If you remember back at the beginning of the month I did a post about The Walking Dead. In it I said that it was one of my new favorite comics and that I was going to start a new feature on TME where I review The Walking Dead Chapter by Chapter. Well 13 days later I am here again and what better day to start analyzing a zombie apocalypse graphic novel than on Friday the 13th? So without further ado...
The story begins with Rick Grimes, a Kentucky sheriff, and his partner Shane right in the middle of a gunfight. Things aren't going too well for the cops and so in a spur of the moment decision Rick decides to try and flank him. This gets Rick shot which sends him into a coma.
Rick awakens about a month or so later from his coma to find a deserted hospital. He puts on his clothes and looks around to see where everybody went. After searching for a while he gets on the elevator and goes down a few floors to the cafeteria. When he gets off though he sees a dead body. He freaks out and rushes to the cafeteria. When he opens the door he sees this:
Rick freaks and rushes out of the hospital after fighting some of these things off by himself. He sees more dead bodies strewn about and decides to head home hoping its some sort of isolated incident. Rick arrives at his house to find that his family is gone. He starts searching around but gets a shovel to the back of the head.
He awakens to find Morgan and Duane, a father and a son who are holed up in the house next door. They explain that there was a huge zombie outbreak and that all the people left alive are all in major cities apparently being protected. Rick figures Atlanta is the closest big city, so after getting some guns and a change of clothes (along with some weapons for Morgan), he heads off for Atlanta.
He arrives in Atlanta to find it overrun by zombies. A young man (in his 20s) named Glenn helps him out and together they escape the town, after grabbing a few essential items. Glenn explains what happened to most of the major cities (or at least Atlanta) and that the survivors are all holed up in an RV outside of town. Rick follows Glenn to the camp and there he is reunited with his wife Lori and son Carl as well as his partner Shane.
After the tearful reunion, Rick meets the rest of the crew and they all seem to live fine. The men hunt, the children play, the women cook and clean and all is well. All is well that is until one of the women gets attacked by a zombie. She isn't bitten thankfully but this inspires Rick to take Glenn to the nearest gun store in Atlanta to pick some up so he can teach everyone how to shoot.
Things are bumpy but Rick and Glenn DO get a lot of guns. The training is going well, some better shots than others of course, but when Rick suggests that they should maybe move somewhere else, Shane explodes at Rick. Shane settles down quickly though and things go back to normal.
Later that night at a campfire there is a giant zombie attack on the group. One of the women and one of the men die in the attack and the next day they hold a funeral. Rick explodes at Shane in an "I told you so" manner and when Shane violently retaliates, Lori scratches him. Lori and Shane had had a one night stand while Rick was out and this scratch puts Shane over the edge. He grabs his gun and storms off into the woods.
Rick tries to calm him but Shane's done talking. He says he HAS to kill Rick or things will only get worse. Right as Shane's about to shoot Rick, Carl shoots Shane in the throat, saving Rick's life. Carl crumples afterwards and the both of them cry as they have both lost a friend.
Character Development/New Characters-
Rick: Rick starts off in the series as a clean shaved, straight laced cop with an eye for justice. He is scared by all that has happened and after losing everything his only concern is his family. He loves his family more than anything and will do any and everything to protect his family, at the expense of his safety. As the chapter develops he becomes more of a leader figure and people start to look up to him.
Shane: Shane starts off a lot like Rick (clean shaved/straight laced/eye for justice) but after Rick goes into a coma, he starts to show his true colors when he makes his advances towards Lori. When he does finally find success with his advances, he is happy and hopes that everything stays the way it is. But when Rick shows up, he becomes angry and bitter and eventually cracks at the seems. His death, while sad, probably saved a lot more lives than Rick that day. A good example of what's to come in terms of what the characters go through.
The Rest: The rest of the group is a pretty tight nit community. They act and behave like not a whole lot has changed but due to the age of the group (for the most part), they need a leader to guide them and keep their heads out of the clouds. They are pretty competent though but some need more training than others. You see a lot of Dale and Andrea, which is a good foreshadowing since these two are really big main characters along with Glenn.
Action-This was an action packed intro. Escaping the city, the gun store raid, the campfire attack, the final fight between Shane and Rick as well as Rick's escape from the hospital...all great examples of action in this chapter. Not a whole lot of dull moments, and even those build tension. Great action.
Zombies-The zombies are much more violent in this chapter than normal. Part of that is probably due to the infancy of the outbreak as well as the sheer mass of all the zombies in the nearby cities. Once they spread out later on they become less violent than this (for the most part..the early chapters are quite violent)
Art Style-I don't really like the pre-Adlard artwork. It's okay but lacks realism. The borders are way too thick, faces and bodies way too big and feels a lot like a pilot. But it's not terrible, much better than a lot of comics, but once Adlard gets on board the art is brilliant.
Bottom Line-Great intro, great writing, great action, pick this one up!
Well that's it for the first chapter. Stay tuned for the second one coming soon.