Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1 Review

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1
Image Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
1088 pages
ISBN 9781607060765

Contributors: Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, and Cliff Rathburn

Reprints: The Walking Dead #1-48 plus story from Image Comics Holiday Special 2005

Synopsis: Rick Grimes is a small-town Kentucky police officer who receives a gunshot wound in the line of duty and falls into a coma.  Awakening in the hospital with no staff or attendants present he stumbles upon a world filled with the walking dead.  While Rick was unconscious an epidemic of zombies has broken out leaving him to pick up the pieces of his former life. 

His first order of business is to track down his wife and son while avoiding the constant danger of the undead.  Rick soon discovers the old laws and structure of society have broken down in light of the zombie crisis and survival of his loved ones is paramount even to the lives of others.  The slow realization dawns that the undead are not the most dangerous threat in this new world order.  Death is hidden behind every corner and the ones left alive are the true walking dead.

Pros: Bad-@$$ f*%king post-apocalyptic zombie story, great characterization, comprehensive volume encompassing first 8 trade paperbacks, cover is resilient (it's black and didn't pick up much wear through my reading), paper quality is high

Cons: Book is heavy and difficult to read comfortably in any other position besides sitting up (good paper quality makes it heavier), easy to ding a corner due to weight/size of book (once ding/damage happens it tends to get worse due to size/handling), spine cracking is a major issue as with any of these paperback compendiums - my copy came with an almost imperceptible wrinkle in the middle of the spine and experience has taught me this means a proclivity toward potential spine cracking straight down the middle - the solution was to firmly grasp the book's spine in one hand while reading (although my hand got tired), story can drag on during the downtime between zombie/human massacres

Mike Tells It Straight: This is the way to read The Walking Dead.  This series is a major page-turner and you get an amazing story for your dollar.  I found myself reading into the wee hours of the morning many a night before finishing this serious tome.  Art is solid and the contrast between original Tony Moore chapter and remaining Charlie Adlard work is huge.  I prefer Adlard's work due to the stark shading and realism instead of Moore's highly stylized work (could be because Adlard's chapters are the majority of the book).  Only drawback is the sheer size of the volume and the fact it's a paperback.  It's not the most comfortable read and is highly susceptible to spine splitting (my The Darkness Compendium Vol. 1 suffered this affliction).  Overall I highly recommend this book due to the compelling characters and story.  Let's face it, zombie stories have been done to death, but Kirkman's TWD shines with drama and characterization.  Jean-Paul Sartre said it best and TWD exemplifies it: "Hell is other people."  Well, other people and zombies.

TO BUY and Recommendations: