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The Walking Dead, Vol. 4: The Heart's Desire
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
So far, I've loved and obsessed over Kirkman's The Walking Dead series and the previous three collected volumes have not disappointed me at any level. This fourth voulme collects issues 19 through 24 and is appropriately titled The Heart's Desire. We pick up from the cliffhanger that ended the third volume (Safety Behind Bars) as Dexter gives Rick and his group a choice that bodes nothing but death either way he chooses: stay and be shot or leave and take their chances with the zombies outside the fences.

The book starts things off with a bang as Rick realizes that Dexter's success in getting guns of his own has let loose a bigger set of problems as zombies from a locked wing of the prison was accidentally let out. What happens next as Rick's group and Dexter's group fight to stay alive shows a new side to Rick that surprised me alot. It puts a new wrinkle on Rick's rule of "you kill, you die" and will have long-reaching ramifications deeper in the story. It is also in this heart-pounding sequence that a new face is added to the mix in the form of a female survivor whose mode of survival, to say the very least, is interesting.

The rest of the book really deals less with the zombies but the emotional consequences of many of the characters' actions from the very start of the series all the way to point of this volume. I can fully understand the disappoint many fans have with the direction the series took with all the drama and sopa opera kind of twists nd turns of the heart, but I think people fail to realize that Kirkman is writing about the human condition rather than just about zombies. Sure I got abit impatient with all the emotional crisis and the meltdowns by almost everyone involved, but I can also understand why they've been acting the way they have. I think if Kirkman had written abit more of zombies and death in this part of the series people wouldn't be complaining much.

Kirkman himself has already admitted that zombies wasn't what the story was all about, but just a part of it. With the group in relatively safety within the secured fences of the prison and some sort of artificial normalcy starting to come back to the group he needed a way to continue the conflicts that make for good drama. What else but let the pent-up emotional baggage everyone has been carrying since issue 1 to finally come to boil. Part of me didn't fully enjoy this new arc in the series, but not enough to be disappointed with the end result. Hell, even all the drama Kirkman still came up with one of the best fight scenes in the series a la Carpenter's They Live and South Park's "Cripple Fight" episode.

The Heart's Desire is not as great as the previous three collected volumes in the series, but it still told a great story though with abit more drama than most fans of the book were willing to take. I myself enjoyed the book enough that it wasn't a waste and I was abit surprised and shocked at the observation Rick finally made and shared with everyone at the end of the volume. I know that after all the emotional trials and tribulations everyone in the series went through in The Heart's Desire and how the arc ended there's nothing left but up for the series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
The Hearts Desire is the fourth volume of Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead franchise. He teases the reader just a bit in the beginning after leaving you hanging at the end of Safety Behind Bars. The opening scene introduces a new and mysterious woman named Michonne.

This installment picks up the snow globe that is the world of our survivors and shakes it really good. It seems everybody gets their own scene in this one which is nice because it extends the depth of attachment the reader feels towards the characters. Of course you know Kirkman is only doing that so he can hurt you later.

The strain of the situation is beginning to take its toll on the survivors here, even with--or perhaps because of--marginally better living conditions, the survivors begin to show some very pre-apocalypse proclivities. Racism and infidelity pop up exemplifying that we are often our own worst enemy.

There is a very edgy quality to this volume that has the reader waiting for the pot to boil over. Kirkman does not disappoint. The two biggest bulls in the field eventually lock horns, both claiming some tenuous perch on righteousness. While this is not a case of "Team Edward" and "Team Jacob", other people I know who have read this are split on the support of Rick versus Tyreese. Honestly, I'd never considered the possibility--for the record, I took Rick's side.
Like any good zombie story with depth, the zombies have taken a background role in the story by now. This is really about the human condition. Occasionally a zombie pops up to be dealt with, but unlike the start of the story when they are the focus, they've become wallpaper.

The Heart's Desire ends a bit differently from previous installments. There isn't really some cliffhanging dilemma or anything of that nature. Instead, there is a bit of a speech that concludes with a moral declaration. This is one of those episodes where you serve yourself well by reading slowly and then reading it again. There is a lot going on here.

The beauty in the ending is that the reader haws absolutely no idea what to expect in Volume five. Can this group survive without a true tender? Where is the line between good and evil? Are these people gonna go crazy and kill each off? This is the "deepest" volume thus far and it throws a bit of mud on the romanticized sheen that we zombie fans tend to put on the idea of a zombie apocalypse. However, this is the story that makes me proud to be a fan.
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25 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Life has become routine within the prison complex that Rick Grimes and company call home. Crops are being planted, new clothes made, and so on. Of course, in the world of "The Walking Dead," routine is anything but. Now that the zombies are (mostly) at bay, relational tensions are boiling over. A fresh arrival brings her own wackiness to the already dysfunctional mix, and you never know who will end up dead (or at least pissed off and alienated).

