Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artists: Charlie Adlard with Cliff Rathburn (gray tones, cover colours, back cover)
Publisher: Image Comics
Iím sure if you are one of those poor souls who has read my other zombie comic reviews (Deadworld, Zombee, etc) youíll notice that I like to rave about The Walking Dead. Iím generally not hesitant to give praise, but itís of special note that Robert Kirkmanís masterpiece about how a group of people survive a zombie apocalypse is totally deserving of riot-level pants-wetting. As of right now, I am quite certain of the fact that Walking Dead is one of the best titles on the market and is definitely one of the best titles of all time (providing you like the genre, I suppose). It has it all: A great story, compelling characters, realistic dialogue, brilliant pacing, superb mood evoking art, and a badass attitude that still allows the comic to be very inviting indeed. Oh, and zombies. It has those, too, but I figure if you donít know that by nowÖ, well, letís just say youíre not on my team when the brain-eating days of doom arrive, mmmkay?
Since I got issues #32 and #33 at the same time, Iím going to cover both of them in this review. This is probably for the best, anyway, as they both tie into one another nicely. And thatís another simple marvel about The Walking Dead: Awesome continuity and pacing throughout the series. No stones seem left unturned, no threads left forever dangling (at least not yet); itís all put together like a finely oiled machineÖ Except instead of oil, itís a metric tonne of blood and gore.
Yeah, I know. I couldnít help myself there. I mean, really, what did you expect? I try to fit them in where I can, you see.
Issue #32 is the escape from Woodbury, run by Philip, The Governor (you know, the one with the zombie daughter). Rick, Glenn, Michonne, and some others are freed by one of the sympathetic residents who, like some others, know that The Governor has gone over the edge and is basically swimming in a sea of sadistic mania. Things get more interesting as Doctor Stevens and his assistant, Alice, join the escapees. This issue is jam-packed with terrific tension, gritty action and tragedy. I have to say that after reading thirty-three issues, Iím still not sick of the tragedy. Not that Iím some sort of gloom-waver that hangs upside down in a cave or anything, itís just that tragedy is a hallmark of Walking Dead. Whether itís the straight-across-the-board catastrophe of a world overrun with the living dead or the horrors of just how screwed up people really are toward one another, misfortune abounds. This sad, sad world is one none of us wants to be in. EVER. But, damn, it makes for some good reading.
Anyhow, issue #32 is pretty much just the escape and the things that happen along the way. I was rooting for Rick and Glenn to make it. I nearly shed a tear when Doc Stevens got killed (great last words, by the way). I also knew what was going to happen when Michonne separated from the group to go back for Philip, who has raped and tortured her for awhile now. This is what weíve been waiting for! Issue #33 kicks off with a short fight and the rest is a revenge sequence that made me cringe. Nearly the entire issue would give movies like Hostel and the Saw franchise a run for their money. Though Michonneís vengeance is intense and in some ways beyond words, considering what sheís been through and what she puts Philip through. I wonít lie, I found the way Kirkman and crew presented this to be very satisfying. In some ways, I wish Rick had gotten a piece, but thatís okay. Once Michonne meets back up with Rick and the others, we are left thinking how things have been at the prison (where Rickís family and the other survivors heís with are holed up).
I need to find a way to make the time until issue #34 hits stands go faster. I need a device that can bend space and timeÖ No, I already tried climbing into my washer. It only looks like a time machine.
I think Robert Kirkman sums up exactly what everyone reading this issue is thinking by kicking off the letters pages right away with, ďWell, this issue was a bit intense, right? Sorry if you werenít expecting that. To be honest, I really wasnít expecting it either. It all seemed right to me as far as how the story was going. I mean, letís be honestóthe Governor deserved it, right?Ē
Iím inclined to agree. Also, itís worth mentioning that the letters section (ďLetter HacksĒ) is a feature of this book in itself. It usually gives readers insight into what Kirkman is thinking and where heís going with the story. There are usually a few pages of letters, which is always nice to see. How often do you see letters pages mentioned in reviews? Probably not all that often, Iíll wager. Itís one of those rare cases where the letters and the responses are one of the great aspects of a title. Itís that little extra that makes The Walking Dead such a weeping joy to read.
Bottom line: If you like great zombie/survival-horror comics and youíre not reading Walking Dead, then you, my friend, are plum loco. Kirkman, Adlard, Rathburn and Wooton have created, in my mind at least, the perfect undead genre comic. Yes, even the lettering is outstanding. You owe it to yourself to pick this title up. Now. Go buy it now. Buy two copies, because youíre probably going to mess it up the first time you read it. I mean with drool or something along those lines, you perverts.
What are you looking at? I donít care if you are a pervert. Shamble forth to your favourite local shop and obtain The Walking Dead, dammit.
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