A. Volk#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on June 15 2012
Without giving away too many spoilers, I'll start by saying that there is not a ton of action in this volume. It is a set up for a new community that Rick's community can choose to interact with. Which is really where the series is ultimately going. I know that a series about zombies might seem like zombies should be the stars, but TWD has done a fantastic job of making the human characters the focus of the story. Really, going back to issue 1, I find that the whole series is about episodes humans trying to cope with each other. These episodes are violently interrupted by the appearance of the undead who often then change the calculus of those human relationships. This volume is about human relationships. Specifically, whether and how Rick's community interacts with other communities of survivors. This volume gives further insight into the characters, particularly Rick. As the group leader, he has to make choices that are as important in revealing who he is as a man as they are for the survival of his community.
I mentioned that I felt the plot was forced in the title of this review. Naturally, I can't post explicit spoilers but I will say that Carl once again seems to be used as an agent for change/getting a message across. It's usually effective, but often seems forced (how many more lessons can the kid who survived a gunshot wound to the head deliver?). The other involves a member of the new community 2/3 of the way through the volume. You certainly won't miss it, and I thought it forced the issue more than it needed to. That said, it's still a solid volume. It is building up to the 100th issue climax that is sure to come.Read more ›
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Becoming repetitive, but still well written.July 19 2012
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Robert Kirkman has found himself in a little bit of a creative loop where Walking Dead is concerned, and while his talent is of such a magnitude that he's producing entertaining stories even when he's repeating himself, I certainly hope he finds some way to break out of it soon. Witness volume 16 of the Walking Dead.
The basic problem with the stories collected here is that, since essentially the end of the prison saga, Kirkman has been writing the same plot over and over. Though thinly disguised with variations, the basic story of the series has been that, Rick and his group meet another group, or find what they believe is a safe haven, go through a period of apparent safety and some security, until eventually forces both within and outside cause the entrire collapse of the community the main characters are trying to build. This usually also results in some personal tragedy or loss for Rick himself. It was fundamentally what the prison plot was all about, the farm plot before that, and it's most definitely the plot of this volume and the two or three immediately preceding it. So Kirkman's in a rinse and repeat mode.
In this volume in particular, Rick's group encounters yet another stranger who promises a community that could potentially provide safe haven, or at the very least, establish some reasonable trade opportunities for obtaining food. Rick's usual suspicious nature leads to some tense moments until a small group venture out to find this large community. Needless to say, things aren't all what they seem, but for the first time in a while, Rick sees a cause for some optimism, and that's where the volume ends. The problem is that there are loads of moments throughout this volume where the reader experiences a sense of deja vu. Conversations seem repeated almost word for word and the situations recall previous encounters Rick's group has gone through. Even the inevitable revelations remind the reader of previous challenges from earlier chapters, and there's a strong sense of having seen or been through all this before.
Initially, Kirkman's real strengths as a writer were his exceptional characterization and his fearlessness. In previous volumes, Kirkman distinguished himself from his generation of writers with his almost unflinching ability to be cruel to the things and creatures he created. This quality made his comics unpredictable and gave his stories an urgency and vitality that many mainstream comics simply can not match. And to a considerable extent, that unpredictability is still very much alive in Kirkman's other genre defining book, Invincible. But it may be that Kirkman has gotten a bit too precious with Rick and his crew, or perhaps has fallen into a bit of a rut, because in addition to repeating basic plot lines, the series has also been striking for its lack of any real sense of peril for Kirkman's four "favorites," namely Rick himself, Michonne, Glenn and Andrea. And while I'm not insisting or even suggesting that Kikrman should kill one of these characters simply for shock value or in a vain attempt to restore a sense of unpredictability to the series, my main point is that some chances could be taken and some opportunities are available that Kirkman may be missing.
For example, I wish the Walking Dead could explore Rick getting separated from the main group for an extended period, or the series could simply follow Rick alone, even without his son for a while. Kirkman has also limited himself dramatically for no good reason by restraining Rick and his group to the continental US. At some point in the future, it might be interesting to have Rick or perhaps even Rick and other characters, make an attempt to reach another countrty in the hope of discovering a place where the plague has not hit. Some issues with Rick and some new characters at sea for example, or confronted with survival challenges that were beyond merely the walkers, could open up some new possibilities for Kirkman which thus far have been foreclosed because of his narrow approach to his theme.
