Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Walking Dead: The Best Defense Review

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

The Walking Dead has been a series that I have enjoyed for a few years now, also having enjoyed the TV series that spawned from it. Due to the most recent season coming out on Blu-ray and DVD recently, as well as the fact that the series itself has reached it's ten year anniversary I thought I'd go through my graphic novels from the start, reliving the events that Rick and the group have went through over the last ten years.


Whilst siphoning of gas from nearby cars, Rick and Glenn notice a helicopter falling out of the sky, and with Michonne go to investigate, finding more than they bargained for.


This was a fabulous volume, and easily the best in the series had produced by then. Robert Kirkman certainly took the series to another level in this volume, as although it would yet to see it's highest levels of quality in this volume, it would be the start of that wonderful era. This volume itself had some tremendous drama and suspense throughout, with the developments getting much more exciting and shocking. I also loved how Kirkman would up the risk towards certain characters in this volume as well, as although he's never shied away from killing or doing something terrible to a character every now and then, he would take it to another level in this volume, which really made it that much more intense and exciting. On top of that Kirkman would continue to keep this very character driven, with the emotional toil on the characters being very well handled, adding a lot more tone and drama to the story.

The art was also once again fantastic, and Charlie Adlard did an amazing job. The detail throughout was to an extremely high standard, as although there were very minor imperfections, it was overall very consistent. Adlard's layouts were also outstanding, as they would add a lot of tone to the volume, and also helped to build some of the suspense throughout the volume. It also helped highlight some of the more intense moments, with the shocking developments jumping off the page. I also loved how Adlard showed the character emotions and facial expressions in this volume, and especially on the Governor, as it showed his evil side perfectly. The grey tones from Cliff Rathburn were also once again outstanding, as due to this series having now colour it's these grey tones, along with Adlard's brilliant inks that help to add some mood an atmosphere to the story.

Whilst searching to make sure that the prison is once again zombie free, Glenn finds a storage room full of riot gear. Now this wasn't the most exciting development ever, but it would be the first steps in the volumes major development, also adding something different to the series. What was most interesting about this development was the character interaction, with the dialogue helping the story to flow very smoothly. I also enjoyed the characters overall reaction to this, and how much fire power this adds to the group, making their move to the prison even more worthwhile.

Not long after this Rick and Glen would test out the riot gear as they went to siphon fuel for the generator. Now yet again this wasn't the most interesting development that the volume would produce, but it would lead directly into one of the more interesting developments in this volume, a helicopter falling out of the sky. This would ultimately cause Rick and Glenn, now with Michonne to go and search the crash site. Now I won't go into too much details over this, but once again the character interaction throughout this entire development point was very interesting and entertaining, adding a lot more diversity to the story.

Whilst investigating the crash site the three would soon find a town called Woodbury. Now followers of the TV series will recognise this name, with it being a key feature of the last season. In the comic series however it was a much more interesting place, and Kirkman did a brilliant job of introducing it to the series. I loved how it was so much different than anything that we've seen so far, and how it showed how well protected you could be in a zombie apocalypse situation with some hard work and preparation. I also loved seeing the changes that the scenario has brought this town, and that despite being safe the catastrophe has still changed them in certain ways.

With the introduction of Woodbury would also come the introduction of the series best villain, the Governor. Now in my opinion the Governor was the best thing that ever happened to the series, as although it was still brilliant without him, he managed to add something very unique to the series. What I loved most about the Governor in this volume however was the way that he was built up, being very friendly to start with, and quickly turning into the evil character that he's known as. I also enjoyed seeing some of the shocking moments that the Governor would add to the series in this volume, and how this would show the extreme extent of change throughout the zombie apocalypse.

Final Verdict

This was a phenomenal volume, and a key development point for the series, being the start of the series most interesting and exciting period. The volume itself was also very dramatic and suspenseful, having some very shocking moments. It was also paced brilliantly, with the tone and atmosphere being perfect throughout. It would also introduce the series most well known villain in the form of the Governor, who's much more evil in this than he is in the TV series. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this volume, as bar from being a great jumping on point for anyone who only wants to read certain parts of the series, it was also the start of what in my opinion was the series best time.

Rating: 10/10

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