Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Tony Moore
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.
Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to a world that is full with zombies. In an attempt to find his wife and son Rick heads to Atlanta where it's meant to be safe.
This was a brilliant opening volume to this amazing series, as although it wasn't as good as some of the future stories, it was a brilliant way of introducing this then new series. Robert Kirkman has had plenty of practice writing zombie stories, having previously worked on Marvel Zombies. With this story however Kirkman has managed to bring a very gory genre and make it more relatable, and emotional, and the way that he focuses on the characters so much is amazing. In saying that when the zombies attack Kirkman instantly adds a lot of suspense to the story, making things much more exciting. This story itself was however also slightly slow at times, and the start had very little dialogue at all. In saying that the earlier part of the issue Rick is the only character introduced, so hasn't got much chance of interaction, and the rest of the story is giving the chance to introduce the characters.
The artwork in this volume was also outstanding, and although Charlie Adlard, the artist who would become the regular artist following this volume has done a fantastic job of the 100+ issues he's worked on I would have loved it if Tony Moore could have stayed for a bit longer at the start as his artwork in this book was phenomenal. Moore managed to get everything right, showing brilliant emotion in the characters as well as plenty of gore in the zombies. His artwork was also very highly detailed, being very consistent throughout. The layout of Moore's artwork was also brilliant, as although nothing too lavish it was still unique enough adding a lot of depth and tone to the story. Moore along with Cliff Rathburn also did a great job with the grey tones as with this series lacking colour it really needs the perfect tone to add atmosphere and depth to it, and both Moore and Rathburn did that brilliantly here.
What would you do if the zombie apocalypse actually happened? It's easy for some to come up with extravagant answers to that, but Kirkman manages to handle it in a relatively realistic way, as although the concept of a zombie apocalypse is unrealistic if this was the scenario this is what would most likely happen. I also enjoyed how instead of going for the instant "kill all zombies" road that Kirkman would focus it more on survival, showing just how hard it is to survive, and just how easy it is to slip up and be bitten, eventually turning into a zombie yourself. I also loved the zombies themselves as they were very emotionless, making the dread and distress of the characters that much more impactful.
The main character in this series is a cop named Rick Grimes who is shot and put in a coma, waking up to the zombie apocalypse. Rick himself is a character that is put through the mill throughout this series, so seeing him in a more innocent time again was nice. I also liked the way that he was introduced into this world as it gives a mysterious nature to this epidemic. It also allows a goal for the character, as he strives to be reunited with his family. As a character however I found Rick to be rather interesting, as although he was slightly annoying at times he was still very deep, trying to keep in high spirits. I also loved seeing him interact with people, and the way the other characters reacted to him.
The earliest encounter that Rick would have since awaking from his coma was with a father and son named Morgan and Duane Jones. I really enjoyed this sequence, as although it was very entertaining and interesting to see Rick's reaction to the zombie apocalypse it was nice to finally see some proper interaction, and Kirkman managed to make this both dramatic as well as slightly humorous at times. I also loved seeing the connection that Rick made with Morgan, and how seeing him with his son reminded him of the family that he wanted to return to.
WARNING: SMALL SPOILER AHEAD!
On his journey Rick eventually meets another survivor named Glenn who takes him to his camp. This would be the introduce more characters to the story, as well as see Rick become reunited with his family. Now the camp would be a interesting development point for this story, and was also one of the best things about the story as it added characters for Rick to interact with. I did however also enjoy the time that Rick spent with Glenn, both before and after entering the camp, as Glenn is a very interesting and entertaining character who eventually would become one of my favourite characters in the series. I also loved the variety of characters in the camp and overall it was an amazing development point.
If you've been enjoying the TV series you'll want to give the comics a try, and what better place to start than the very first volume. The story itself wasn't the best that the Walking Dead series has produced, but it was one brilliant opener, introducing the characters perfectly as well as adding some excitement and suspense at certain points. It also has a lot of character depth with some very emotional sequences that are extremely dramatic. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this to anyone, as if you think the TV series is amazing you'll think that the comics are phenomenal.