The Walking Dead Compendium One Review

***SPOILER ALERT***

This review assumes you have read the entire book. If you haven’t, don’t read.

 

I hate zombies. I’m not afraid of them, no. I ain’t looking over my shoulder in case one tries to bite my neck. I just never found them appealing, rotting humans coming back from the dead and attacking the living. In more recent years, though, zombies became affiliated with a pandemic plague affecting anyone possible, the human race subjected to living in a sort of Armageddon ambiance. Admittedly, I’m probably more intrigued by that type of “zombie” than the more accurate, though now seemingly archaic, zombie. The Walking Dead deals with that sort of idea; the creatures are zombies only in that affected humans become “biters” when they die. It’s caused by a plague, which is the cause for its mass spread.

 

So why did I start reading it? Well, with the success of the TV show, the series shot up in Amazon’s top 25—which I check regularly—and, being an appreciator of comics and good stories, I was intrigued, and checked it out from my library. But I became disappointed. “Just like any other zombie apocalypse,” I thought. I read the first issue and returned the book. A couple years later a professor strongly recommended the book, making it almost a requirement, so I had no choice. A few more issues in and I was hooked.

 

This story isn’t about zombies, but human survival in an Edenic world, the only safe haven a small pack of humans. The zombies exist only to quicken or turn the plot, and force the characters to develop and accept (or reject) other humans, despite their backgrounds. It’s a carnival spectacle of human interaction, growth, and even degeneration. I soon learned that even a zombie-hater such as myself can love The Walking Dead.

 

The story is nothing short of an epic. It’s Rick’s journey home, finding it, and reestablishing it in the nightmarish world he lives in. For the most part, I was enamored with the series. It wasn’t until the Governor that I became frustrated.

 

His inclusion, it seems, was to speed up what the zombies were incapable of. He’s the most unrealistic of the bunch, changing the story in the most impossible, and inhumane, ways. His very nature is chaotic and, in a way, stereotypical. He is the most “cartoonish,” having personality traits existing only in fiction. His character is both good and bad; good in that it was the authors’ attempts into character exploration, but bad because I felt he was too forced and changed the story too much. Still, I’ve yet to see what happens o Rick after Compendium One, so maybe his character wasn’t too strange.

 

It’s weird saying there was an unrealistic character in a book about zombies. But because the authors have spent so much time and effort giving hefty detail to this post-apocalyptic world, I started to think, “Hey, this could actually happen.” But then the Governor came—“This is too much.”

 

But that’s my only beef against the series, which really isn’t even enough to deduct the five stars. It’s a tremendously good read that I recommend it not only to comic book aficionados, but scholars of literature as well.

 

The art itself is great. It isn’t anything of utmost perfection, but the panels are organized skillfully, and the drawings done with care and finesse. Facial expressions are fantastic, and dialogue is, overall, easy to follow.

 

I hate zombies, but I like The Walking Dead too much.

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