478 of 507 people found the following review helpful
Most of the folks here already know that The Walking Dead saga is a compilation of stories by Robert Kirkman that expand on the story that is well know to any zombie movie fan. The main story. The one started in earnest by George Romero in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead [and was later remade in 1990 (the version that I prefer) by Tom Savini (with Romero oversight)].
This Walking Dead "Compendium" is a compilation of Volumes 1 through 8 (or call it Books 1 through 4, or call it issues 1 through 48), and it continues the story of (former) Police Officer Rick Grimes and his band of normal-world-refugees across a world suddenly infected by a Walking Dead sickness..
The group finds a new home after a perilous Georgia countryside journey at the start of the story only to find out that zombies may be the least of their problem, and what is deemed a safe haven is only as safe as the protection it offers against zombies. Yes...venturing out into The New World is dangerous. Outside the gates of the new home awaits unfathomable chaos and horror; hordes of the undead, along with other survivors in desperate situations that do the unthinkable to stay alive (or entertained).
As the story matures, it is much less about zombies and more about what happens to society, its morals, laws and standards when government is lost and the planet becomes mostly uninhabitable. There's real, heartfelt emotion in The Walking Dead series combined with believable scenarios.
I'm not a regular comic book reader, but I was drawn to The Walking Dead by the Book releases that bring the convenience of being able to get many chapters of the story without the month to month or volume to volume waiting. And I am now hooked. Now I subscribe to the issue releases.
Each chapter of The Walking Dead is like reading a screenplay with storyboards of a version of Night of the Living Dead that began simultaneously, but in a different part of the country. Sure...The Walking Dead is kind of a rip-off of a story (stories) already told, but the key is that it's done very very well. The zombies are true to the original Romero creation: slow and stupid as opposed to the Rage-infected people in 28 Weeks Later / 28 Days Later) or the fast zombies in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.
So anyone in need of a very well done zombie fix that you don't put into your DVD player should absolutely get down with The Walking Dead sickness. Add this one to your cart if you're new to The Walking Dead...you won't be disappointed at its length because the story never gets tired.
212 of 234 people found the following review helpful
When I heard that AMC was going to produce a television series based on the zombie epic "The Walking Dead," I was both concerned and delighted. A bona fide classic in undead lore, "The Walking Dead" graphic novels are brutal and surprising--not really what I would picture for a basic cable TV show (the first season is slated for 6 episodes, we'll see if it goes beyond that). But AMC has produced terrific and prestigious shows like "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," so I'm pretty stoked to see what they do with this. Add Frank Darabont of "Shawshank Redemption" fame as the creative force behind the show, and we just might have a winner! In anticipation, I've gone back through the volumes of "The Walking Dead" to discover again the many pleasures that this series has to offer. The Compendium Collects the first Eight Chapters listed below--a great value but a MASSIVE book!
Note: While the following synopsis does not necessarily reveal major plot developments, it does chart the narrative progression of the story. If that is not something that interests you, please don't continue.
"Chapter One: Days Gone By" is the jumping off point--and, in truth, sets things up in a fairly typical way. After being involved in a shoot-out, cop Rick awakes from a coma isolated, but not alone, in a local hospital. Apparently, in the time he was out, something has shifted in the world and now the dead walk. The chapter introduces Rick and many other principles as he tries to figure out what is happening as he crosses the state to locate his family. On the outskirts of Atlanta, Rick is reunited with his wife Lori, son Carl, and police partner Shane with a group of other survivors. At this stage, hope is still alive and people are just waiting to be rescued and order restored. While the set-up has been quite familiar, the chapter highlight involves a very real human betrayal that redefines the mindset of all involved. A lot of characters are introduced to set the basis for the rest of the story. Good, with an emotionally charged finale, this is a worthy introduction that gets our band of survivors on the road.
