Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead Vol 2 Miles Behind Us...

The Walking Dead Volume 2: Miles Behind Us (Nov 2004)
Published by: Image Comics
Creator, Writer, Letterer: Robert Kirkman
Penciler, Inker: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
BLM Rating 7 / 10
Acquired at: Melbourne City Library
[Read all BLM Walking Dead reviews here]

Here in Melbourne, the last few days have been stormy and cold. Rain has been pelting down with fury rather than the mild drizzle I am used to here. Yesterday, the river beside our apartment flooded its banks (and a quirky bar on a pier). My winter jacket is out, so is my umbrella. While this is miserable weather to be out in, it is almost perfect reading weather. Curled up in my cosy couch with a blanket, I have been working through that ever increasing to-be-read pile.

One of the best things about living here are the magnificent libraries. Whatever I can think of, it is almost bound to be at the Melbourne City Library. What's more, I can reserve what I want and someone thoughtfully puts it under my name on the shelves near the door. So on a day I have a work meeting finishing at 6:15pm and have to catch a 6:34pm train, I can dash to the library, pick my book and still make it to the train, just in time! Yes, this is how I got volume 2 of The Walking Dead earlier this week.

Volume 1 had already showed how the book was vastly different to the show and definitely faster paced. Miles Behind Us follows the pattern. Although some characters and settings would be familiar to those that watched the show, the story arcs are almost completely different. The zombie "roamers" remain firmly in the background while we focus on the change in the survivors. And specifically because the zombies remain in the background, we get almost as shocked as the characters when an attack happens. The danger is ever present, lurking just around the corner.

I have mixed views on the artwork in this volume. While the zombies are portrayed perfectly - each of them is different from the other, the danger and blood and gore all too evident even in this black and white art - I found the survivors sketches not up to the greatest standard. Maybe it is just the ever increasing count of characters, I found it hard to differentiate and understand which character was in the pane at any time. Hopefully this will change in the later volumes since it does slow the reader down quite a bit.

Overall, Kirkman succeeded in keeping the storyline tight, exciting and even thought provoking. Several characters experience trauma and grief; combined with the sense of constant danger and ego struggles, their reactions and changed personalities are fascinating and horrifying at the same time. It makes one seriously wonder how we would all react to such absolute dystopia around us, what we would do if we were the few surviving humans in an inhuman world...

Baju @ BLM

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