I love The Walking Dead. I love the show and the Telltale games for XBLA. So it was only natural that I picked up the comics eventually. I planned to buy the huge compendium but I stuck with the first volume, Days Gone Bye, to see if I liked it. I freakin’ loved it. Here’s my review (with some mentions/comparisons to the show and perhaps some minor spoilers!)
It’s worth mentioning that there are quite a lot of differences to the show. Characters that live for seasons in the show are killed in the first 6 issues. A lot of characters look similar to their television counterparts but some don’t, the protagonist Rick Grimes being one.
Because I watched the show first, I can’t help but read these characters in their TV voices. Another thing with watching the TV show first is that I miss some of the show-specific characters like Daryl. The comic does introduce new and interesting characters that were dropped for the show however, such as meddling housewife Donna, her husband Allen and their twin sons.
The comic begins with Rick Grimes, a small time Kentucky police officer, getting shot and subsequently waking up in hospital. One thing you’ll notice pretty quickly into the comic is that it moves at a fast pace. And we see this world, along with Rick, for the first time. Things that shock Rick may come as a shock to us as well. After waking up and leaving the hospital, Rick finds a zombie that’s been chopped in half (made famous perhaps by the shows trailers as well) but it’s still ‘alive’. He panics and flees to his home, only to find his wife and child gone. The first part of the comic follows Rick meeting new people and attempting to reach Atlanta to find his family. After a series of events he finds them just out-of-town at a campsite, with a whole host of other awesome characters. As well as his old buddy Shane.
The comic then shows us the day-to-day lives of these people living through this apocalypse, for example the women washing the clothes (and arguing why THEY have to do it) and Rick and Shane going hunting. There is an extremely cool part where Glenn and Rick venture into town to get guns. The way they do this is disgusting and funny in quite a dark way. (This part will be instantly familiar to anyone who has seen the episode “Guts”, episode 2 of the first season of the show) I realised after reading this that the show threw in way more subtle references and some exact scenes from the comic than I thought. It’s awesome.
Something I have to stress is how absolutely astounding the artwork is. The black and white might put some people off but he artwork itself (by Tony Moore) is amazing. And I have to say I like the black and white as well, it really gives the comic the overall bleak tone I think Robert Kirkman was really going for.
The rest of the comic has plenty of twists and turns, with characters dying left right and centre (just as I get attached to them!) and it ends on an extremely tense scene; a standoff in the snow between Rick and Shane.
I was only a couple of pages in when I put the comic down, went to my laptop and ordered the first compendium from Amazon. It really is that good and I recommend it as much as I possibly can. Even if you’re just a casual fan of the show (or the games) pick it up. You will not regret it and you’ll be hooked just like I am. It’s a bleak, dramatic, violent and downright amazing comic.