Dan's Reviews > The Walking Dead, Compendium 1

The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman
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's review
Apr 20, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012

Q: why did i read this? A: because i can't resist zombies. in any form. i've watched the dumb tv show too. and i'll probably continue watching it. i'm 35 years old. what is wrong with me?

i know this series is a fanboy darling, but count me out. the walking dead comics suffer from the opposite problem of the tv series. on the show, everything unravels at a snail's pace and it feels like the only things that ever happen are a million idiotic trips to "the town" for supplies. in the comics, however, a major character dies every dozen pages, the characters that don't die are all busy shacking up with each other and fighting about it, and the story hops along from one catastrophe to the next. with better dialogue and more realized characterization, this would be a lot of fun, but as is - it gets pretty monotonous. it also doesn't help that most of the plot threads are pulled from the george romero mythology in one way or another, without really adding much to the formula.

but the characters are the real problem. half of them have no discernible personalities at all (at one point i literally forgot that billy existed), and the ones that do are usually pretty stereotypical. worse, the artwork makes them tough to differentiate. i found myself confusing dale and herschel several times throughout the book, only to remind myself that herschel is the "religious one," and dale is "the dude who wears the hat." this is what suffices for character depth in kirkman's universe.

the one plot device that sort of works is the no-holds-barred approach to violence. major characters can die, and with the possible exception of rick, no one is particularly "safe" in the narrative. this makes for enjoyably grim action sequences from time to time, but since i could give a rat's ass about any of these people, it doesn't matter much to me when they're gobbled up by the undead.

the grittiness gets a bit contrived as well. i'll admit that there's more energy during the "governor" storyline than in the 100-odd pages that precede it, but most of it relies on nastiness and gore instead of real innovation. in particular, there's a rape/revenge storyline that sets a new low for graphic nastiness, and there's nothing particularly resonant about it beyond the gore. i'm pretty tired of rape/revenge narratives in general, for reasons best outlined here. suffice to say that walking dead doesn't "examine" anything by stepping into that particular gutter, and i gained nothing from following the comic into it myself.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Ted (new)

Ted Like the review Dan, but it will have no effect on my reading (or not reading) the comic book.

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan if nothing else, i highly recommend the article i linked to in the review. it nicely summarizes something i've felt for a while without ever succinctly putting into words.

message 3: by Ted (new)

Ted That's an interesting, if overlong, article; as were many of the comments to it (interesting, not overlong). I was somewhat bemused about the number of people who, like the author, apparently had seen so much of this type of violence depicted in film that they were becoming increasingly repelled by it. Bemused because, for me, I have always been uncomfortable with graphic violence of any type in film, hence have chosen to not see films where I know it is thus portrayed.

message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan yeah, i'm (for better or worse) one of those who's pretty used to seeing this sort of thing on film. i'm gathering you aren't particularly interested in the comic that started this thread anyway, but if you're bothered by depictions of graphic violence, avoid it at all costs!

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