"The Walking Dead" Comic Book Series Review
The Walking Dead Comics Review
Comics are probably the second (or third) best thing (after Star Wars and Game of Thrones) to ever happen to me. Not just comics, but The Walking Dead comics. Before I go on, you should know that I am easily scared and I avoid all horror films like the plague. That being said, it says a lot that I am adding this to my list of obsessions.
There may be over a million films and novels exploring the possibility of a zombie apocalypse, but none as well as The Walking Dead. For years, I’ve been an avid fan of World War Z by Max Brooks (novel) and I had yet to find anything to top that until I stumbled upon The Walking Dead.
For those of you familiar with the AMC adaption of TWD, prepare to be surprised. The series makes so many changes in both storyline and character development that they can each stand on their own. Written by Robert Kirkman, the comic starts just about right. The first few pages reveal enough to create a strong foundation without revealing too much. While on duty as a police officer, Rick Grimes is shot by a criminal. He awakes to an empty hospital and a world filled with living rotten corpses. He then sets out to find his wife and son in a world where everything he has ever known is suddenly gone.
When it comes to apocalyptic stories, you want to know every detail. Why, when and how. What caused it?; why wasn’t there a cure?; it’s endless. TWD puts in its best effort not to reveal those details, while still having you intrigued with the storyline. In truth, TWD tackles what a lot of other zombie plots haven’t, and that is the effect on individuals, families and society. Not so much the physical portion, your imagination can help you out there. In the long-run (and it doesn’t even take much), you can slowly see each character changing issue after issue. It alternates between characters reaching the boundaries of insanity or simply giving up on all hope . However, there is more than one occasion where a character does a complete 360 turn, but you have no character development to back it up. Aside from that, TWD might just be a bit more about our primal instincts and our minds than actual zombies.
Don’t let that bog you down though, especially if you’re very much into zombies. There’s plenty of that too: the blood, the gore, the suspense, it’s all there. While I have really enjoyed the angle TWD has taken, I hope that the writers consider letting us in on the pathology aspect of the situation, but it seems that their subtle avoidance is a very much liked aspect of the comics.
Art-wise, the comic exceeds any expectations. The first volume (Days Gone By) is penciled by Tony Moore. He is then replaced by Charlie Adlard. Tony Moore takes a less realistic approach, and more cartoon-ish. However, his art seems to have more emotional detail. Facial expressions cover a wider range of emotions rather than just happy or scared or sad. Adlard’s art may be preferable just because it is more realistic but it falls short of Moore’s emotional range. In my opinion, the story arc eventually takes on more complex and gut-wrenching situations that call on Moore’s style rather Adlard, but the aesthetic preference does not take away from how awesome the comic is. Regardless of what artist, the dialogue among characters is always very real, although sometimes it might feel like some relationships got a friend-boost from one block to the next and you didn’t even realize it. But it is probably best to assume that desperate situations among people immediately make you close by default.
If you’re new to comics, this is a great series to start with. It reveals enough information to keep you interested without giving away too much. I have yet to read an issue that has disappointed me, and the series just keeps getting better. The Walking Dead has a 92 on my book, simply because no series is perfect and you gotta leave some room for mistake. That being said, give it a try. I assure you it’ll blow your mind, like a bullet through a zombie’s head.
- Matthew A. Ramirez