“We are civilization. He is back. You’re welcome,” says Governor Milton, introducing her community of 50,000 survivors in the pages of The Walking Dead. Welcome to the Commonwealth. In the comics, Eugene and Michonne lead the cross-country expedition that encounters the Advanced Community in Volume 30: New world order. En route to Ohio to meet Stephanie, Eugene’s party of Michonne, Magna, Yumiko, Siddiq, and Princess are apprehended and processed by the white armored soldiers of the Commonwealth Army. Deputy Governor Lance Hornsby brings the delegation from Alexandria to the network of colonies under the government of Pamela Milton, who believes in restoring order out of chaos as the leader of the Commonwealth.
With approximately 50,000 members, the Commonwealth is the largest community in The Walking Dead comic books. Its citizens have access to advanced resources and pre-apocalypse amenities, including bakeries and a functioning sports arena, but their society enforces a class system favoring the upper class.
The most privileged are the aristocratic Milton family, especially the snobby and spoiled Sebastian Milton.
Michonne’s long-lost daughter, Commonwealth resident Elodie, explains how the class system works: Citizens are given job assignments based on their status and professions before the fall. Governor Milton likens civilization to a machine and believes that this system provides the order necessary for reconstruction.
When Eugene leads Governor Milton’s delegation to the Alexandria Safe Zone to meet with Rick Grimes, the Governor arrives with a squadron of armored soldiers under the command of Officer Mercer. The meeting is peaceful, but the leaders disagree on the new world: Rick pleads for democracy and equality, Governor Milton for the unjust and unequal world order.
“So maybe we need a new world order,” says Rick, who leads the movement against the rotten core of the Commonwealth. When Mercer rallies his soldiers in a revolt to establish better leadership for the Commonwealth, Rick calls for peace and prevents a civil war between the divided citizens of the Commonwealth.
Ultimately, Rick Grimes inspires the citizens of the Commonwealth to oust the elite Miltons and work together for a fair future for all. “We are not walking dead,” Rick declares in a speech ushering in the new world. Decades later, Maggie Greene is the elected leader of Commonwealth One, now the capital of the expanded Commonwealth of the eastern United States.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season returns with new episodes on February 20 on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter and @NewsOfTheDead for The Walking Dead Universe coverage throughout the season.