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.
Rick decides to move the group, and on their travels they meet new people, constantly looking for a place to shelter over the winter, with a unfortunate event leading them to a nearby farm.
This was a brilliant volume, and a great follow up to the brilliant opening volume. Robert Kirkman did a great job of keeping the series fresh in this volume, and really started to drive forward with the type of material that made The Walking Dead as good as it is. The drama and suspense throughout this story was simply amazing, and I really enjoyed how there was a lot more excitement, and threat to the characters in this story, as with all the original main characters having been introduced, with a few new ones to be introduced in this story it allowed less room for long winded development, allowing the series to finally start shining out as the great series that it is. I also enjoyed that although Kirkman constantly reminds you of the zombie threat that he still keeps it a very character driven series, and the interaction between the characters in being extremely interesting, with some even being shockingly interesting.
The artwork on this volume was also amazing, as although it wasn't better than Tony Moore's art on the first volume, Charlie Adlard did a brilliant job, and has shown throughout his time on the series that he's a fantastic artist. The detail in Adlard's artwork throughout this story was simply outstanding, as although there are odd imperfections, on a whole it's brilliant. I also loved Adlard's layouts, as apart from being very dynamic, they also added a lot of suspense to the story, with some of the larger panels adding excitement as well. Adlard also did a sensational job with the characters expressions, and emotions, adding even more tone and atmosphere to the story. On top of this Cliff Rathburn continued to do a great job with the grey tones, as with the lack of colour this adds mood and tone to the story, helping to bring Adlard's brilliant pencil art alive.
The start of this volume would see Rick finally move the camp, as with Shane no longer being there to oppose him, the group agreed that it was the best thing to do. Now although this would be a relatively small development for the series, it would lead to much bigger ones, as if Kirkman hadn't decided to move the camp it would limit the amount of development points for the series, as well as make the series as a whole a lot duller. I also found it very interesting to see the group on the road during this volume, as it would show how far the world has fallen, as well as how it's harder to travel now.
Moving the camp would also allow a lot more characters to be introduced to the series, with the first of these being Tyreese, his daughter Julie, and her boyfriend Chris. Now I really enjoyed the fact that these characters were introduced to the series, as although I didn't really care for either Julie or Chris, seeing Chris as a bit creepy, and Julie as a dull character, I found Tyreese to be very interesting, and enjoyed seeing his and Rick's interactions. I also enjoyed seeing how the group reacted to bringing in new members, and more importantly over the fact that they are strangers.
The group would come across an abandoned housing estate, called Wilshire Estates, and planned on emptying the houses of zombies and living there. Now I won't go into too many details, but that didn't go quite as planned for the group, as with the place having a lot more zombies than they originally thought they couldn't stay there. I did however enjoy seeing them try and empty the houses, as bar from allowing Tyreese an opportunity to show that he could be useful, it also gave some suspense to the story, as well as some hope for the characters, overall teasing a possible new life for them.
The story would later lead the group to a farm, run by Hershel Greene and his family, with a catastrophic development leading them there. Now I won't go into any detail as to how the group landed up at the farm, but I will say how this would yet again add some new characters to the series, with Hershel and his family having a huge involvement in the second half of this volume, also featuring in further parts of this series. Now what I enjoyed the most from Hershel's addition was that he had a very different viewpoint than Rick, as being a holy man he lead a completely different lifestyle, also seeing the zombies in a different viewpoint. I also really enjoyed the interactions between Hershel and Rick, and some of the developments that would come out of going to the farm were extremely interesting, with some even being surprising.
This was a fantastic continuation to this series, being much more exciting and suspenseful. It also introduced some new characters, as well as added even more dread and threat than the first volume did. The character interaction and dialogue was also perfectly handled, and the story had some very shocking development throughout. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this volume, as it took the series up a gear, being much more entertaining than the first volume.