Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead #127, in stores today.
After months of asking “Who is the mystery woman on the cover of The Walking Dead #127?”, we can finally start to ask “Who is Magna?”
The character, introduced in today’s issue of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s long-running survival horror series, seems to be a new point-of-view character; someone who is more or less on the same level as the readers and so, through whom we can learn about the new, post-”All-Out War” status quo.
When Rick Grimes woke up in the hospital all the way back in The Walking Dead #1, the world he found when he woke up was very different from the one readers know in the real world. Establishing the ground rules of that world and setting up its major conflicts fell to Grimes, our lead character, and then once the readers and Rick discovered the nature of the world together, the bonds of that relationship was formed and following him even once we were acclimated to a world where zombies roamed the earth made sense.
So, too, is Magna starting today’s issue on the same level as the readers: she knows the world of The Walking Dead, the ground rules and the way the walkers function. That part of the world is no surprise to the reader, either, although when she meets and we rejoin Rick Grimes’s group of survivors, there are some fairly major changes that leave readers more or less just as disoriented as Magna is coming into the story for the first time.
In-story, Magna is the leader of a five-person group of survivors who are almost overtaken by a massive horde of walkers when she’s rescued by Jesus (Paul Monroe) and brought back to the Alexandria Safe-Zone where she confers with an older, less action-hero-type Rick Grimes.She encounters him as this intimidating man with a cane and a glower, whose bum leg prevents him from the social niceties of things like getting up to shake hands.
With her, she has two men (Kelly and Luke) and two women (Connie and Yumiko) and, reluctant as they are, they surrender their weapons to Jesus, Eugene and company in order to gain access to Alexandria and safety. Like Rick had been when he came to Alexandria, she’s primarily looking out for the safety of her people, who have been on the road for a long time and encountered at least one major setback in the form of the loss of their horses and caravan at the start of the issue.
Magna has a fairly cynical worldview, thinking that they have to be very cautious of the Alexandria survivors and saying at one point that everyone died the day the dead started to rise up — that everyone is living on borrowed time. She’s also either wary of people knowing she’s the leader, or is hesitant to embrace that role (again, something we’ve seen from Rick over the years), as when Rick asks if she’s the one heading up her group of survivors, her first instinct is to deny it until one of her fellow travelers chimes in to confirm that she is.
Ultimately, who is Magna? Whether she’s the new lead character or not (it’s unlikely since Kirkman has always said this is a story about Rick and Carl), she appears to be the “new Rick” in that she’s a reluctant leader, a thoughtful survivor and somebody who will provide readers with a point-of-view character into a jarring new world.