Before the big zombie craze, before World War Z, before Frank Darabont quit the TV series, Robert Kirkman was working hard to bring a certain air of intelligence to the big zombie apocalypse. To this day there remains to be a zombie comic that comes close to The Walking Dead; it’s the Night of The Living Dead of comic books, if you will. Rick Grimes has been through a literal hell and still, after all he’s been through he manages to maintain the will to survive. If I’m ever caught in any sort of end of the world scenario, I will model my behavior after this man (so what if he’s nuts). It’s been almost a decade of TWD, and Kirkman is not showing signs of wearing down anytime soon. Of all the horror comics out there today, of all the zombie literature, this one will always have a spot at the top. Read on for the skinny…
”Every day, it becomes a little bit easier.”
It’s not common for a writer to want to stay on board for a series this long, but it’s apparent that Kirkman wants to see his vision through to the very last page. Somehow the quality of writing and the story arcs only get better as the series continues, and Kirkman still has a fair share of shocks up his sleeve, as we all witnessed a few issues back.
Many people have said that this is the book that got them back into comics, and it just so happens to be the one book I would suggest to anyone looking to get into the genre. However, I doubt that when The Walking Dead starting that anyone thought it would be the success it is today. Every arc, fans have said Kirkman can’t top that last one, but he sure is doing his darndest to blow people away leaving their stomach in knots. Kirkman manages to build such strong and relatable characters that when they die, it hurts. Nobody is safe in this series, as Kirkman proved a few issues back teasing the death of Carl. (Seriously, read the fan letters in the back of the book, some fans chastise Kirkman for the way he treats his characters).
The past few months have not been easy for Rick, Michonne and the gang, everyone hanging onto their sanity by a tiny little thread. Many of the major characters are dead, dying, or completely losing their minds. If they don’t find some sort of salvation soon things will get uglier than they already are. Rick is declining further and further down that dark path of madness. Last issue he picked up the unplugged phone, once again, to speak with Lori, but lucky for him she didn’t want to talk.
With everything on the ropes it’s hard to know where things will go from here. The survivors are now working to rebuild the walls of the Alexandria compound (where they’ve been hiding out for the past few arcs). The original crew is showing signs of wear and tear because Michonne and Andrea both seem to have a thing for crazy Mr. Grimes. Obviously, this split would be cause for panic among fans (sniper vs. sword master…yes please!). To make things even more interesting Kirkman has brought some new character into the fray; surely it’s not long til they turn on the survivors, or get their throats ripped out by a horde of zombies.
The fact that I’ve gone on for so long speculating about character interactions and deaths says something about the art as well. The black and white art fits the writing style perfectly, really matching the bleakness of living in a world where time doesn’t matter because death is literally lurking around every corner. Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn do an admirable job of contrasting characters, while leaving their faces utterly blank for readers to decide what’s on their minds.
I only have two bad things to say about the series. First, the new readers really can’t jump in, but have to start from issue #1, which is really a good thing. Second, Unfortunately right now things are at a lull between major events and not much action is happening. Then again, this “calm before the storm” style is precisely what Kirkman is known for, so again, not really a bad thing.
Whether you wait for the trades, you’re new to TWD from watching the show, or you’ve been on board since issue #1, it’s undeniable that this is one of the best and most original zombie stories ever. Now that the fate of the show is uncertain, and Darabont is completely off board, nobody knows what to expect, and the cast seems to be just as scared as we are. It’s reassuring to know that Kirkman won’t be leaving the books anytime soon and we’ll always have the comics to fulfill all of our zombie needs.
‘The Walking Dead’ Issue #88 Drops Wednesday August 17th from Image