Awesome!!! But it's too short! I want something that's more like 100, 200, 300, etc. pages long... mainly because I never want the Firefly/Serenity st...moreAwesome!!! But it's too short! I want something that's more like 100, 200, 300, etc. pages long... mainly because I never want the Firefly/Serenity story to end. Oh well.
The artistry is done quite well done, with lots of action and violence and gore, and interspersed with other artists' portraits of the main characters. And of course you can't go wrong with Joss Whedon's storytelling. Brett Matthews, too, I guess, although I can't say what exactly he added to the story. The introduction, written by Nathan Fillion, is the perfect amuse bouche, a great way to start off the novel. As I said, I just wish that story was longer.(less)
I was going to write reviews of the first three volumes of this series, but I decided to save my creative juices (and they are so little) for the comp...moreI was going to write reviews of the first three volumes of this series, but I decided to save my creative juices (and they are so little) for the compendium. So here we go...
First off, a general overview: The story concerns a local cop, Rick, who wakes in the hospital to discover the world has gone to hell. All the people have been turned into the walking dead. (I know, overtones of 28 Days Later, but go with it.) We then follow him as he struggles to find out what has happened, where all the zombies came from, and if his wife and child are still alive. In later chapters (volumes), Rick gathers a rag-tag group of fellow survivors and we are further drawn into their story of how to survive in a world gone mad. As Simon Pegg pointed out in his afterward to Volume One, reading Robert Kirkman's tale makes you start to question yourself: Would I be able to survive a zombie apocalypse? Would I be willing to do whatever it takes, even if it reduces me to a savage, to protect those I love? Heady stuff.
Now we come to the most controversial aspect of the series, the artwork. In Chapter (Volume) One, all the art and grey tones were done by Tony Moore. His artwork gave life to the series, giving us clear and beautiful images, done in a simple yet at the same time intricate style. Every character was unique; the zombies were disgusting in their realism; light and shadow had the starkness of a well-made black-and-white horror film. In short, Moore set the bar high, a bar which the next illustrator, Charlie Adlard, fell quite short of. I still don't know why Moore left the project, but I truly wish he hadn't. Once Adlard steps in, the drawings go to hell. Everything's rougher, without the grace of lines Moore had; characters are so poorly drawn that it's hard to tell them apart, which goes for both male and female characters. The shading is the worst, though; it's so heavy-handed that it almost feels claustrophobic and while I can appreciate that one might want a claustrophobic feeling for a horror comic, you want that feeling to come from actions and situations, not from a lack of detail in your scene. At times, panels were so dark it was hard to tell what the action of the character was. I'm used to seeing excessively dark lighting in movies, in fact I've come to expect it in horror movies, the kind of lighting where you can see some movement, but have no clue what's really going on. I don't expect it in graphic novels and, in fact, if you'd asked me, I wouldn't have known that excessive darkness was even possible in the realm of drawing. Well, other than taking a panel and coloring it in with a black marker. However, despite my poor opinion of Adlard's drawings, I have to be fair and say that they do get a bit better in later volumes, as he gets more sure of his characters and the storyline.
The storytelling helped come to grips with the post-Moore artwork. To be brutally honest, if this were not a graphic novel, I'd have to wonder how Kirkman managed to get published. Taken alone, the story is rather poor, especially the dialog, which can in turns be idiotic, banal, cliched, overwrought, nonsensical, and occasionally just plain painful to read. However, this isn't as bad as it sounds. First off, the graphics add depth to the ordinary writing, propelling it along when it might've stuttered out if it were merely a print novel. And secondly, the bad writing has actually captured the reality of the situation. After all, people say stupid things; they stutter, they get emotional, they put their foot in their mouth; they're inelegant in their conversations. In a zombie apocalypse, who has access to a speech writer, someone to whom they can turn to coherently and eloquently express their every thought? No one. Hell, only the slick bastards up in Washington have speech writers and they still manage to generate sound bites of them saying something moronic. Having awkward and not-well-written dialog gives The Walking Dead a depth and sense of reality not encountered in many other graphic novels, which, despite the later artwork, earns the Compendium 5-stars in my book.
Many people are put off by the Compendium, complaining about its lack of portability. Weighing in at nearly five pounds, they are right, it's not a book you can read on the commuter train into work. However, it's not put me off buying Volume 2 when it comes out. Not only will a matched set help me work out my biceps, when the zombie apocalypse does come, their heft will make them ideal weapons. I'm sure they'll be able to take off a rotting zombie skull or two, making them not only informative but useful as well.(less)
Short, violent and to the point. Not much character development and what story there is serves only to move the action alone, nothing more. For those...moreShort, violent and to the point. Not much character development and what story there is serves only to move the action alone, nothing more. For those looking to expand on their movie experience, move along, there's nothing to see here. In fact, it was the movie which expanded on the book, which only focuses on the tale of Paul Moses and his reactivation to the world of assassination. Other than that, the layout is crisp and focused, and the animation is vivid and well-done. I would say not much bang for your buck with this slim novel, but with the number of gunshots portrayed in the story, I'd be lying. I will say, unless you intend to pass this book among your friends to share its value, get it from the library first and then decide if you'd like to add it to your permanent collection.(less)
I enjoyed the original mash-up novel, so when I heard of the graphic novel adaptation, I was quite excited. However, I was also leery, which is why it...moreI enjoyed the original mash-up novel, so when I heard of the graphic novel adaptation, I was quite excited. However, I was also leery, which is why it took me so long to get my hands on it and when I did, it was as library copy. I was leery for the main fact that I knew the interpretation of the graphic novel could be potentially iffy. And I was right. The illustrations are technically skilled, but lacking distinction. The only way I could tell Lizzie and Jane apart was by Jane's dark hair. The other female characters, the young ones at least, were interchangeable and it was very easy to confuse one for another. Plus, the characters were bland and overly romanticized. It was like looking at a bunch of Barbie and Ken dolls dressed in regency-style clothing. The women all had full lips, petite noses and large, doe-like eyes. And of course the men had perfectly styled hair and dashing, Prince Charming features. Frankly, it got rather boring after a while, watching all the perfect people parade across the page.
Then we come to the actual story. Naturally, due to the manner of graphic novel storytelling, the original tale was abridged. But not well, which resulted in a choppy and abrupt storyline; while the original novel, due to the inherent nature of a literary mash-up, had the occasional disconcerting moment when new material was introduced into the old, there were exponentially more of those jarring moments in the graphic novel. And the numerous double entendres referring to "balls" and their enjoyment by the girls got truly tiresome and were completely out of place. Including the snort of laughter given by Lizzie after one of those references (concerning musket balls, as opposed to the dancing balls which were the main victims of the juvenile jokes).
In the end, I'm glad I read the book: It satisfied my curiosity. However, I'm also glad I didn't buy it as I had initially planned and instead got it as a loan from the library. Because it was truly a letdown and could've been so much better.(less)
Bizarro, indeed. While a couple of the tales are just plain stupid, overall, this is a funny and fun take on those beloved classic comic book heroes a...moreBizarro, indeed. While a couple of the tales are just plain stupid, overall, this is a funny and fun take on those beloved classic comic book heroes and heroines.(less)