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Off My Mind: The Walking Dead Zombie Outbreak
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
Is it important to know what caused the zombies or better left unsaid?
I recently got caught up with the comics, not able to wait for the next hardcover to be released, and I won't spoil whether or not the cause has been revealed in the comic. It is a question that runs throughout the series. Rick might have missed the chaos when everything went to hell since he was in a coma but he has heard from others. They all have said the same thing, they don't know what happened. What caused the outbreak to occur? There are a few possible answers we could look at.
== TEASER ==
The obvious answer is that the government was somehow involved. In the comic at one point, Rick comes across someone that says he knows exactly what caused the mess. In different zombie movies, it's usually some contagion that gets loose after the government or corporation has an accident.
With that being the obvious choice, there's still some variation we could have. Was it the U.S. government doing some sort of research and the public was exposed to the virus? There would be the question of was it created as an accident, as research or as a biological weapon? Would it really be surprising if some mysterious branch of the government or research facility developed the virus and wanted to test it out on a nearby town. As things often go, it probably got out of hand, a volunteer or test subject may have wondered off or escaped and the chain reaction began. This seems a little unlikely as those in the comics suggest that the outbreak and chaos happened pretty quickly. Most likely the researchers were working on the virus and got in over their heads. People were exposed and everything changed.
With the wacky things that governments do in media, it's possible that this was a biological weapon from another country. Through the course of the comic, the survivors don't have any contact with other survivors. They have no idea what is going on in the rest of the world. The outbreak could be contained to just the United States or even to just their immediate area. It could be possible that scientist in another country developed a virus and it was unleashed on the United States.
There is also the possibility that it was an act of god. Is mankind being punished for their sins? I doubt we would a huge biblical cause being the reason for all the zombies in the comic but there could be a slight variation on this. If it wasn't an act of god, it could have been simple evolution. The virus could have occurred natural and people began to become exposed. Being honest, I don't see either of these as being the cause.
I am curious as to how it could have spread so quickly. There would have to be some sort of airborne pathogens that spread the virus. We know that zombies are caused when people are bit but I'm pretty sure we haven't seen the dead dig their way out of graves. The thousands of zombies walking around couldn't have all been created as the result of a bite from another. You see people get bit and infected. There's no way it was all from bites. But at least in the show (which is taking it's own liberties), you see people (like Shane) covering their mouthes when all hell broke loose.
Does it really matter what caused the zombies in The Walking Dead? Would it be better to not know at all? It's been such a great series and there's the chance that reading about the cause could lessen the drama and mystery. The story has focused on the survivors. Would readers accept it if we were never told what created all the zombies? Either way, my money would be on some dopey researchers meddling with something they shouldn't have been.