Most of the folks here already know that The Walking Dead saga is a compilation of stories by Robert Kirkman that expand on the story that is well know to any zombie movie fan....The main story. The one started in earnest by George Romero in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead [and was later remade in 1990 (the version that I prefer) by Tom Savini (with Romero oversight)].
The Walking Dead Volume 8 continues the story of former Normal-World Police Officer Rick Grimes and those that he comes in contact with in a New World...a world that has been over-run by zombies.
I'd agree with you if you thought that maybe The Walking Dead, Vol. 7: The Calm Before took a major pause in the epic series to focus less on zombies and more on what happens to society, its morals, laws and standards when government is lost and the planet becomes mostly uninhabitable.
You'll probably recall that previous volumes in the series showed how venturing out of the confines and security provided by the characters' home (established in Volume 3) are less than safe. The new zombie-infested world is dangerous not only because of the hordes of undead, but outside the gates await unfathomable chaos and horror in the pockets of societies of other survivors (see Volumes 5 and 6)....Especially in Volume 6 where survivors in desperate situations do the unthinkable to stay alive (or entertained).
By the end of Volume 6 we thought that one of the major threats to the primary group of survivors that the series follows had been removed. But what fan of the series can forget the cliffhanger of a last page from Volume 7? Volume 7 was appropriately named "The Calm Before", because Volume 8 is indeed a storm. Volume 8 picks up right from the shocker of a final Volume 7 page and relentlessly presents a war...not between the undead and man...but between two societies of the living in a world gone mad.
There's real, heartfelt emotion in The Walking Dead series combined with believable scenarios. I was never a big comic book guy prior to this series. Now I'm singing a different tune. This comic book series blows the doors off of a lot DVDs that I've wasted time with, and it's introduced me to a whole new entertainment media.
Anyway, the volume releases of The Walking Dead are like reading a screenplay with storyboards of a version of Night of the Living Dead that began simultaneously, but in a different part of the country (much like George Romero's late 2007 release, Diary of the Dead). Yes, The Walking Dead is kind of a rip-off of a story (stories) already told, but the key is that it's done very very well. The zombies are true to the original Romero creation: slow and stupid as opposed to the fast and thinking "infected" in (28 Weeks Later / 28 Days Later) or the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.
Each Walking Dead volume only takes about an hour to get all the way through, and they leave you wanting more. And they seem to keep coming; I think that issues 49 - 55 will likely comprise Volume 9 (with issue 55 due in Sept '08), so unfortunately, as of this writing, only #49 - #53 are published. The wait begins.
Volumes 1 - 8 are all available individually. A hard cover combination of Volumes 1 & 2 is out (The Walking Dead Book 1, a hard cover combination of Volumes 3 & 4 is out (The Walking Dead, Book 2), and Volumes 5 & 6 are now combined in Hardcover (The Walking Dead Book 3).
Anyone in need of a very well done zombie fix that you don't put into your DVD player should absolutely get down with The Walking Dead sickness. Add it to your cart, but be sure to start with Volume 1 and read them chronologically.