"Chapter Two: Miles Behind Us" picks up with Rick, Lori, Carl and the entourage seeking out refuge. Having given up on immediate rescue--the group now just pursues safety. This section is most notable for the introduction of Tyreese, a natural leader who forges a strong alliance with Rick. The group stills thinks that they can wait out the zombie problem if they can just find somewhere isolated and secure. A gated community seems just perfect and the group is thrilled by the prospect of some normalcy. But all is not as it seems, and "The Walking Dead" establishes that no one is safe. Chapter Two destroys what little innocence is left in our band as they face their first real losses as a new unit. It is well plotted, well orchestrated and genuinely harrowing as the group come to understand that safety is an illusion. While Chapter One was an effective plot set-up, this one really sets the tone of danger. Excellent.
"Chapter Three: Safety Behind Bars" finds our ragtag band of survivors moving into a new safe haven. This one has real promise--it's a well secured prison. While Chapter Two has forced us to confront the fact that no one is safe, new hope springs alive. Still wary from their encounter on Herschel's farm, the group extends an olive branch to the family to share the safety of their new digs. So a community starts to form again and the group begins to grow with the newcomers as well as four inmates that were alive in the prison. Building a safe structure takes the primary focus of this chapter but all the new people are still wary of trusting one another. Jockeying for dominance and leadership, this bloody good chapter makes us confront that the zombies are not the only dangers inherent in the new world. With murder, suicide, and betrayal--its starting to get harder to determine the good guys from the bad. And in true cliff hanger fashion, the safe haven may be slipping from their grasp--or actually, it may be ripped away!
"Chapter Four: The Heart's Desire" wraps up the prison cliff hanger from the previous chapter. Among other things, Rick takes another controversial step to defend his tribe. Is he losing his humanity or doing whatever is necessary to survive? As a new character is introduced, the enigmatic warrior Michonne, things start to unravel for Tyreese. Still haunted by his daughters death and what he did in its aftermath, his relationship with Michonne threatens those he is already involved with. The series retains its heart with the continuation of the love affair between Glenn and Maggie including a racy nude scene. But the destruction of Rick and Tyreese's friendship packs a huge wallop. Easily one of the more dramatic chapters, the series hits an all time high with Rick's "We are the Walking Dead" speech--an absolutely unforgettable moment of raw emotion.
"Chapter Five: The Best Defense" takes things in a new direction. Tracking a downed helicopter, Rick, Glenn and Michonne head off to look for survivors. What they discover instead is another encampment--a whole town fenced off and self sufficient! Perhaps less involving in the initial trek, the chapter picks up with the introduction of the town's "Governor." When our traveling trio discover that their new friend might not be an ally, it's already too late. Most notable for its extreme violence and brutality, both Rick and Glenn suffer severely at the hands of this new madman. Most of the material back at the prison is relatively uninvolving making this a weaker entry in the series. But the danger that Rick in Michonne find themselves in has very real consequences that set up a new storyline for the future. Essential, but somewhat unpleasant.
"Chapter Six: This Sorrowful Life" picks up with Rick, Glenn and Michonne held captive as the ruthless "Governor" tries to extract the location of their camp. Finding unexpected allies in the doctor, his young assistant, and a perimeter guard Martinez--a plot to escape has been hatched. The escape is exciting, but the real action comes when Michonne seeks retribution against the "Governor." In easily the series most disturbing sequences, let's just say Michonne means business! "The Walking Dead" has continually blurred the lines between "good" and "bad" and amped up the moral question of what makes a hero--and within this installment we see one of our protagonists exact horrifying vengeance! Returning to the prison, the camp has been overrun and our heroes must again face a zombie hoard. But in the midst of this, a very human betrayal is discovered and Rick is once again faced with the choice of murder. An action packed volume!
"Chapter Seven: The Calm Before" is a relatively peaceful edition of "The Walking Dead" as the name might imply. A small band rounding up supplies faces down more of the "Governor's" men. Then the group, wary of being discovered by their newfound enemy, starts to become complacent when no sign is of attack comes over the next few weeks. We see normalcy start to return as Rick and Lori confront unpleasant aspects of their relationship, Lori gives birth, Maggie and Glenn consider a family, Michonne starts to thaw, the new "doctor" gets comfortable. But in this peace, one of the crew finally goes over the deep end with unpleasant consequences. Sometimes sweet, sometimes sorrowful--this edition sets up real hope and is really great in furthering the character development aspects of the story. This makes it an unexpectedly strong entry in the series! But all is shot with one heck of cliff hanger!
