Having only just started watching the TV series that this comic book was the inspiration for, I was a bit nervous. There have been many conflicting reports on which is better. I needn’t have worried as the comic is a different entity from the TV Series. In some ways this is for the best, in others you can’t help but compare the two.
From a purely comic point of view, it’s a decent read. The advantage that comics and graphic novels have over normal novels is the use of pictures. It is very much the case of a picture saying a thousand words. All you need is the actual conversations or thought bubbles. It speeds things up and can make it much easier to slip into the world the author tries to create.
This is a bit of a failing for this as it’s only in black in white. The lack of colour makes it difficult to distinguish between some of the characters. It would only be if they were called by name would I be able to tell who was who.
Apart from this, the plotline was really good. It had just enough differences from the TV show to keep it interesting. It did follow the first season pretty closely with only the ending of the book differing from the first season of the show.
There were some time jumps through out the book and it would have been nice to see how it got from summer to winter and what happened during those missing months. This is just a small niggle and is not enough to detract too much, especially as this is kind of explained through some of the conversations between some of the characters.
The stand out character in this comic is Rick. He is the centre pin of world. You are just beginning to see the transformation from small town sheriff to the leader of a band of survivors. You can see that is a struggle for Rick as all rules and laws are no longer liable. He is trying to hold on to some small part of the structured life he had before. You can see its futile, but you can’t help but sympathise.
The other interesting part to this comic is the oblivious love triangle in the comic. While Rick had been in a coma, his wife, Lori, had to flee with her son, Carl, to Atlanta. Rick’s best friend and partner, Shane, accompanied his, but due to either the situation or hidden feelings between the two before the zombies, the two start up a relationship and have been living together for a little while. When Rick turns up, after both Shane and Lori had though he became a casualty to this infection.
This causes tension between the Shane and Rick, along with Shane and Lori. Lori wants to continue on with her marriage to Rick and put whatever she had with Shane behind. Surprisingly, this is one of the most interesting plotlines in the comic. Watching as you witness this resentment and jealousy that Shane is feeling over Rick’s return is gripping stuff. You know that this isn’t going to end happily. All the signs are there. Rick wants to push on and move away from the camp that the survivors have set up away from being so close to Atlanta. Shane, who up to this point, appears to have been the leader, refuses, arguing that the best thing is to hold tight and wait for the Armed Forces to come rescue them. We know that this resistance has more to do with the fact that Rick and Lori are the reason for this.
The violent and cataclysmic conclusion of the book is surprising, especially for viewers of the show. The repercussions will be vast and you can see that there will be a massive shift in the second volume.
This is the only down side to the book. The series was a monthly comic and it still continues now. This volume is almost like a chapter in a larger book. This can be frustrating for although there is a certain closure to a few storylines, a whole load of other ones are opened up.
For fans of the TV show or comics, this is a really good read. It has an interesting plot and apart from a few niggles, it is really enjoyable. This is a comic that uses the zombie apocalypse as the backdrop to exploring the very basic human emotions. What would you be prepared to do in order to survive? What extent would you go to get to your family? How does the thought of never seeing your loved ones again change you? The comic explores these questions in some detail.
Though I did enjoy it, the changes meant that I got slightly confused between the TV show and comic. I’m not sure if I would read any more due to this fact.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- The Walking Dead Vol 1: Days Gone Bye
- The Walking Dead Vol 2: Miles Behind Us
- The Walking Dead Vol 3: Safety Behind Bars
- The Walking Dead Vol 4: The Hearts Desire
- The Walking Dead Vol 5: The Best Defense
- The Walking Dead Vol 6: This Sorrowful Life
- The Walking Dead Vol 7: The Calm Before
- The Walking Dead Vol 8: Made To Suffer
- The Walking Dead Vol 9: Here We Remain
- The Walking Dead Vol 10: What We Become
- The Walking Dead Vol 11: Fear The Hunters
- The Walking Dead Vol 12: Life Among Them
- The Walking Dead Vol 13: Too Far Gone
- The Walking Dead Vol 14: No Way Out
- The Walking Dead Vol 15: We Find Ourselves
- The Walking Dead Vol 16: A Larger World
- The Walking Dead Vol 17: Something To Fear
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