that way, I just can't call it "good storytelling" when it's a situation I've seen in stories so many times. Speaking of, the love triangle situation that we have brewing with Carl-Lydia-Sophia is another example of us moving into a very recognizable territory, and I just hope that Kirkman resolves it in a way that isn't incredibly predictable (i.e. boy tries to make both girls happy simultaneously, then fails miserably making them both hate him and/or each other). Don't care which one he picks, just make it interesting.
The second half I will agree got me pretty excited of the fated union between Pamela and Rick, because there was setup this chapter for SO MUCH to happen before that moment finally comes. That is assuming of course, that Pamela can grow a damn spine and not just roll over to appease her spoiled brat's attitude. Elodie's insistence to Michonne that they "know their place", as well as Mercer's assertion of Siddiq that he isn't of the "Silver Spoon" hints to me that there might be some classism going on in this society. Which is funny in and of itself in a world like this, but we have yet again a group with a set of values that someone in our group doesn't like, which almost by default means that Rick won't like it either. A lot of people will be of the mindset that a war with the Commonwealth is a definite eventuality, so if this is truly to happen, then the inner conflicts of the Commonwealth must ignite first, in order to even the score. As it stands, I'm sure they'd wipe the floor with Alexandria and the allied communities. They have every right to present themselves as the New World Order, and part of me believes that Pamela has an ulterior motive of gauging how possible it would be to annex these communities should she so wish. On another note, I already liked Princess, but her spearmanship was truly a sight to behold. These weren't walkers, these were real people armored up top to bottom, and she handed all their asses to them BY HERSELF. If that doesn't go down as one of the most badass moments in recent history then I don't know what you guys want. Very curious to see what Michonne has to say next chapter, and if Mercer will use this as an opportunity to coerce the Alexandrians into seeing things his way.