"Chapter Eight: Made To Suffer" reintroduces the "Governor" and what happened in the aftermath of Michonne's visit. The rest of the volume is an all out assault as the "Governor" and his crew try to break into the prison. With some of the protagonists considering departure, it leaves an even smaller band to deal with the onslaught. Non-stop action fuels this story and there are severe casualties. In a brilliant and bold move, all expectations are thwarted in the bloody confrontation. "The Walking Dead," which has already established itself as an epic in zombie literature, bravely pushes to the next level! Riveting, heartbreaking, and very surprising--nothing will ever be the same after this battle! My favorite so far--if only for its audacity and "take no prisoners" approach!
226 of 254 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2009
Everywhere I turn these days, I see zombies: in movies, novels, toys, video games, clothing, and far too many comics to count. I am absolutely sick and tired of them, so when I would read glowing reviews of Robert Kirkman's comic series THE WALKING DEAD, I would scoff and move on to something else. But the glowing reviews continued, becoming even more positive as the series progressed, and I began to have second thoughts. Then Image Comics announced THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM VOLUME 1, and I was sold on giving it a shot. This is a sturdy, high-quality softcover collection of the first 48 issues, printed on glossy paper. 1088 pages for $37 on Amazon is too good a deal to pass up, and this gamble more than paid for itself. Police officer Rick Grimes, shot in the line of duty, wakes up in a hospital bed. There are no responses to his calls for help. Eventually realizing that the building is vacant, he makes his way to the cafeteria for something to eat, at which point both he and the reader plunge into a horrifying realization of what has happened to the world during his recovery. From there, it's non-stop suspense, even during what could be considered the "slow points". Even though my overall opinion of the story is middling, I had a hard time putting this book down at night.
I am a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction - Earth Abides, Alas Babylon, A Canticle for Leibowitz, On The Beach, The Stand, The Road, and numerous other examples of this subgenre are displayed proudly on my bookshelf. I'm not concerned as much with the details of whatever disaster befalls the world as I am with how the survivors deal with it, and that's what I get from THE WALKING DEAD. While the story results from a zombie plague, that's not the main attraction, and I'd be perfectly content if we never received an explanation of how it happened. The survivors are what drive this story, constantly struggling, battling hopelessness, gaining and losing friends, and not knowing if they'll see the following day. When they finally realize their place in this transformed world, it's a bigger chill than any flesh-eating, walking corpse can provide.
Even with all those positives, I can't say that I completely enjoyed the story. The earliest chapters, where Rick slowly comes to the realization of what has happened, and his first encounters with survivors, are exceptional. The isolation and despair are palpable, and these chapters stand out for their realistic tone - in fact, I feel that the most effective chapters are the ones where the least happens. However, once the town of Woodbury and "The Governor" enter the picture, it began to read like Garth Ennis took over as writer. I don't doubt that humanity could sink to some frightening depths in a disaster such as this, but some of the later chapters were so over-the-top that they seemed like simple shock value.
Tony Moore provides art for the first 6 chapters, with Charlie Adlard taking over for the remainder of this collection. Both artists do great work on this series, with their own particular strengths. Moore's facial expressions speak volumes, and Adlard's work is grim & gritty. Both of these guys can draw some horrifying scenes of death and destruction.
So, this compendium is your perfect chance to experience THE WALKING DEAD for the first time, as it gives you a good-sized chunk of the story under one cover, rather than having to buy multiple trades. Come witness the end of the world... and the beginning of a new one.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2012
For a fan of the show for the last three seasons, I have to say reading this book so far has been a treat. I purchased the first three "Volumes" of the Walking Dead series at a garage sale a while back for just $1 each. They sit in my closet for at least a year, but the third season of the show has rejuvenated my interest in the franchise more than it ever was. I read the three volumes in three days (one book a day) and decided to purchase the compendium.
