By ComicRP 0 Comments
Every Leader has to start somewhere. For those of us in the Military that start is Boot Camp. Then we learn how do to our specific job at a Specialty School, for example, I am a Religious Program Specialist and I went to, what the Navy calls, an “A” school. There I learned how to assist Navy Chaplains while aboard Navy ships. Then I went to a “C” school called Chaplain and Religious Program Specialist Expeditionary Skills Training (CREST). Here I learned and received my specialty, which is bodyguard for Navy Chaplains while stationed with the Marine Corps. From there the military member spends his/her career bouncing from one duty station to the next, deploying when necessary, and picking up rank along the way. The entire time learning from every leader that has gone before them. Hopefully, one day attaining the leadership skills needed to lead those that follow them.
The Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes has been through a similar journey. As a small town Deputy Sheriff we, as the reader, can assume he went to a police academy and spent some years on the force before the events of issue #1. At the beginning of the series Rick and his partner Shane are in a shoot out and we get the impression that Rick is the ranking member of this partnership, or at least he is the one who took charge. Rick is wounded and lapses into a coma. When he awakes he is in an empty hospital and quickly learns that the town is over run by Roamers.
As any man would, Rick returns home to find that His wife and son were obviously packing and in a hurry to leave. He assumes that they are alive and possibly in Atlanta with his in-laws. On his way to Atlanta he meets a man named Morgan and his son. They explain that it has been this way for months and he is the first living person they have seen since it started. Rick spends the night with Morgan and invites them to join him but they decide to stay. Before continuing on his journey Rick decides to go back to the police station and raid the armory, getting as many weapons as possible for him and Morgan. Now a lot of men would have just looked out for number 1 and worried about the task at hand but Rick, being the natural leader, made sure that Morgan had the proper tools to keep himself and his son safe.
Because the roads were blocked by cars and other obstacles, and walking just wasn’t smart, our resourceful hero finds a horse and continues on his way to Atlanta, the whole time hoping against hope that his family was still alive. Upon arriving in Atlanta he finds that it was not any safer than anywhere else he had been. In fact it was more dangerous. He finds himself in a swarm of Roamers and near death when he is rescued by Glenn, a young man working as a scavenger. He follows Glenn’s lead and gets to safety. Glenn explains that he is from a camp on the out skirts of town. Glenn takes Rick to the camp where Rick finds his wife, son, and partner alive and well.
His reunion with Lori, Carl, and Shane is short lived and the group begins to look to him for leadership, despite the fact that until now everyone had been looking to Shane for guidance. He tries to explain to Shane that Atlanta is completely overrun and they are too close to the danger, and that they should move on to a safer spot. Shane, trying to keep is authority intact, insists that they are in a good spot should the government send rescue.
The next day Glenn and Rick decide to go back to Atlanta for the supplies Glenn was unable to get the day before. While there they find themselves trapped. Rick, thinking on his feet, realizes their smell is what sets them apart from the Roamers. So he and Glenn cover themselves in Roamer blood and detached limbs to move through the crowd safely. That works for a while but not long enough. They are again swarmed but are able to use the weapons they had obtained to shoot their way through and escape safely. Back at the camp we learn that Lori and Shane slept together and that Shane had told Lori that Rick was dead, not in a coma. Now that Rick is back Lori is naturally angry with Shane for lying to her and quickly rejects any advance Shane tries.
When Rick and Glenn return with the weapons there is some definite need for training, and who better to head that up than the local cops. Rick puts a gun in everyone’s hand and teaches them how to protect themselves. As it turns out Andrea, one of the campers is a natural shot. Rick notices this and makes sure that she gets more than enough time to get comfortable with the weapon so her natural ability can be properly developed.
As night falls Rick brings up the idea of moving to the rest of the group. Now he does this against Shane’s wishes but it needed to be done. So now Shane feels rejected by a woman and betrayed by his partner. So he is not happy. But to prove Ricks point the camp is attacked and Andrea’s sister, Amy, is bitten and Andrea has to shoot her before she turns. Another member of the group, Jim, is also wounded so it is only matter of time before he dies as well.
Now with Amy dead and Jim dying the group decides it’s time to move on to safer ground. Rick convinces everyone that rescue is not coming and they are in more danger than they need to be. Rick decides to clear the air with Shane. They go off into the woods to talk. Rick tries to understand what Shane is going through but Shane blames Rick for all that has gone wrong. Shane tries to kill Rick but is shot in the neck first, by Carl, who had followed them because he didn’t trust Shane.
Just in the first six issues of this story we see a man go from being a small town sheriff to being the unwilling leader of a group of strangers just trying to survive. Putting himself in harm’s way to help others or being the level head when all around is chaos. Rick Grimes is a well written example of what leadership should be.