I'm a little underwhelmed by this, the fourth collection of the ongoing comic book series. One of the AICN comic pundits expressed dismay that "The Walking Dead" was becoming a soap opera. I guess I have to agree with that. Frankly, I wonder how far this story arc can go? I further echo the AICN writer's sentiment that something needs to happen soon. Now's probably the time to bring in some government action, or pull a "Land of the Dead" move and evolve the zombies' behavior. Whatever occurs, I think I've seen enough of Rick freaking out and yelling his head off every couple of pages. And overall, things are getting a bit too depressing. I don't expect everything to come up roses, but there's a bit too much hate and discontent going on. Maybe they should've picked a Club Med to hole up in.

One story angle that bugged me was the inclusion of yet another bad-arse woman with a katana. "Y: The Last Man" pulled that stunt as well, joining the ranks of "Sin City" and the "Kill Bill" movies. Enough with the Japanese-inspired ninja women already! Why can't a mysterious female stranger show up wielding a Chinese Tai Chi sword, or an English Morning Star? I'm glad the tough-gal zombie fighter in "Shaun of the Dead" had the originality to use a golf club as her weapon of choice.

At any rate, despite my complaints I still recommend "The Walking Dead." Maybe this arc is the calm before the storm. I'm hoping it's a setup for the greatness I've come to expect from Mr. Kirkman & company.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
The best part of this volume is the introduction of Michonne!

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS***

So this novel opens and introduces us to the sword wielding character known as Michonne. She is one of my favorite characters of the entire series. The zombies over run the prison the survivors and the prisoners are forced to join forces in order to fight them off. Rick realizes that even though they worked together that this will change nothing and Dexter will still try to kick them out of the prison when this is done, so he puts a bullet in his skull, killing him and ending the prisoner insurrection. Andrew is then terrified and he flees the prison. This is the first character that I know of that just ran off and we never found out what exactly happened to him. Some people say he is dead but we don't know, we never saw him die or any zombie that looked like him.

Michonne approaches the prison and Otis is in danger so she slices and dices her way through the zombies and keeps him safe. She is then admitted to the prison and Rick allows her to stay with them. The prison is re-secured and they are once again safe. Axel is the only prisoner who remains and he is allowed to stay because he sided with the survivors when Dexter had his little rebellion.

While cleaning out the rest of the prison, Allen is unfortunately bitten and Rick is forced to chop his leg off in an attempt to save him.

Later Michonne and Tyreese end up screwing around while his girlfriend is watching from afar and she breaks up with him later. Carol ends up slitting her wrists in an attempt to kill herself but she doesn't cut deep enough so she will live. However this causes Rick to go ballistic on Tyreese for what he did with Michonne. He caused her to try to kill herself and they accuse each other of killing people and the beat the living daylights out of each other.

The volume wraps up with Rick being told he is no longer their leader and that there will now be a council that makes decisions together but Rick will be on that committee along with Dale, Hershel and Tyreese. Rick then goes out and makes a big speech to everyone and tells them, "We are the Walking Dead."

***END SPOILERS*** ***END SPOILERS*** ***END SPOILERS***

I loved this volume! It introduced Michonne, a very strong black woman who is able to defend herself, is intelligent and is able to hold her own. It is not often that we get a character like that and it's a nice change of pace. Also the other characters develop very nicely and the dynamic of the group changes a little and the prison is a little more secure.

This volume was awesome and you gotta pick this up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
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.

"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.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Like many readers, I've been an on again/off again comicbook fan for many years... In the last couple of years (since the year 2000) I've returned to the fold, this time taking advantage of the many top-quality graphic novels out there, and Robert Kirkman's "Walking Dead" was one of the titles most frequently recommended to me since I started this reading spree. It lives up to the hype.

