I hope you’ll excuse me if I use my review of Vol. 29 of The Walking Dead comic to draw a contrast with the TV show. If you’re smart, you have long since abandoned the show. I never said I was smart. And this was a slow volume of the comic, but contrasting it with the show will, I think, show why it is a good graphic novel nonetheless.
Volume 29 deals with the aftermath of the fight with the giant herd from Vol. 28. Characters are still dealing with the ramifications—grieving, questioning decisions made, ruminating over how to move forward. Things are setup for what looks to be a major conflict going forward, but I won’t spoil that. A significant new character is introduced—the woman picture on the cover—stir-crazy and wielding a spear (I’m glad to see someone with a spear—it seems like such an obvious weapon in this situation).
Like I said, it’s a slow volume. But it is very, very different than anything we see in the show, which is nothing if not flabby. The show is marked by unrelenting darkness—human violence that means nothing. Characters wildly vacillate in motivation and actions from episode to episode. And so you wind up with deaths that elicit little more than a shrug from the viewer.
The comic is certainly dark and violent and filled with death. The difference is the comic—unlike the show (despite Kirkman’s involvement)—understands that the darkness exists to serve the light. The deaths from vol. 28 mean something. The comic is superior to the show because it makes us care about what happens to the characters. I’ve never been a fan of this line from the back cover: “In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.” For the first time, I feel like the comic is delivering on that promise.
4 of 5 Stars.