The zombies are back with a vengeance in this month’s pages of The Walking Dead. The undead threat has penetrated their palisades and now stalks the streets in search of tasty citizens. Is there a way out? The title of the current story arc suggests not, but that will not deter those with a pulse from trying.
What a lot of readers enjoy about The Walking Dead is its focus on the human element — the struggle for humanity among the living. The zombies are sometimes relegated to the status of a pleasant bonus, secondary to the personal drama of the main characters. This month sees an interesting reversal, where the zombie mayhem is most interesting while a good deal of the dialogue falls flat. Two characters have big moments where they talk and talk and talk and do not say anything particularly captivating or convincing. It feels forced, and unfortunately acts as an unpleasant distraction from the better aspects of the comic.
Thankfully, these clumsy monologues do not comprise the entirety of Kirkman’s writing. He actually does some of his best work in short bursts of speech of unpleasant truth, like Rick’s concluding line. It may be a harsh opinion, but considering the circumstances, it’s perfectly justifiable. Of course, expressing such a callous viewpoint can produce violent reactions. Such is the case when another character says something similar earlier in the issue. What this story has accomplished best is to designate which characters are focused on saving themselves and their family as opposed to those who have the greater interest of the community at heart. How these differing camps will come to an agreement should be interesting — if they can, that is.
There seems to be no limit to the number of different zombies Adlard is able to create, each one is unique. They are also quite terrifying, with their vacant eyes and exposed teeth. In a group, they’re your worst nightmare, and that’s just how it feels during the melee scenes, a horrible frenzied nightmare where confusion and fear reign supreme. These dire times allow Adlard to display every emotion through the characters: fear, anger, grief and even a scene of sweet romance. This issue is an emotional rollercoaster with Adlard deftly guided the reader. The man is a great asset to this comic, for while the writing may occasionally falter, he does not.
Not the best issue to come from this title, but The Walking Dead is unquestionably the best zombie entertainment around.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Justin Carmona also reviewed The Walking Dead #82. Read his thoughts, too.