I just finished reading books 1-4, which collect the first twenty-four issues of the comic, and man, I can't wait for book #5 to come out. The series tells the story of a guy named Rick, a small-town cop and self-described Barney Fife who wakes up from a hospital stay to find the world changed around him -- it's zombie time, but zombie time with twist. The twist is that, unlike all the movies and TV shows we've all seen, "The Walking Dead" has a much longer, open-ended story arc -- Kirkman and co. don't have to wrap things up in a tidy, two-hour package, so there is space for the story to unfold at its own pace, with character development that's more prolonged and in-depth than the usual zombie flick allows. By the end of Book 4, the crisis has lasted about a year and Rick and his band of survivors are about twelve strong, having lost about an equal number of family and friends over the course of the story. It's a taut, grim, reflective plot line that keeps your interest and compels you to read. I, for one, hope this isn't just another one of those neat B&W comix that kind of fizzle out, but rather that Kirkman really gets the chance to do what he says he wants to do, and follow Rick's saga as far as he can. Anyway, I'm hooked. As long as he keeps writing this series, I'll be first in line to buy it. [copyright joesixpack @ slipcue.com ]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've watched and read an unreal amount of zombie movies, comic books and stories and Robert Kirkman has one-upped them all! An amazing tale of survival and chaos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The ratio of soap opera to gutmunching is out of whack in this, the weakest of the four volumes of "Dead" that I've read. The emphasis is more on sentimental goo than zombie gore as the survivors of the apocalypse explore their prison refuge and each other. The cheezy melodrama gets thick when alpha males Rick and Tyreese have their duke-it-out confrontation, and Rick's self-important, neverending climactic speech gets downright ridiculous. But it's inevitable that sooner or later, someone's gonna leave a door or a gate open and let in some hungry zombies. Here's hoping the next volume will be less jawin and more chawin.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
... and hopelessness. Kirkman and crew have done a great job of showing us the difficult parts of humanity we might not otherwise want or need to understand. I believe zombie story lovers don't relish in the gore, but in the struggle. Overwhealming odds, the world out to get you, you don't understand a thing, zombies endlessly crawling overthemselves to get at you. It's more like real life. The Walking Dead is a masterpiece of humanity.
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on November 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
So I’m up to vol 4 of THE WALKING DEAD, “The Heart’s Desire”, which covers issues 19-24 of the monthly series, and my initial reaction to the volume as a whole is, meh. I have to say, this is not the introduction to this world that’s going to hook anyone. In fact, if I didn’t have so many seasons of the TV show under my belt already and wasn’t so curious about the original way so many things that have still yet to happen played out, I can’t say I’d be chomping at the bit to read on. For six issues, that’s half a friggin’ year in comic book terms, wow, this was pretty dull.

Okay, not DULL. I mean, a lot happened. There was a shootout, there was one character getting bitten and his leg being amputated (it wasn’t Hershell, fans of the TV show), there was a HUGE fight between Rick and Tyrese. There was sex, there was a breakup, and a heart to heart between a father and his daughter. But still, man, not a lot happened here. For me, the bulk of “The Heart’s Desire” was made up of a lot of soap opera drama and too little of what I’ve come to enjoy about this comic book series. Hell, we get a whole two pages of Andrea handing out new prison jumpsuits to everyone and announcing she’s a seamstress so if anyone has any requests, she’ll try to accommodate. Really? I paid money for this?

Kirkman isn’t slipping, that’s not what I’m trying to say. His dialogue is still pretty tight--for the most part, and he knows when to bring in “the man with the gun” to his flagging plots, but still, maybe there shouldn’t have been so many instances of the plot flagging during the course of these six issues.

We see the introduction of Michonne in this issue, which was one of the moments I was waiting for. Not because of any great love for the character, I was just curious to see how it differed from the material I was familiar with (a LOT). We also see the near-death of another as well as a few of the side characters being dropped off. The cast still feels a little bigger than I’m comfortable with, especially considering Charlie Adlard’s art still doesn’t make a few of them easy to tell apart. For example, unless there’s a tag in dialogue, I can easily get Rick mixed up with Hersell or even Otis at times.

But the panel layout and composition is still evolving and I think this book is Adlard’s best so far in terms of storytelling. “They” say any good art should stand on its own and a good comic book artist should be able to tell a story with no words in the panels. I think Adlard definitely reached that level with this book.

It’s too bad so many issues had to be spent with nothing more than character development with little progress in the story, but hopefully the next volume will get back to moving the story along. I’m still enjoying the series, definitely, but so far this one just didn’t excite me like the first three did.

Previously on THE WALKING DEAD:
THE WALKING DEAD 1: Days Gone Bye: http://www.amazon.com/review/R4Z32IVDKWWAV
THE WALKING DEAD 2: Miles Behind Us: http://www.amazon.com/review/R24YVRYY5BXV3Q
THE WALKING DEAD 3: Safety Behind Bars:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1V8VJKC10O96R
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