Stacie (MagicOfBooks)'s Reviews > The Walking Dead, Compendium 1

The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman
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Mar 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2013, graphic-novels, zombies
Read from August 05 to 18, 2013

I will also do a video review here at my channel: http://www.youtube.com/magicofbooks

The book I will be reviewing consists of issues 1-48 of "The Walking Dead" series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman. The series follows that of Rick Grimes who wakes up from a coma to a world of chaos. The world is populated by the walking dead, or, zombies. Rick sets out to be reunited with his family and meets other survivors along the way. "The Walking Dead" isn't just a series about zombies. It's a series about love and loss, and the question of what is good and what is evil in this new world.

I'm a huge fan of the TV series. Let me say this: the book is very 50/50 when it comes to similarities with the TV series. You got similar characters, you got identical plot, but there are a few slight narrative shifts here and there. In the graphic novels different things happen to different characters compared to the show, and some character traits are a bit different (Carol, for instance, is one of the most wildly different characters in the books). Also, some characters die earlier or later in the books than they do on the show. Other than that, the TV series is an excellent adaptation of the graphic novels.

It took me quite a while to really get into this book. It seemed to start off a bit slow, and to be honest, I didn't like any of the characters. Even the protagonist Rick was getting on my nerves on occasion. I believe it's the character Tyreese who says at one point about Rick's behavior: "He's a friendly, easy going guy one moment, and then a raging maniac with a temper the next." I didn't like Rick at first because of those extremes from one scene to the next. All of the characters were just irritating at first. And the language! Don't get me started on the language. I don't mind curse words. In fact, I like them because cursing is realistic in human speech. But the cursing in this series got so extreme and used far too much. The cursing got to a point that it felt unrealistic. The "f" word flies out of every single characters mouth on practically every page. I'm not exaggerating! And jeez, it's the end of the world, and everyone was concerned about having sex. There's so many random hookups throughout it's not even funny. You'd flip a page and there was someone naked!

Let's just say I had a really rocky start with this series and I didn't think I would begin to even like it. It took until about chapter 5 (starting with issue 25 I think it is) for me to begin to love the plot and the characters. The introduction of Woodbury and the Governor really spiced up the plot and allowed for deeper character development and more intense action.

Since this is a review about a graphic novel, a bit on the art: I found the artwork and paneling to be really great in this. The whole thing is done in black, white, and grey, which I think was perfect to set up the tone and mood and overall desolation of the state of this new world. Occasionally, some of the artwork wouldn't be told in multi-paneling and an image might take up a full page or even two. For story purposes, a full page or two really stressed the importance of a moment that a series of multi-panels would not have conveyed. As far as character artwork, I think this was done quite well. It's important in graphic novels to be able to pinpoint individual characters and recognize them at first glance amongst a group of other characters. I think every character had their own unique look that was easy to identify. I will admit though, if Dale didn't have his hat on, I often got him confused with Hershel.

The ending of this compendium, just, wow! I don't even know what to say. I'm really anxious now to read compendium 2. This book ended in such a dramatic fashion. Not so much a cliffhanger, but things happened, and let's just say there was a lot of death. I can't wait to read compendium 2 because I'm guessing that a lot of new characters and stories will be introduced after what just happened.

Overall, despite my rocky start and initial dislike of the whole cast, by the halfway point I really started to love this series. If you've been watching the TV show but haven't read this yet, I highly recommend it. I think viewers of the show will be fascinated and disturbed by some of the differences that occur in the books. Plus, if you love zombie gore and action, you'll love this. But it's also not all about the zombies. The story and the character development is the whole focus of this series. It's just a fantastic commentary on the nature of humanity and where our moral lines are drawn when the world is thrown into chaos. The zombies aren't even really the villains of the piece. As you read you come to realize that people either thrive or die in this apocalypse and the lines between good and evil are hard to find. And it's because of this that this series is worthwhile to read.
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08/05/2013 marked as: currently-reading
08/18/2013 marked as: read
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