Fundamentally, the Walking Dead has always been a story of survival - what happens to human beings when society literally collapses due to some apocolyptic event. Thus far, Kirkman has done an admirable job of exploring that theme. His problem seems to be at the moment that he's exploring that theme in the same way over and over, almost as if he subsconsciously believes he hasn't quite expressed the idea as fully or with as much impact as he would like. What's amazing about him as a writer is how, even in these circumstances, his stories continue to be compelling and his characters continue to be interesting, flawed and three-dimensional. With Walking Dead, the core concept is so strong that Kirman's ability to entertain never truly disappears, even while it wanes from time to time. Let's hope that Kirkman rediscovers his fearlessness and returns the Walking Dead to the groundbreaking series we all previously loved.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Big SwerveJune 19 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I read WD as TPB only, not issue-by-issue, so my experience with the series is intermittent. Although I do read other comics on a month-by-month basis, not this one. I prefer it in TPB. It's a little present I give myself once every few months. Unlike other comics I read, I can walk away from WD for weeks or months at a time, come back to the series, and never feel like I left it.
The characterization is so solid and well-developed, it is like hanging out with old friends, albeit none of the people in WALKING DEAD are people you'd want to know. I've always thought Kirkman stepped up the zombie genre by making so clear that in a zombie apocalypse, it's the horrible things the survivors do to each other that truly make this genre "horrific".
Now, we're at volume 16. What's astounding about this volume is that yes, it is slow and lacks the action you've seen in other volumes, but what's happening here is a major shift in the direction of the comic. Just as Rick starts seeing things in a bigger picture (i.e., moving from day-to-day to month-to-month), Kirkman too is envisioning a larger picture. This volume is great because he shows Rick moving beyond mere id and ego -- now Rick is superego, threatening to squash other little egos in this world. Finally, Rick is becoming the Governor, and he's wondering how he could do better than his arch-nemesis did. Kirkman, I believe, is going to take us from a play-by-play to something bigger -- the survivors are going to try to build a utopia. How they behave and treat each other will indicate whether it is a utopia, or, as we'll get the point of view of other characters, perhaps a dystopia.
I read these TPBs usually at one go: a solid 30-45 minutes of the best, most consistently entertaining comics of the decade.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
These comics are great!Aug. 21 2013
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We watch the TV show and it's really cool to read the original comics because they have different content and a different presentation (comic vs TV).
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Building up to something big...June 26 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Life continues in the housing community as Rick realizes that he must think bigger and farther into the future. Food is getting scarce and they will run out of ammuniton soon. They will have to come up with alternatives in order to survive.
I can't accurately explain why I only gave this four stars. There are a couple of surprises in the book, but they don't seem as big or shocking as in some of the others. This book felt more like it was building up to something big in the next volume, which is fine.
I still enjoyed the book and as always, the artwork is great. The direction Kirman is taking the story is very appealing to me and it will be interesting to see where it goes. Obviously, not everyone is going to make it so that keeps me on the edge of my seat wondering who will be next.
New characters are introduced which is inevitable. We don't get much about them yet, but hopefully Kirkman continues to develop the characters well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Less compelling and action paoked than previous booksAug. 6 2013
Joseph M. Reninger
- Published on Amazon.com
Rick's new program of distributing the leadership in their community is running okay. Not everyone fully believes in it but they go along anyway. Scavenging is getting harder. Larger groups are going further out to collect supplies but it's been two years in the story since the zombie uprising. Canned goods are running short along with every other necessary thing, like medical supplies and such.
The group soon runs across another lone survivor who is called Jesus. He says he is from a group of two hundred who have set up a trading network among other communities in the DC area. He is their recruiter, bringing new communities into the network. Rick doesn't trust him at all and brings him in secretly (and tied up) to their community. He takes Michonne and some others to scour the area looking for Jesus's buddies, assuming the 200 are going to come and take Rick's people down. Of course, maybe Jesus is telling the truth. Only time and experience will tell.
The central issue here is trust. When should you trust a stranger, especially in the midst of a zombie apocalypse? Does Rick go too far or is he right in his treatment of this new opportunity/threat? At one point, Rick says that he was chosen to lead the group because of the way he sees things. He has an intuition on what's safe or not. It's an interesting speech because it flatly contradicts what he does earlier in the book--he doesn't know if Jesus is for real or not. It makes me wonder if we can trust Rick himself. I guess I'll have to read on to find out.