Monday, June 7, 2010

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman (W), Charlie Adlard (A) and Tony Moore (A)

The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1
The Walking Dead is possibly the comic that grabbed my attention the strongest over any other comic that I have ever read.  I don't necessarily remember where I had come across the first story arc, Days Gone Bye, but I was so completely drawn in to the bleak, dark world that creator and writer Robert Kirkman had created that after reading the first two issues of the comic, I ordered the first four trade paperbacks immediately thereafter.

For months, I had heard about The Walking Dead, but for gosh-darn-knows what reason, I hesitated jumping in.  Don't ask me why.  The good thing about having waited for so long was that I had a ton of material to pour through before I had caught up to the current issues, but a few days after my shipment arrived, I had hammered through all four trades.  What was left for me to do, but to promptly begin rereading them again and join the rest of the comic world waiting for Image Comics to release the next trade.

Not since Preacher had a comic sucked me in and had me sweating out the release of the next installment in gleeful anticipatory anguish.  Preacher is still my all time favorite series, with The Walking Dead a very close second, but Preacher took me a few issues to get into the story, where The Walking Dead had me immediately.  Plus, with Garth Ennis's tale, I had jumped in early at issue number three and only had two prior issues to track down.

The story of The Walking Dead opens with Officer Rick Grimes awakening from a coma in a hospital room and completely unattended.  Rick remembers suffering a near fatal gunshot wound from a criminal while patrolling with his partner Shane and quickly determines that he is the only living being at the hospital.  The dead have risen and roam the streets and countryside in search of the living and Rick's old life is gone, including his family.  He heads off in search of his wife Lori and his son Carl and the dwindling hope that there is anything left living in this new and terrible world that he has awoken to find.

The Walking Dead is a series that never holds itself back and is not afraid to take a character that its audience has grown to love and admire, and utterly destroy them.  No one is safe in this series and the ever-present horror that surrounds their lives threatens to take all of Rick Grime's crew at a moment's notice and the zombies tend to be the least of the group's problems.  The mindless creatures actually become an afterthought--a horrific afterthought--to the real threat of the all too intelligent living monsters that have evolved alongside the innumerable undead husks roaming the country.

The remnants of humanity skulking in the shadows and existing in the next town over--see the Governor storyline for evil to the extreme--are the more serious threat and, at times, even some of those within Rick's own band of survivors pose a danger.  The human monster present in those that he thought that he knew, loved and trusted is the most deadly force in this new and terrible world, and even Rick must change his ideas of right, wrong, morality and decency in order to press on and survive in a world gone mad.

AMC, the company that has brought such excellent shows as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, has picked up the rights to produce The Walking Dead as a six episode television series, set to debut in October and I cannot wait.  Having already produced two of my favorite television shows, I trust that AMC will do the new series justice and lend it the same quality as their other brilliant should be amazing.

For starting out on The Walking Dead, Image Comics has released the first 48 issues in a compendium edition that costs $37.79 at, which is a hell of a deal and there is no better way to get started on this highly addictive and emotionally engaging series.  Very highly recommended.


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