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, Michonne and Glenn are still prisoners of the Governor, and need to find some way of escaping.
This was an amazing volume and a fantastic continuation of the story. Robert Kirkman does a great job in this volume of developing from the shocking changes the last volume would bring to the series. Kirkman also caters for newer readers as well, as although you'll get more enjoyment from reading the last volume first, it allows others who have less cash a chance to jump on without too much confusion. In this volume Kirkman would also do a great job of once again turning the series upside down, doing the opposite of what you'd have expected. On top of all this Kirkman still manages to keep this very character driven, as although he is constantly adding some shocking development points, he is still keeping the characters as the central focus, whether it's beneficial for the characters or not. There are however some grey areas in the volume, and I felt that although exciting some of the developments were slightly rushed.
The artwork on this volume was also outstanding, and this has to be some of the best artwork that Charlie Adlard would do on the series by this point. The detail was simply amazing, as despite the very minor imperfections it was very consistent throughout. It was however the more graphic sequences that stood out in this volume, as Adlard really didn't hold back on the gore, with some sequences being as graphic as you could imagine, not being for the squeamish. The layouts of Adlard's artwork was also as usual fantastic, adding a lot of depth and tone to the volume, with some of the more suspenseful sequences being enhanced by Adlard's layouts. On top of all this Adlard also managed to do a great job of showing the characters emotions and expressions, which helped to add more tone as well. Cliff Rathburn also once again did a great job of the grey tones, helping to add more atmosphere to the story.
Near the start of this volume the Governor would out Michonne into the arena, to replace a fighter who had been killed. Now I personally don't know how smart a move this was for the Governor, as what did he really expect the outcome of this decision. It was however a great addition to the volume, allowing Michonne to take out some of the anger and revenge that has been building up. I also love how the build-up to this sequence was much similar to the arena fight from the last volume, though the addition of the other characters current actions made it even suspenseful.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE REST OF THE REVIEW!
Now I hate giving away spoilers, but this volume would have that many shocking developments that it's near impossible to avoid, so I thought it best to just talk about them and warn anyone who dislike spoilers. Now the first major development in this volume would be Martinez coming to help Rick and his group, along with Stevens and Alice. Now it was just a matter of time before the group found some form of escape, and to be honest this was probably the most realistic one available. The best part of this development however would be the interaction, as well as the initial suspicion of Rick.
Michonne however wouldn't leave with the group opting to find the Governor and get some revenge. Now I won't go into too much detail, as to leave some surprise, but this has to bee one of the most graphic sequences that the series has ever had, both before and since this volume. On top of this it was brilliantly paced, with the dialogue being simply outstanding, really helping to add to the suspense, as well as the sequences overall tone. I will however warn that this may not appeal to everyone, and some people will probably consider it too be too sick and disturbing, but for those who like gore in their comics you're in for a real treat here.
Michonne would eventually catch up with the group, and they'd then eventually make their way back to the prison, finding it overthrown with zombies. Now I found this to be a extremely interesting development point, though I did think that it could have been handled slightly better. I say this as although on one hand the unexpected nature of this development makes it all the more surprising, I personally feel that it would have benefited from a bit more development, having the series take one issue away from Rick and his mini-groups journey to show how it got this way. In saying that it was still an amazing development point.
Fantastic volume, and quite possibly the best that the series had produced by this point. It had a lot of suspense and drama, and also had some very shocking developments as well. The art was also much more grittier, with there being some very graphic sequences that aren't for the squeamish. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this volume, and it's even better if you've read the volume before, or even better the entire series up till now.