In the Image Comics world of The Walking Dead, characters are killed off or zombified at a rate that often makes it feel impossible to be able to name them all. Between the deaths of the original protagonist, Rick Grimes, to the countless others who preceded him to the grave, the zombie apocalypse has not been kind to the remaining survivors of the human race.
But at the end of the long running and extremely popular series, Carl Grimes, Rick’s only surviving child, finally steps into the limelight his father always held as a role model and shining beacon of hope for the members of his community and the family he has made for himself. Blessed with a daughter of his own, Carl paid tribute to an important Walking Dead character by giving her a special name that had fans tearing up when it was revealed.
Taking place in the surprise final issue, 2019’s The Walking Dead #193 from Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn, the story picks up 25 years after the death of series protagonist Rick Grimes, and follows the remaining heroes as they navigate a world where they have more or less learned to live with the constant threat of the zombie horde. Living with his wife, Sophia, on Hershel’s farm from way back at the beginning of the series, Carl has a daughter and the family are living a quiet, happy life away from the hustle and bustle of the growing – though quietly corrupt – settlements around them.
With the zombie threat more of a nuisance than an actual problem to be worried about every few seconds (unlike Carl’s childhood where death and a clapping set of zombie teeth were around every corner), the decades since Rick’s death have given humanity a much needed break from all of the doom and gloom, and it shows. Feeling safe enough to begin to live a somewhat normal life and start a family of his own, Carl and his daughter are a testament to what he has gone through since the zombie apocalypse started, and in the spirit of those trials and tribulations, Carl names his daughter after one of the most important and integral people in his life; his deceased stepmother, Andrea.
In what turns out to be a perfect callback to a character that was the backbone of what Rick, Carl and their ragtag group of survivors tried to accomplished in their years and years of survival (as well as a badass sniper to boot), Andrea was one of the most well-rounded and fully realized characters in all of The Walking Dead‘s run. After the tragic events that took away both Carl’s biological mother and baby sister, Andrea stepped up to not only fill the hole in Rick’s shattered heart, but also become the steadfast and strong woman that Carl came to call his stepmother, a bond that clearly affected Carl deeply.
So although Andrea ended up losing her life due to a zombie bite sustained after heroically saving one of their own during a massive zombie horde attack on the settlement known as Alexandria, she was honored years later when Carl bestowed her name on his daughter, keeping the legacy of Andrea alive and well for years to come. The Walking Dead is notorious for putting their characters through the ringer, but for once this ending gave fans something better to hope for, depicting a future Andrea died believing would come to pass.