The compendium is a fantastic deal, unlike any other you're going to find. For the $35 you're going to get the first EIGHT volumes of the series. For me, I already had the first 3 volumes as stand alone books, but it was cheaper to buy the compendium than to buy the additional 5 books separately!
The compendium is nice because it' separated into volumes by means of "chapters". Meaning chapter 1 is the equivalent to the first volume.
If you're reading this because you're a fan of the show and are looking to start reading the comics, there is no better place to start than with this compendium, and once you're finished with this you can go onto the second compendium and be caught up for the most part with the entire comic series.
The book is beautifully illustrated with a storyline completely different from the TV show, so no spoilers included here! There are only a few characters that are the same between both the show and the books, those characters being the main characters in the series, though even Daryl was a product of the show and not in the books!
There's so much world of the Walking Dead to explore that this book is an excellent source to help wait out the week between new episodes of the series!
I do not recommend this book for children. I say this not because of the blood and gore, but because of the sexual themes and contexts.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2013
As a person that loves the show and hasn't heard that much about the graphic novels, plot wise that is, I thought, "How different can it be?" Well... the answer is WAY different and WAY better. The characters are the same (but no Daryl, bummer), and there are some similarities to the show obviously, but the overall tone and circumstances are drasically more obscene and hardcore. It was a great read, making one think about human nature, morality, society and the decisions one has to make to live in a world that's full of the dead. I would recommend this until I'm Walking Dead.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
Before I get to the actual review, I should note that I was a comic book collector in the early '90's, but had not bought any form of comics until Borders was having it's going out of business sales, when I picked up the first (shorter) collection of The Walking Dead. From there, I moved to the television show. Suitably drawn in by the show and the tease of the first collection (which makes up part 1 of this compendium), I chose to invest in both of the Compendiums. So bear in mind that I am not a habitual comic book reader, but once was.
I want to remain spoiler free, so I will limit discussion of plot to say that fans of the television show have not had the plot of the book totally spoiled and vice versa. There's a good amount of difference - you will find familiar characters and plot threads, but it's always different enough that you will not be totally clued in if you are new to one but well versed in the other. The story never slows down - there is a formulaic repetition, but there's always a bit of a variation: it boils down to drama plus a few zombies, drama plus a few zombies, drama plus a few zombies, LOTS OF ZOMBIES, group picks up the pieces, repeat.
The art is black and white and quite graphic at times. The art is also not over-stylized and has a very real, dirty feel to it; the artists would have the reader looking through dirty, blood-splattered glasses if they could.
The compendium weighs as much as a brick and is about as thick as two, but it's easy to tear through the whole thing quickly because the plot moves. The presentation of such a thick volume is also very well done and high quality; the paper stock Image chose is perfect for the job, as it is slightly glossy, but does not easily get smudged with fingerprints.
Overall, as a fan of the television show but not a habitual comic book reader, this was a good investment to burn through and get deeper into the characters and the series as a whole.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Walking Dead Compendium, Volume One (Graphic Novel)
Robert Kirkman (Author)
Charlie Adlard (Illustrator)
Cliff Rathburn (Illustrator)
Tony Moore (Illustrator)
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication date: 5/6/2009
I've reviewed my fair share of post-apocalyptic and zombie novels over the years (i.e. Patrick Cronin's The Passage, Mira Grant's Feed, Z.A. Recht's Plague of the Dead and Thunder and Ashes, to name but a few.) The reason for this is because I believe the two compliment each other in many ways and, being devoted to both, I just can't seem to get enough of either. It should come as no surprise then that I'm a fervent fan of the AMC TV series The Walking Dead. This particular review will contain elements of both the Graphic Novel and the AMC TV series but primarily focuses on the graphic novel and why I think it's better than the TV show, although the show gets a few well-deserved compliments, as well.
