Friday, January 15, 2010
Best of the 2000's #2: The Walking Dead
#2: Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
There is no comic I look forward to more than this. Every single month, this title goes straight to the top of my reading stack. Even Kirkman is mood setting and nothing happens (like during the loooong prison life sequence) there is always the chance that something absolutely shocking and mind-blowing is waiting on the next page. Kirkman pulls no punches, killing fan favorites, leading characters, and babies, breaking readers' hearts all the time. Yet sales continue to climb on this title because there is no better post-apocalyptic title out there. And the zombies are incidental. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge zombie fan, something about the "he is us!" thing just creeps the hell out of me, I have recurring zombie dreams almost ever month. But what makes this title work is the examination of what people will do to survive when things go bad. I believe the zombies in this book only accelerated the decline of civilization. I think the world we live in would start down this road if we lost electricity for more than five days. Rick and his band of survivors have done awful things to survive. Things that would be morally questionable in better circumstances. But we certainly can't judge them, because they are surviving in a world where so few are able. This is a tremendous comic about what it means to try to keep your humanity in a world where that humanity just puts you at the top of the menu. Kirkman does tend to let his lulls last a bit too long, and he has dropped the "we are the walking dead" line a few too many times, but overall, this is a riveting adventure comic. You could hand these trades to anyone and I think they'd be sucked in.
Charlie Adlard isn't the flashiest artist around; in fact, I have friends who don't like him. I can't see their point because Adlard's storytelling is perfect. His "actors" never leave you guessing, we always get the message on what people should be thinking. The action is always clear and concise, with little to no confusion about what's happening. He's not flashy, but his solid style means you are never missing any part of the story because of the art.