Oh most definitely there shall be some zombie slaying on our Women's History Month countdown!
If you don't know The Walking Dead comics or TV show (as small as those odds are if you're on my blog), it's a pretty basic open-ended story of the struggles of the survivors of the zombie apocalypse, and Michonne is the one with the sword.
Well, in the comics, it mainly comes down to the surprising lack of patronization surrounding her. This isn't generally one of The Walking Dead comics' strong suits. This is a series that brushes off the formation of an all-male council of leaders among the characters with about four lines of dialogue about how unsuitable all the female characters available at the time would be.
The accuracy of those few lines should be enough to illustrate the bigger problem.
Michonne, however, despite being something of an exception in the Walking Dead comic-verse for being a competent woman, is never treated as an exception. She's about as good and as bad, as tough and as vulnerable, as any of the male stars. She's counted as part of the muscle of the group, never with any particular fanfare or "for a girl" asterisk implied. Of course, this has a lot to do with the simple practicality of a sword in a scenario where stealth is constantly a concern.
The comic points in her favor may not sound like a lot, but they're enough to make her an icon in a non-ironic, non-condescending way, and as comics go, that's not nothing.
TV-verse Michonne, on the other hand, is something so much more.
That doesn't mean the show shies away from the more horrific content.
The TV show removes Michonne's less appealing qualities (she's racist and sexually manipulative in the comics) and also cuts out her more predictable rape-revenge plotline with The Governor, making their highly personal enmity revolve around a he-said-she-said tug of war for the trust of the other characters instead.
As he gets crazier and more broken by the zombie-filled world, she gets saner and puts herself back together from what she lost all at once. As he gets more distrustful of humanity, she gets more open and hopeful for the future of civilization, and their friendship ends up becoming the two halves of the group's conscience.
For being every bit the badass she was in the comics, an unquestioned physical protector of the survivors, she's become strangely close to what might be called the heart of the show.
And it must be noted, she does this not only by being a multifaceted character, a force to be reckoned with in a fight, and an icon of action-hero cool, but by being all this on a show where other women are too.