In the past few months, The Walking Dead comic series went through quite a dramatic shift, following up the “All Out War” battle against Negan’s people with a two-year time jump, which introduced a new band of creepster villains to our dutiful survivors. The discovery of the Whisperers has coincided with the heightened teenage angst building inside Carl Grimes, son of the war-torn leader Rick, and a few upcoming comic covers have led some fans to speculate that Carl may finally be removing himself entirely from beneath Rick’s handless wing.

The first (admittedly flimsy) piece of evidence is the cover for The Walking Dead issue #138, which features a lanky dude with a badass belt buckle holding a gun over his shoulders and sneering. The fact that you can’t see his face is notable, since Robert Kirkman often utilizes full faces on his covers. People are saying this might be Carl, but the way the hands are drawn makes this guy seem much older than the teen, though I guess his new blacksmithing apprenticeship could have aged his hands in a short amount of time. Check it out.

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This second cover is even sketchier when it comes to guessing what it entails. Issue #139’s front sees Rick standing alone at a harbor watching a boat on the water. ComicBook is speculating that Carl is on that boat, but it looks to me like it’s arriving and not leaving at all. But the way that Rick is standing there so stoically indicates that he isn’t extremely worried about whoever is walking around beneath those sails. Here’s that cover.

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The issue’s tagline is “From the Edge of the World: A new arc begins as our world gets even bigger.” That seems to mean that people are coming into the Alexandria Safe Zone from elsewhere, not that people are going out to it. That isn’t to say these people won’t come in and present a better chance for survival that Carl will get immersed in, but that can hardly be surmised from either of these comic covers by themselves.

If Carl’s self-exile ever became a real part of the comic book world, however, that would have amazing implications for the TV show. TV Carl is already older and douchey and always seems to be two seconds away from a mega-tantrum that causes him to walk away from the main group. (We all know this series likes to just send people off.) And that, my friends, will be the greatest day in The Walking Dead’s history.

Do you guys think these fan theories hold water?

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