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Spoilers below for The Walking Dead comic books, which in turn means possible spoilers for the TV show's eventual episodes.
While TV viewers are still just getting to know Jeffrey Dean Morgan's big bad Negan on The Walking Dead, comic readers know the villain all too well at this point in the series' run on the page, and things are only getting more interesting, thanks to the ongoing flashback mini-series "Here's Negan." This month, we finally learned how Negan acquired his ever-precious weapon and companion Lucille, as well as who was the first to get completely crushed beneath Lucille's might. And honestly, the TV show might want to introduce this ASAP to get Negan some more fan sympathy.
That's right, I said "sympathy." Because as it's been shown during the previous installments of "Here's Negan," printed in the monthly magazine Image+, Negan wasn't just a ruthless monster for all of his life. Foul-mouthed, sure, but he was an educator and a loving husband before the walkers took over, and his love for his now-deceased wife -- whose name was Lucille -- clearly shines on in different aspects of his personality. Particularly in his well-established stance against rape, which is precisely the circumstantial atrocity that led to the fateful meet-hurt between Negan and a baseball bat.
At this point in the miniseries, Negan had been enveloped into the group that would eventually become The Saviors, with Dwight in a bigger leadership role, and the installment takes readers back to the immediate aftermath of one of the survivors basically offering Negan a chance to use the group's women however he wanted. When Negan took offense, insulting the animalistic behavior and demanding it be stopped, the man pushed Negan back into a pile of junk, which just so happened to contain a baseball bat and barb wire. Though Lucille didn't get draped in her thorned shawl just yet, her presence was most definitely felt in a way that undeniably called back to the first time comic fans saw her.
Seriously, Negan turned the abusive asshole's skull into a baked potato, earning the shock and near-chagrin of all the onlookers surrounding him, which is just like when he murdered Glenn both on the page and on TV. But the real callback that's worth talking about is the guy's eyeball popping out of his head upon Negan's final swing. That lovely little detail is something that happened to Glenn whenever that big moment occurred in both formats. And this was an instance of the show portraying something like it was in the comics, which is exactly how things should go down with Negan's backstory on TV.
TV fans still don't have much of an understanding why people side with Negan, but comic fans already had a good idea of the more life-affirming shades of Negan before the miniseries hit. As such, jumping back to Negan's first big Lucille kill would be a great (and definitely unlikely) way to kick off Season 8 of the live-action series. Because by showing us this scene, Robert Kirkman imparts Negan's growing hunger for attention, and it's assumed that this big visual massacre led to the group members' subordination beneath Negan's rule. And it likely wasn't the only time he's used a deadly spectacle to make a point, so it adds an interesting subtext to his presumptions that Rick & Co. would fall in line after seeing Glenn's brains smooshed. He's not very good at convincing people through conversation.
It'll be a while before we learn anything new about live-action Negan, as The Walking Dead won't return to AMC for Season 8 until this October at the earliest. Thankfully, you can read Image+ whenever you want, as well as catching up on everything we know about the new season, and then plan your impending primetime viewing accordingly with our summer premiere schedule.