The Walking Dead- A look back at Issue 46: Remembering Tyreese

Tyreese on The Walking Dead 46 cover - Image Comics and Skybound
Tyreese on The Walking Dead 46 cover - Image Comics and Skybound /

It’s been 10 years since readers of The Walking Dead bid farewell to Tyreese. His death would be the first in a tragic sequence of events that led to the the group’s final stand at the prison and the next chapter of their survival on the run.

Issue 46 of The Walking Dead was released a decade ago on February 13, 2008. In it, readers learned the fate of Tyreese, who had been captured by The Governor’s men during a failed raid on their encampment. Also missing in action was Michonne, presumed dead in the ensuing gun battle. As proof of her apparent demise, her katana had been presented to The Governor as a trophy.

At the prison, Rick recovered from wounds suffered in the first standoff with The Governor. Meanwhile, the group prepared for another attack. With their defenses bolstered and an escape plan in place, an uneasy calm had settled in.

Shots fired

It did not last long. A shot rang out as a truck approached. It was The Governor and he was flaunting two things that sent shivers down the spines of those behind the gates.  With Tyreese as his injured captive, he was demanding entry to the prison. Furthermore, he had Michonne’s katana and was threatening to kill Tyreese with it if they didn’t comply. With Michonne nowhere to be seen, her allies feared that she too had been captured, or worse, was dead.

The conversation was short and Tyreese’s fate was swift. The gates remained closed and The Governor showed that he meant business. With several ungraceful swings of the katana, Tyreese was rendered partially decapitated. Then, to everyone’s horror, and with a swift kick, the dirty job was done.

A tale of two Tyreese’s

It’s worth noting that “Comic-Book-Tyreese” and “Television-Tyreese” (Chad Coleman) exist as characters with their own unique mythologies. It’s also interesting that Tyreese’s original arc ends in almost the same breath in which his television journey begins. What we get are two Tyreeses who possess the same traits, strengths and weaknesses, tested under completely different circumstances.

Tyreese was introduced in the comics shortly after Shane died, long before the group’s arrival at the prison. By using his intimidating size and physical strength to defend those around him, he was respected as a leader. Conversely, and like his television counterpart, he was also prone to losing his temper and decidedly not proficient with guns.

Both versions of the character experienced heartbreak and loss. In the comics, Tyreese struggled with the suicide of his daughter Julie and was never the same afterwards. On the show, he would be consumed by grief when his new love, Karen (Melissa Ponzio) is murdered. Tyreese would later learn that Carol (Melissa McBride) was responsible for Karen’s murder, but after their own shared ordeal caring for Lizzie and Mika, he was able to set aside his rage and forgive her.

Altered fates

Tyreese’s death takes place in part four of what would become Vol. 8 of the graphic novel. Titled “Made to Suffer”, this volume shares the same title as the mid-season finale episode of season 3 where Tyreese would eventually be introduced as a new character. In this twist, his violent comic book fate would later be bestowed on a defiant Hershel (Scott Wilson).

“Television-Tyreese” would go on to live for two more seasons, meeting his end in the season 5 mid-season premiere. By this time though, he had already earned his place as a beloved member of the group and his alternate death would have an equally devastating impact.

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On the run

Tyreese’s execution in Issue 46 set off a chain reaction that would lead to the deaths several notable characters. In the end, Hershel, Lori, Judith and The Governor would perish. Like the television series, those who remained were forced to flee the prison as it burned, fanning out in separate directions with little hope of being reunited on the run.

The Walking Dead Issue 176 is on shelves now at your local comic shop, and don’t miss the mid-season premiere of Season 8 of The Walking dead on AMC, Sunday, February 25th!