Monday, 14 October 2013

The Walking Dead: Safety Behind Bars 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.


The group has finally found a new place to stay by finding what appears to be an abandoned prison. All they have to do now is clear the place out, and find a way of living with the remaining prisoners that occupy the prison.


This was yet another fantastic volume, being a terrific continuation of the series. Robert Kirkman once again did a great job of keeping this series diverse, and fresh, as although the main change in this volume was teased at the end of the last, it was still a very enjoyable one. Kirkman also started to take the series up a gear quality wise in this volume, as although it wasn't much better than the last, it had a lot of very dramatic and suspenseful moments, that really helped to keep the series interesting. I also loved how Kirkman managed to yet again keep this series very character driven, as although this is something he has done throughout the series, it was nice considering all the shock and excitement that he also added. I also really enjoyed the way that Kirkman paced this volume, as it had a brilliant tone throughout, getting exciting just when it needed, overall having wonderful development.

The artwork from Charlie Adlard was also once again amazing, and he really started to make the series his own in this volume. The detail in Adlard's art was simply fantastic, as although there was the odd imperfection, his artwork as a whole was very consistent throughout. The thing I loved most about Adlard's art was his layouts, as they were extremely dynamic, adding a lot of depth and drama to the volume, as well as helping to give it tone and suspense as well. Adlard also did a fantastic job of the characters facial expressions in this volume, also showing their emotions brilliantly, which overall adds a lot more depth and tone to the story, also making it more dramatic. Cliff Rathburn also once again did a spectacular job of the grey tones, as with Adlard's inks they really help to give a fantastic tone and mood to the volume, making the artwork stand out even more.

This volume would see the group move into a prison, once they've dealt with all the zombie inhabitants. This would be one of the best developments that happened to the series, as it would give so many different unique development points throughout the series. I did however love seeing how they initially get to the prison, and how they deal with cleaning it out. It was also apparent that Kirkman had thought this development through very well, as he didn't just show the thoroughness of the group when moving in, but he would also show the pros and cons that would come from living in such a place. I also found it kind of ironic how a place that's designed to keep people in has become the exact opposite due to the zombie crisis, being a place that you'd want to be.

The group wouldn't be alone however in this place, as they'd soon find some prisoners, with four of them having managed to survive, being locked in the cafeteria. This was an obvious development point, and would have been a wasted opportunity otherwise. I did however love the way that Kirkman utilised this, as he would use it to it's full advantage, pacing the development out perfectly. What I loved most however about this addition was that bar giving some more unique characters it would also show the typical stereotype that people give prisoners, with certain members of the group feeling uncomfortable about living with them, even though they were their first. Just goes to show you what kind of mindset the end of the world gives you.

Not long into the volume we would see the return of Hershel and his family as well as Glenn, with Rick going to convince them into moving to the prison. Now I loved that Kirkman decided to keep these characters in the series, as bar the fact that Glen was one of my favourite characters, the others would add a lot of depth and diversity to the series. I also felt that the development as a whole was handled perfectly, as given the way that Rick and Hershel left things at the end of the last volume it was a interesting decision to make this development, but Kirkman handled it in a very realistic way.


I don't usually like giving away spoilers, but due to the volume having been out a while, as well as it not spoiling the plot itself I felt that it wasn't that big a spoiler, though I thought it best to warn you anyway. Anyway, in this volume we'd learn that it isn't the bite that turns you, and that anyone who dies will eventually turn, meaning that everyone in the series is already infected. Now I won't go into any details as to how the group learned this, but I will say that it was a very shocking and exciting sequence, that added a lot of grit and suspense to the volume. I also found the development as a whole to be very interesting, with the idea being very unique for a zombie series.

Final Verdict

Yet another brilliant volume in The Walking Dead series, and although it was still to reach it's highest point quality wise, this was easily the best volume to come out of the series at the time. It was very dramatic and suspenseful, having some really exciting moments as well as having some brilliant and at times shocking development points throughout. Due to all this I'd highly recommend the volume, as it is well worth reading.

Rating: 9/10