Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, #13-18 (Safety Behind Bars)

"The Walking Dead is an American monthly black and white comic published by Image Comics beginning in 2003. The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore (replaced by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onward) and chronicles the travels of a group of people trying to survive in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse.

"The Walking Dead is centered around Rick, a small-town police officer from Cynthiana, Kentucky, his family, and a number of other survivors who have banded together in order to survive after the world is overrun with zombies. As the series progresses, the characters become more developed, and their personalities shift under the stress of a zombie apocalypse. Fighting growing despair — and sometimes each other — the group searches for a secure location which they can finally call home."

An already great series begins picking up steam with, by far, one of the greatest graphic novels I've read (though it's quite hard to top Watchmen, The Crow, and The Dark Knight Returns). After leaving their camp and hitting the road, Rick and the group try house after house, town after town, trying to find refuge in the post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. With all the weight of leadership now bearing down on Rick, he is constantly under pressure to find a safe shelter for the survivors. They chance upon a farmer and his large family after an accident, and he takes them in, feeds them, and gives them a place to stay. But in a land where fresh food is scarce, overstaying your welcome is much more common. After a few close calls and undead attacks, they hit the road again.

Good things come to those who wait (though in their world good luck always turns to bad), and they finally happen upon a place they could call home: a maximum security prison. The place looks deserted, aside from numerous zombies inside. But with time, and effort, the place could be cleared and made to start a new life. Inside they meet four convicts who have been living off the prison's supply of food, and from there it all goes down hill. Kirkman has mastered his characters by this point, and while he may be making up some of it as it goes along, he fully understands his living, breathing creations well enough to do so. In this story arc, it's no longer about fighting for survival against ravenous ghouls, but against each other. Man is his own worst enemy.

Best quote: "Yeah. Leave me. He'll be coming back soon, and I'm going to kill him again."

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