Ryan Thomason

Summer of the Dead – The Walking Dead

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You may have noticed I talk about the Walking Dead quite a lot, not only is it one of my favourite comics I also thinks it’s one of the best pieces of zombie related media that has ever been created.  Robert Kirkman has done a fantastic job of creating a believable post apocalyptic world with a broad realistic range of characters who you really do care about.  I had initially planned on talking about the series as a whole here but there’s just to much information to fit into a single blog so I’ve only talked about the story in part 1, Days Gone Bye.  I really urge everyone to pick this up and start reading and I hope that this piques your interest enough to take a look.
The story begins with out hero Rick, a police officer waking up in a deserted hospital. After coming to his senses he begins to look around the hospital only to find the dead lying everywhere.  After leaving the hospital and finding out the that the world has gone to hell, he heads home to find his neighbourhood abandoned apart from a man and his son who have taken up residence in Ricks former neighbours house.  They explain to him about the initial outbreaks and how major cities have been barricaded but they haven’t heard from the cities in months.   Rick decides to head off towards Atlanta to try and find his wife Laurie and his son, Carl.  Arriving in Atlanta Rick finds the city and pretty soon himself overwhelmed before being rescued by Glenn, a young scavenger who gets him to safety and introduces him to a group of survivors who luckily for Rick include his wife and son. Of course things don’t stay happy for long and pretty soon the zombies come looking for food and problems in the survivors camp keep tensions high and fingers on the trigger. To say any more about the story would spoil it, the best part about the Walking Dead is the journey all of the characters takes, and they take one hell of journey.

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The characters are one of my favorite things in the Walking Dead, if your looking for action heroes slaying countless zombies whilst scantily clad women hang off of their oversized arms then your out of luck and this comic probably isn’t for you.  Characters are constantly swapped in and out with people dying or just choosing to stay behind and try and find shelter and the large ensemble cast works surprisingly well and really gives you the impression that there is only a few people left alive who have got to band together to survive.  There are too many characters to go into great detail about many of them but I’ll say that my favorite character so far is Ricks son, Carl who really grows as a character throughout the duration of the story from a little boy in young warrior and general bad-ass.  You’ll recognise all of the characters that you’re introduced to in the comic, they are all stereotypes of everyday people and that’s why it works so well these people are just trying to look after themselves and their families, especially Rick who will go to some extraordinary (and shocking) lengths to protect his family as the story goes on.

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Nobody in this comic is safe, and I cannot reiterate that enough.  There are characters in this comic that you will love and hope survive only to see them brutally slaughtered or eaten alive by the zombie hoard and a few might just go insane.  At the end of each individual issue they normally have a very misleading teaser image for the next issue which will leave you wondering who’s going to end up dead in the next issue.  You’ll even be left questioning weather or not Rick is going to survive issue to issue, although personally I liken the Rick to Jack Shepherd in Lost.  They will beat him around and send his psyche to some very dark places but ultimatley he’s the hero of the story and he’s going to be the one to save the day in the end, even if it does cost him dearly.

The art in the story is really good, whilst it’s in black and white the artist Tony Moore creates a realistic world and because the characters are always on the move he creates a lot of interesting backgrounds to at.  All of the characters (including the zombies) look different which makes keeping track of who’s saying and doing what really easy and really helps develop the personalities of all of the individual characters.  One of the benefits of black and white is that the images can be graphic without grossing out the reader.

That’s all I’m going to talk about for now because I really want people to go out and buy it so we can have a discussion about just how awesome this comic really is.  Already a monthly reader of the comic?  Jump into the forums and lets talk about it.

Editors Note: This is an old article that we’ve dug up from the vault, Nik Mortimer actually deserves credit for writing this.

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