The Graphic Novel
1) The zombies in the graphic novel are infinitely more frightening to me than those in the TV show. And, not for the reasons you might think. The TV series depicts the zombies in all their gruesome glory and they are disgusting and hyper-ugly (and totally freakin' awesome, BTW) but the illustrations in the graphic novels treat the zombies in a way the TV show can't. The graphic novel artists have created zombies that somehow seem slightly more human than zombie and there is an emotional severing that takes place when they are destroyed. And that freaks. the. daylights. out of me. The zombies on TV, on the other hand, are obviously monsters that have lost all humanity and putting a bullet (or any other metal object) into their heads feels justified and necessary, like putting down a rabid animal before it hurts someone. [The only real exception to this idea was the deeply emotional demise of a zombiefied Sophia a few episodes ago.] The artwork in the graphic novel is compelling and poignant and makes zombie killing feel more like murder than an act of mercy or compassion. It's not just a chore that needs to be done and there is a perceived sympathy depicted in the body language and facial expressions of the characters after each zombie slaying. (All bets are off during a zombie mob attack, though.) You'll see that the dichotomy of these opinions and feelings mirror those of two main characters; Herschel, who saw the zombies as people who might eventually be cured, and Rick, who knows better.
2) The deaths of a few of the main characters in the graphic novel feel more logical and better spaced than in the TV series. In one case it took much too long for a certain character to be red-shirted. Now, this might simply be a matter of having read the book first and may be influenced by the events of the graphic novel but I feel the TV show might have flowed better had they followed similar arcs. But again, that's clearly only my opinion.
NOTE: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT AHEAD - If you have not had a chance to view the second to last episode of Season 2 "Better Angels" (Air Date 3/11/12) please read no further. A major spoiler will be revealed in 10, 9, 8... Last chance... 7, 6, 5... Turn back now... 4, 3, 2... You've been warned.
3) The front cover of Compendium One is a brilliant and a significant depiction of the entire essence of the story. If you look closely enough you'll see mirror images of the same people both as humans (on the top) and as zombies (beneath.) So, this tells me that either everyone in the story becomes a zombie at some point or... everyone in the story is already infected and doomed to become a zombie when they die. With Shane dying at Rick's hands and then coming back as a zombie without being bit it's a sure sign that everyone will soon find out that they carry the strain of the plague within them that will, after their death, turn them into zombies.
4) What the graphic novel does with dialogue is very clever. It's short and concise and there are no wasted words. I suspect that's because saving space in comics is key. There are many long scenes in the TV show where extended dialogue has to take place to tell the back story or to set up future events but the graphic novel does this with much less dialogue (thus the hefty 1088 pages and more art.) Chalk it up to the skills of the writer and illustrators for telling the story better through the use of more illustrated panels than wasted dialogue.
Now that I've discussed why the graphic novel is better here are a few elements where I think the TV show surpasses the graphic novel.
The AMC TV Series
1) The TV show has a nice flowing storyline with somewhat long, easy to follow scenes while the graphic novel jumps from perspectives and story-lines rather quickly, sometimes within a page or two. If you're not paying attention it can trip you up a little and get confusing.
2) The make-up and special effects in the TV show are excellent and many of the zombies are so gruesome and the zombie killing scenes so gross that the 12 year old boy in me jumps with joy every time a zombie head gets splattered to mush or staved in by an axe. More brains, please...
3) Like the TV series Lost, the creators of The Walking Dead are not afraid to kill off a main character or two just to push the plot along or intensify the suspense elements of the show. For instance, while both Shane and Dale die in the graphic novels they do so under very different circumstances than the TV show. Watching the series then has provided surprise elements that I could not predict and are therefore surprising to me when they happen even though I've read the graphic novels. And, I like surprises.
4) Since the graphic novel is completely rendered in black and white it fails to take advantage of the shock and awe of full-color zombie head shots, dropped body parts, sloughing skin and dangling eyeballs. The TV show capitalizes on this with an occasional scene bursting (bad pun intended) with full-color gore, blood, guts, and, of course, more brains.
