It’s hard to believe that The Walking Dead comics are over. And so abruptly. But the timing made sense. For someone who likes their collection tidy, I appreciate that they coordinated the ending to allow for one more full compendium volume. And that final compendium works narratively, with this compendium completing the Whisperer storyline but largely devoted to the Commonwealth storyline.
This is technically a review of the compendium volume, but I will focus on the material from the final paperback volume, since I have previously written reviews of the earlier paperback volumes.
Overall, this is perhaps the weakest of the compendiums but isn’t bad per se. I was frustrated with how the Whisperer storyline ended, mainly because Rick et al.’s actions in regard to the Whisperers’ herd were nonsensical.
The Commonwealth storyline was never so weak, and I like the fact that they were not merely another traditionally antagonistic group, but overall the Commonwealth is kind of boring.
The climax is shocking. And controversial, I’m sure, but I think it works. I do have an issue with the long denouement.
The denouement picks up long after the events depicted in the bulk of the final compendium. Carl puts down a walker on his property. The walker was owned by a 19th century-style performer, and Carl faces legal issues for destroying his “property.” It might be possible to own a tiger, or a coyote. But if you let it get on my property and I kill it I won’t face legal repercussions. This storyline (intended to show how people have forgotten the danger of walkers) pays attention to one set of legal rights but not another. Of course their scheme of legal rights need not match ours, but presumably they would not be completely nonsensical. A minor issue, perhaps, but it stuck in my craw enough to sour the final pages for me.
All in all, The Walking Dead stands strong as a comic series. I plan to keep my full set of compendiums, and will probably do a reread at some point in the next couple of years. Ending the story now maintains its overall integrity and stands in contract with, for example, the TV show.
4 of 5 Stars.
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