Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Graphic Novel/Horror
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: July 2006
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Walking Dead HC releases
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I love graphic novels and zombies and have been wanting to read this graphic novel series for a while now. This volume 1 Hardcover edition is a compilation of the first two trade paperbacks in the series, Days Gone By and Miles Behind Us. While I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped it was still an engaging read. It’s more of a drama read than a zombie read. I guess I was really excited to read it and really expecting something special, so I feel a bit let down.
Rick Grimes, a small town cop, is in a coma from a gunshot wound. When he finally wakes up things are changed. The hospital is abandoned, the cafeteria is full of vicious dead things that used to be people. The worst is that his family is gone; he assumes they went to Seattle so he sets off to find them and try to figure out what’s going on.
The illustration is very well done. I enjoyed the illustrator for Days Gone By more than for the second book, Miles Behind. Mainly because it was more detailed artwork. The whole book is in black and white. It’s easy to tell what is going on in the illustration and easy to read facial expressions and things like that.
I absolutely loved the first book, Days Gone By. Rick is an engaging character and him meeting up with his family is wonderfully done. He’s a natural born leader who is doing his best to survive and find his family. It’s when he meets up with the other small group of survivors that things get a bit well, I don’t know…I guess just so typical.
These are very typical zombies of the shambling and flesh eating sort. When they bite you, you get sick and turn into a zombie after a few days time. Pretty normal zombie stuff. In this hardcover edition there isn’t any speculation yet as to what caused the outbreak or what happened. The survivors Rick runs into are sitting outside of Seattle waiting for the government to come help them…this seemed a bit naive to me. I mean if whole cities are overrun, why would the government be available to rescue civilians? And would you want them to, giving that means lots of stressed people crammed into some government facility? Anyway, I guess I have read too many zombie books.
The second book, Miles Behind, was way more drama than the first book. This one starts dealing with whom among the survivors is sleeping with who, who dislikes who, etc. etc. It gets very soap opera like with occasional zombie attacks sprinkled throughout. I get exasperated with people that do stupid things and make their situation worse. I mean really would you sleep with some guy after being away from your husband for a week because you think he is dead? Wow, that is some strength there, must have been a really solid marriage. The survivors attack each other, making things even worse. I understand these people are stressed, but why be so stupid and make things so much worse?
Eventually they end up at a farm with a guy who’s locked up zombies to cure them later. Yeah, okay totally read that scenario before a number of times…we all know how that ends up.
So while I enjoyed the detailed illustration and found the first part of this book very engaging, I started to get a bit annoyed at the second half of the book. Having these people surviving the zombie apocalypse isn’t enough, they also have to do a lot of really stupid things that make the situation worse. Towards the end I just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes every time yet another crazy thing happened that made their lives worse; especially since many times these things happened from the people just not thinking.
Let’s take a quick diversion to talk about the mess that is Rick’s wife Lori. Wow do I hate her. She has got to be the most incompetent woman on the planet. Why did Rick marry her? She is whiny, unfaithful, and can’t even raise a gun to protect her son from being eaten by zombies. Ugh, I disliked her. She doesn’t want Rick to take risks to help them survive, but also won’t take risks herself. She doesn’t want her son Carl to learn to protect himself because he is too young…seriously?! Many of the women characters in this book leave a lot to be desired.
As with many zombie stories you just know things aren’t going to end well. By the end of this book the level of stupidity coupled with all the bad things going on was just annoying and depressing. I didn’t expect this to be an uplifting read, but I did expect it to be a creative read that wasn’t just soap opera plus zombies.
Reading what I wrote above I don’t sound very positive about this book. I did enjoy the first book and I think it was well done. I did not enjoy how the second book turned into a soap opera with intermittent zombie attacks. Right now I am kind of on the fence about whether or not I will keep reading this series. So some feedback from people who are further into it would be nice. Does it get better? It is all just people making stupid mistakes and having increasingly horrible things happen to them to rachet up the drama? Do we actually get to a back story about why all of this is going on? Or is it just more of people being mean to each other, sleeping with each other, and dying?