Customer Review

224 of 252 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great deal, no matter what I think of the story, June 8, 2009
This review is from: The Walking Dead: Compendium One (Paperback)
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.
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 9, 2009 2:47:23 AM PDT
Thanks for the superb review. Ironically, I'll pass on this compendium (works out more expensive in the UK) but I have ordered the books you metion in you review, Earth abides, On the Beach and Canticle...
I think "The Road" will take some beating as I read it regularly but its awesome to come on here and get some PROPER recommendations.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2009 7:09:16 AM PST
Babytoxie says:
Glad I could help, thanks for the positive comments.

Posted on Jun 18, 2010 5:22:53 PM PDT
Jason Bean says:
Excellent review. I agree with you completely on the comic's shift in tone once the Governor and his people entered the picture (as well as the brutal treatment to one of my favorite characters). I don't think it brought down the quality of the book to Garth Ennis standards but it definitly sent the comic in a different direction. I also agree that if you DO like this comic this omnibus is a terrific purchase, especially with the prices you'd have to pay for the first eight volumes individually.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 5:16:38 AM PDT
Babytoxie says:
Thank you. Yes, this book was a superb deal... if it wouldn't have been offered, I likely would never have tried the series. The way that writers drag storylines out these days, one standard trade doesn't give the reader a good idea of what they're in for, but 1000 pages certainly does!

I'd love to see more publishers try this approach. Dark Horse's digest-sized omnibuses are great, and they recently released a 600-page softcover collection of Miller and Gibbons' Martha Washington stories for $30. That's the kind of collection I can get behind.

Posted on Oct 22, 2010 3:52:03 PM PDT
Bouque99 says:
Great review. Your Garth Ennis comment is definitely spot on.

Posted on Nov 2, 2010 8:03:00 PM PDT
Thanks for the great review. I have been looking around just trying to find out the differences between the Compendium, Volumes, Books, Omnibus, etc. Sure is a confusing mess when you first start looking!

Only thing missing from the Hardcover books and the Compendium seems to be the cover art, which is a shame as it's the only real color in the comics.

Thanks again!
Jim

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2010 5:29:24 PM PDT
Babytoxie says:
And thanks to the both of you!

Posted on Dec 10, 2010 5:46:36 PM PST
W. Baker says:
Great review. Based on the titles you mention, I think you'd enjoy Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake as well: Oryx and Crake

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2011 11:43:32 PM PST
S. Ofner says:
I came here because I'm confused too and still confused. I purchased Book One from my local book store as it seemed to be a better deal then purchasing each comic but I don't really understand where book one leaves off and book two begins. And what is Compendium? At the store it was sealed so I could not look at it. How is Compendium different from book 1 or 2. I am about to finish book 1 and need to know what to buy next. Does the compendium 1 have something the other books don't have? Is it just more chapters then book 1? If I buy Compendium 2 will it start where book 1 left off? I am about to place an order from Amazon and any help would be appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2011 11:57:32 PM PST
Here's a short explanation of each of the many versions and what they contain, as best as I can determine:

Volumes: Volumes are Trade Paperbacks with the contents of 6 issues each. Content only; no cover art. Each is 10.1" x 6.6" x 0.4" and has approx. 144 pages.

Books: Hardcover books, trimmed larger than the Paperbacks, with 6 issues each including cover art. Each is 11" x 7.4" x 0.8" and has approx. 300 pages.

Omnibus: Limited editions with 24 actual issues each included in a slipcase. Very sweet and very expensive ---IF you can find them for their retail price. Many sell at collector prices, some for several hundred dollars each. Each is 12.6" x 8.6" x 1.7". 3 isn't available new.

Compendium: These are 48 issue paperback editions. Actually it is one big, giant book that includes all of the first 8 Volume paperbacks together - in a massive, really thick book that could kill your dog if you accidentally dropped it on him or her! 1088 pages!! Each is 10.3" x 6.7" x 1.7".

HTH!

Jim
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