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Customer Review

252 of 287 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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Showing 11-20 of 23 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2011 7:56:10 PM PST
Babytoxie says:
Well-said, Jim. There's no way I could have made a clear explanation of all of that, as I am also confused, so thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2011 6:12:18 AM PDT
Mary Collins says:
Good explanation except I believe you meant to say the Hardcover books have 12 issues. Wikipedia has a good breakdown of this. I have Compendium 1 (48 issues), one hardcover book (12 issues) and one volume (6 issues). Aesthetically, the hardcover is probably the nicest package, nice glossy slightly larger pages and it contains all the coverart.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2011 9:39:49 AM PDT
Hi Mary. You are absolutely correct! Typo on my part. BTW I agree that the hardcover is the nicest of all of these, though I purchased only the compendium as I wanted it only to read - not for a collection. Compendium is the best bet, IMO, price-wise and if someone is looking just to read it. Otherwise for a collection, well, start making withdrawals from the savings account, selling pets, and pawning the good China! ;)

Thanks!

Jim

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2011 10:44:12 PM PDT
W. Pittman says:
I view the Governor story arc a little differently in the context of the larger story. The main characters had gotten pretty safe inside the prison and their group had become pretty big. The governor story helped thin the herd a little so they could introduce new characters and get the story "on the road" again where danger is once again a constant companion.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2011 11:14:34 AM PST
C. Jackson says:
I agree. I personally thought it was well done. Did well in highlighting the possible deception of a dictator to get whatever they want. I figured they'd need to move on sooner or later, somehow. I thought the Woodbury bit fit the bill well, and that Governor specifically was one sick uncle.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2012 9:35:26 AM PDT
M. Scherrer says:
I totally agree with your review.. I feel the same way :/ (i just finished the Compendium)

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 1:16:31 PM PST
Paul Chiu says:
Wonderful review. Very helpful, especially as there are so many different "editions" of these comics available. Just one follow-up question. Are you able to see all of the comic panels easily? Oftentimes with a collection this large, it is physically difficult to see some of the panels/pages when you get to the middle of the book (I believe the Bone One Volume Edition was like this). Because there are so many pages, you cannot fold the book flat to read everything. Is this the case with this gargantuan edition?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2012 6:46:21 PM PST
Babytoxie says:
Thanks! I had no problems with seeing the text balloons and such. The spine is very durable, so even when I opened the book a bit wider that what I'd normally be comfortable with, it held up just fine, enabling me to see everything.

Posted on Nov 20, 2013 9:00:11 AM PST
Mikey B says:
Thanks for that list of books you posted: Earth Abides, Alas Babylon, A Canticle for Leibowitz, On The Beach, The Stand, The Road. Do you have any other post-apocalyptic recommendations?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2013 8:34:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2013 9:17:05 PM PST
Babytoxie says:
You bet! The Postman, Riddley Walker, Galapagos, Day of The Triffids... I'll post more as I think of them.

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