The Walking Dead Compendium, Volume One - Graphic Novel - should appeal to zombie lit lovers, Social Science Fiction fans, post-apocalyptic genre readers, drama enthusiasts, those who expect gore galore in their graphic novels, comic book devotees, horror fans, and 12 to 112 year-old boys and girls (but not the squeamish.)
Oh, and, for what it's worth, stay out of the barn and the prison barber shop.
The Walking Dead - Compendium, Volume One - Graphic Novel
5 out of 5 stars
The Walking Dead - AMC TV Series
5 out of 5 Stars
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2014
Ordered for wife as X-mas present as she got me hooked on this stuff! Was very impressed by the sheer weight and content of the book, but was disappointed to see some damage from about pages 15-20, as if the book had hit something or been hit. One of the pages was torn as well. It wasn't wrapped, just set in the box and surrounded by the big air wraps. This would have been fine for shipping. I noted the box was undamaged and started the return process. The book is a great deal, but even if it's only $1 I expect it to be mint when delivered.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
I was never interested in this series,although I do love comics. It just seemed to me that zombie stories have been done so many times I didn't see how this could be much different. How wrong I was... It's not the zombies that kept me reading, but the excellent character development, plot pacing, and sincerely portrayed human emotion that bring this story to life. I literally couldn't put this book down. I was late to hang out with my friends and almost didn't finish my homework because I couldn't stop reading! However, if it wasn't for the AMC series I would not have been interested in the comics. But I do have to say, even when it comes to comics, the book is always better than the movie/TV show.
For a very brief compare and contrast between the show and the comics I will only say that character development can still happen without the plot slowing to a crawl. No matter what anyone says, the show severely suffered from this (season 2 -->FARM!), whereas the comic keeps this unrelenting pace up with relatively few breaks with intense action/drama, followed with enough time spent on the characters in their down time to reflect on what happened and then we as readers watch their changes. I actually found myself sad when another character was killed off, even if they were minor (except for a scant few, ha, but no spoilers here). They, in my opinion, were written that well. I don't have A.D.D. and I don't enjoy a show that needs gimmicks like constant violence to keep me watching. However this comic series has a great blend of both action and character development to stay fresh.
Simply put, if you want to enjoy more of The Walking Dead characters and you haven't give these books a chance (like I did), you can't go wrong with this compendium. Just remember that this read is not for the faint of heart! It gets extremely graphic, much more than the show does. Not for what happens to the zombies, but for what happens to human characters. This is definitely not for kids. Bearing that in mind I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2010
This is the BEST series I've read in a VERY long time. I waited a long time to pick this series up because the idea of a monthly "zombie" book didn't appeal to me very much. Plus, it was black and white and I didn't see what the big deal would be. But, after several people recommended it heavily and told me to give it a try, I finally started to come around. Then I started seeing the whispers of this being converted into a television show on AMC (slated for Fall of 2010) and would be directed/produced by one of my favorite directors, Frank Darabont. I couldn't very well refuse to give it a try if Mr. Darabont himself was going to be involved in a series. So I picked up the compendium and started in. It is immediately addictive! Kirkman's writing is so conversational, its easy to skip right over the artwork and that would be a mistake! The artwork is great! The artist(s) changed between some of the chapters but the feel of the book remains constant throughout and the artwork gets even better as the book goes along! Its as if the team gets into the groove and create seamless scenes and dialogue spots and action points without ever looking disconnected. That's difficult to do without color!
The greatest thing about this series (not just this one compendium) is that its ongoing. It doesn't just show you a slice of life in the middle of a zombie apocalypse as so many movies have done in years past. Instead, this shows us what we would probably do if it really happened! The human interactions are the best and there are so many emotional moments that the book becomes hard to read at times. There is attachment to these characters and their quest for survival.
Hats off to Kirkman, Adlard, Moore, Rathburn and Wooton. These guys have put together an AMAZING, heartfelt, emotional, gory, disgusting series and I can't wait for more (and I can't wait for the television series!!)!!