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Braving the zombie-infested highways,
This review is from: The Walking Dead, Vol. 2: Miles Behind Us (Paperback)
The first Walking Dead volume was a sensational debut that introduced us to a world overrun by a strange plague that turned the populace into zombies. A group of survivors in the rural Midwest headed to Atlanta thinking things would be better there only to find out that the city was festering grounds for the undead. The survivors set up a camp on the outside limits of the city, waiting their turn and figuring out that if they were close to a major city then at least once the National Guard came to rescue people they would be seen, being close to a major city and all.
In this second volume, the surviving group, resigned that the national guard might be a pipe dream and that no one is coming to save them, decide to leave the campsite near Atlanta and instead hit the road cross-country in their RV in hopes of finding normal civilization or at least a safe place to shelter and start a new life. About 20 miles outside of Atlanta, they stumble upon an abandoned gated community called the Wiltshire Estates. Thinking they have found safety, they clean up the houses and occupy them. But of course, Wiltshire Estates turns out to not be as abandoned as they thought and the place is crawling with Zombies. How will they survive this turn?
The first thing I noticed when opening this second volume is that while creator Robert Kirkman is always still behind the wheels as the writer, the illustrator has changed this second time around, with Tony Moore replaced by the tandem of Charlie Adlard & cliff Rathburn. While the new tandem have consciously drawn in a similar style than their predecessor for continuity, subtle differences can be noticed. Todd’s strength was painting unsettling images and sweeping full-page apocalyptic landscapes. His pictures were epic, atmospheric and chilling. Adlard&Rathburn for the most part make away with this and draw the comic book in the more linear, square-box style of your typical comic book. While I miss Moore’s work and gory images, I do believe the new illustrators have done a commandable job filling in for him.
The absence of Tony Moore-type gore might not be the illustrators’ faults here, for it looks as though writer/creator Robert Kirkman intentionally was trying to focus more on story and character development this time around. Many new characters are introduced. Lori and Rick and their son Carl’s bond is as strong as ever in the face of adversity. And the rest of the survivors are all trying to be as strong as possible given the circumstances. Interestingly enough the physical pairing and mating of the survivors is becoming a prevalent theme in this novel and Kirkman is not afraid to be demonstrative about it. It amuses me how Kirkman is willing to throw in some nudity or obscene cusswords at the most inadvertent moments. When young Glenn finally meets a woman and the way they are so straightforward about what they’re after had me laughing my heart out as I have trouble picturing any kind of woman being so straightforward with a stranger about sexuality as she was.
The relative absence of gore and zombie action in this second volume did little to deter my interest. Really, a volume like this was necessary in order to get us further acquainted with the numerous characters and get us to feel for them and in doing this Kirkman definitely succeeded. I thoroughly enjoyed Volume 2 of this series and am eagerly awaiting the third volume. This is shaping up to be a truly epic series and I have no doubt that Kirkman will return to the gory stuff in volume 3 “safety behind bars” which will involve the survivors holing up in a fenced prison. Can’t wait!