I realize this is the review for Volume Seven of The Walking Dead series; however, can there be anything good coming in volume eight when the title of the seventh chapter is The Calm Before? Robert Kirkman takes an entire chapter to lull his readers into a bit of complacency. Perhaps he is trying to get his readers to experience the idea he is driving home in this volume: sit in safety long enough and you will forget how to protect yourself.
The lack of good times and warm moments seems all the more pronounced by the almost overwhelmingly good feelings provided here by things like a small wedding, and of course, the ultimate antithesis of death: birth. That's not to say there aren't some bad moments. Another chapter falls, one loses a leg. Kirkman has established his mythos by now, A bite like the one that claims 'Roger" in Dawn of the Dead is not a death sentence in Kirkman's world.
As has been the case throughout, the characters in this saga act in very real, very identifiable ways. The insecurities and uncertainties in all of us are manifested by the small band of survivors. Their beauty, and the power of this series comes from their `realness'. The Calm Before exposes the frailties more definitely and does an excellent job of setting the reader. It's the thrill of sitting in a dark movie theater, knowing something is going to jump out...then it does and you STILL jump. That is the last three pages of volume seven.
The last page is a return to the gut-wrenching, aggravating cliff hanger. This is the one that leaves you furious. Fortunately, those of you reading these reviews have the option of having chapter eight just a page away (if you own the hardcover compendium) or sitting beside you.
For those of you new to this series, I challenge you to just wait twenty-four hours. Savor the anguish of those inside the prison fence, living in their false security. Then...grab volume eight and quench your thirst for The Walking Dead.