Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: N/A
Written by: Robert Kirkman
Penciled by: Tony Moore
Inked by: Tony Moore
Colored by: N/A
Lettered by: Robert Kirkman
Publisher: Image Comics
Do you like George Romero films?
I must admit that I am a rather large fan of the zombie film genre. I go out of my way to see films released and even other forms of media within the genre. George Romero maker of the â€œholy threeâ€ zombie films: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead, is the man that has defined the genre. His films were not just gory splatterfests. Each work defined the decade it was released. Night was a Cold War parable of seclusion, Dawn spoke of the consumerism of the 70s, and Day was about the military buildup of the 80s. These films were more about the people and Romero’s message; of course they were set against the backdrop of a zombie panic.
Even with Romero’s brilliant films, I have found it quite rare for anything exciting to come from the genre. Most works focus on the gore and severed limbs, and do not realize what made Romero’s work so important, or so brilliant.
Robert Kirkman is an admitted fan of Mr. Romero’s work, and his comic The Walking Dead is utterly brilliant. This isn’t just as a horror comic; it’s a snapshot of how real people would deal with an utterly unreal situation. Through three issues he’s taken the time to introduce a compelling cast of characters, and of course develop his situation, of a world overcome by zombies.
In issue #1, Rick Grimes, a police officer, woke from a coma to find the zombie panic well underway. If this sounds familiar to filmgoers you would be right. The recent hit film 28 Days Later used a similar setup. Kirkman maintains that it’s coincidence, and states that his comic was well into production before the film reached American shores. In any case, from that point on the only similarity between Kirkman’s work and that of Danny Boyle’s film, are the zombies. Kirkman’s scope and setup, thus far, blow away what was done in 28 Days Later, a film that I actually enjoyed quite a bit.
Grimes, over the course of the first two issues, desperately searches for his wife Lori, and his son Carl. They left their small town to head for Atlanta, where Lori’s parents live. Last issue, Rick made it to Atlanta, only to find the city is now completely the province of the walking dead. He was led out of town in a daring rooftop escape by Glenn, and led to a small band’s encampment on the outskirts of the city. Oh, and in a surprising development, he was reunited with his family as the issue closed.
During a very informative interview with Newsarama, Mr. Kirkman commented on Rick finding his family at the close of issue #2, â€œThat’s really when the book starts for me. Everything up to that point was just set up.â€ This book isn’t about the search for Rick’s family, but about their survival in this increasingly dangerous world. Kirkman’s plan for an epic storyline centered on these characters leaves myriad possibilities for the future.
Let’s go camping!
This month, Rick gets acquainted with the various survivors in the encampment, and we get an idea of what day-to-day life is like in this new world. Only two zombies appear in the issue, the central focus is firmly placed on Rick and the various supporting characters. Mr. Kirkman introduces us to a few chinks in the armor of the party, and gives us a hint of where things may go down the line.
Don’t matter if you’re black & white!
Without a doubt, the decision to go with a black and white book was the right move. Zombie horror develops best with a muted gray palette. Night of the Living Dead is one of the scariest movies ever put to film, and it’s helped largely by the use of black and white. Dawn and Day are superior films, in my opinion, but the more colorful films are far less scary then the original.
Tony Moore’s artwork perfectly captures the world that Robert Kirkman has put to words. I have heard Mr. Moore’s work compared to that of Steve Dillon (Preacher and Punisher) and it is a very apt comparison. His work is realistic, but also captures the slightly larger than life heroism of the lead. The zombies are grisly without over indulgent gore. The work of Kirkman and Moore works in perfect concert to bring this book life. The artwork is just another reason why The Walking Dead is becoming one of the preeminent comics on the shelves today.
After three issues, The Walking Dead has already moved into my top five titles. If the quality of the work continues at this level, it will soon be my favorite comic! For those that worry about this being an Image comic, Kirkman has promised to keep it on time and produce 12 books a year. A trade paperback that would collect the first six issues is tentatively due out in April. This will allow those that missed the early issues to catch up in one fell swoop. Don’t wait for it though, go out and grab the comics now!
One final pointâ€¦
I realize this review is a bit long, but I can’t help but talk about this wonderful book. The Walking Dead is a zombie lovers dream, but it also has everything that any comic fan could want. Great characters, high action, interesting settings, an epic scope, and fantastic art, what more is there? Kirkman and Moore are creating a classic, and it’s only just begun. This comic gets my highest recommendation!