One Walking Dead Weapon Proves Zombies Weren’t The Series’ Real Monsters

Negan’s bat “Lucille” was more than a weapon, serving as perfect avatar of humanity’s bloody, violent descent in the face of TWD’s zombie apocalypse

The many twists of barbed wire covering Negan‘s weapon of choice, a baseball bat named after his late wife Lucille, are nothing compared to the twisted symbolism of this iconic item within The Walking Dead universe. Viewing Lucille as a blunt object that serves as an extension of an even blunter man sells the meaning of this artifact of the zombie apocalypse woefully short. In a sense, Negan has transformed a symbol of Americana (and the way that life used to be) into an avatar of how far humanity has fallen.

Negan made his debut in The Walking Dead #100 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, where he was presented as someone who quickly rose to a leadership role based on his brash, bold, and unforgiving style. It is clear that he is a force of nature and fans became invested in how Negan’s story unfolds. He runs a group called the Saviors, who use overwhelming force and threats to demand resources from other communities as tributes. Lucille is indeed an extension of himself and his cruelty, but this unconventional weapon also looms as a symbol of how humanity has had to become cruel to survive.

Related: Rick’s Very First Zombie Kill Set Up Negan’s Final Fate

“America’s Past-Time” Gets A Bloody Twist

A baseball bat begins its life as a necessary component of a children’s game. In a kinder, gentler world than the one that Negan and Rick Grimes come to inhabit, a person’s first exposure to them is typically in gym class or Little League. The crack of a baseball being struck is part of the sweet summer music emanating from baseball fields and backyards across America.

Negan fighting walkers in The Walking Dead comics.

Though he ended up as a formidable villain, Negan had humble beginnings as a foul-mouthed youth ping pong coach and high school gym teacher, of all things. As one cannot survive a zombie Armageddon wielding a ping pong paddle, he required something with a little more heft to brave his new reality. In a depraved world, it is interesting that he reached for something familiar to athletics, foregoing a gun, knife, crossbow, or any of the other weapons that litter this kill-or-be-killed environment.

Related: Walking Dead: Shane’s Final Words Show Rick Is His Personal Zombie

More interesting still is how his telltale weapon is a warped version of an All-American symbol. Just the notion of a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire is something that would keep most people at a distance, representing violence and harm to everyone (even potential harm to its user). For a comic book genre that was accustomed to the likes of Captain America’s shield, which has a fantastic origin and represents the American ideals as they still exist today, the inclusion of a monstrous weapon like Lucille made the tone of The Walking Dead even darker. The entire series, it served as a nod to how dangerous humans had become.

People are understandably terrified of what Negan can do with Lucille. As someone who rules through machismo and intimidation, his pairing with this melee weapon is a match made in Hell. This is driven home in one of the most shocking moments in all of comics history; when Negan uses Lucille to brutally murder Glenn Rhee, Rick Grimes’ first human contact upon awakening into a zombie-infested world. The moment is as gruesome as it is unexpected, with the Saviors’ leader using his bat to literally bash Glenn’s head in, adding to Negan’s list of gory kills.

Negan holding Lucille in The Walking Dead comics.

With so many people present to witness this senseless act of violence – it not only demonstrated the horrors of a new world order but also served as an assault on the fading memories of safer times. It is a small detail, but Glenn is known for wearing a baseball hat in nearly all of his appearances. More than a fashion statement, baseball hats are a throwback to an era when people devoted so much of their free time to watching a game, frivolous entertainment, and having friendly rivalries with cities all over United States. At the moment of Glenn’s demise, however, survival is the only game in town (and rivalries are decidedly unfriendly), as shown when a baseball bat is used to brutalize a person who was either a fan of the game of baseball or its classic fashion sense. Only a few Walking Dead characters truly succeeded at living in a world with such blurred lines.

The Bats Are What Bump In The Night

Depicting baseball bats as weapons is nothing new, but the typical association is of a homeowner creeping down the stairs in the middle of the night, bat in hand, to investigate a noise from somewhere within their home. When it is not being used for its intended purpose, it is a go-to option for defense and peace of mind. Again, a bat sheathed in barbed wire, and used to indiscriminately attack others, is a perversion of pre-apocalypse life.

Related: The Walking Dead Comics End With Carl’s Corruption

The ultimate perversion is the name of the weapon itself. In The Walking Dead: Here’s Negan trade paperback by Kirkman and Adlard, more is revealed of Negan’s relationship with his wife, including that he cheated on her while she was dying of cancer. Even though The Walking Dead‘s black-and-white color scheme is deliberate, there are a lot of moral grays throughout the series. By seeing her strength in dealing with this disease and her forgiveness of Negan’s infidelity, fans gain a sense of Lucille’s compassion and Negan’s earnest desire to be there for her in the end. After her passing, though, they can quickly surmise that she would not approve of her name being used in this way and Negan’s turn back to his selfish ways.

Though Negan ultimately tells the Saviors that her memory has allowed him to remain protected, in a “bubble where nothing got to him,” he desecrates that memory by naming a murderous object after her. In this way, he betrayed her not only in life, but also in death. In a show of selfishness similar to Carl Grimes’ final transgression at the series’ end, he completely missed the point regarding his loved one’s legacy. The naming of the bat is an homage to what Lucille’s memory has done for him personally – rather than anything that would actually honor her and what she stood for.

In sum, Lucille is an insidious symbol of how society changed for the worse. Instead of the threads that bound humanity together in a spirit of cooperation, Negan’s weapon of choice hinted at the barbed wire twists that ran through The Walking Dead‘s society, ripping apart what they touched in a way that no zombie horde ever could.

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