Monday, October 25, 2010

Zombie Review: The Walking Dead, Book Two

The Walking Dead, Book 2

See previous reviews of Trade Paperback 1 and TP 2. You might be confused to see this review of Book 2, instead of TP 3 or Book 3. Well, the Howard County Library, in its infinite wisdom, decided to buy hard cover editions of The Walking Dead 3 and 4. The only problem with this scheme is that each hard cover edition has the content from two paperback. So hard cover Book 2 has the content of trade paperbacks 3 and 4. So I wound up buying book 2 from my favorite comic shop to cover their flub. Thus, we have a review of Book 2.

ZPAA rating

Adults with high capacity only (use your judgment based on content summary below)

Gore level

8 out of 10--Continuation of the same stuff from before--lots of more and less gruesome zombie killings. New for this volume is a bunch of human on human violence (killings and beatings) with more gore than you'd expect.

Other offensive content

The aforementioned human on human violence; lots of extra-marital affairs with varying degrees of nudity; lots of bad language, including a racial epithet; implication that God does not answer prayers.

How much zombie mythology/content

There's some more explanation of how people become zombies and how fast they come back from the dead. The focus of the story is still on human interactions.

How much fun

The grimness continues in this book. The idea of building a new life or creating a new social structure is explored, which is fun to think about. Lots of characters die throughout and many betrayals happen, which won't put a smile on your face. Even so, it's still compelling reading.

Synopsis & Review

After finding the prison at the end of the last trade paperback, the story continues as our group of survivors start clearing out the prison and trying to establish a more stable life. As they clear out the yard and one of the cell blocks, they discover some survivors who've been locked in since the outbreak. An intriguing new arrival and some old friends return, causing interpersonal conflicts that naturally turn into violence and mayhem for everybody. Other people are just as much a threat in this volume as the zombies.

A lot of interesting issues come up revolving around justice and leadership. Rick is pushed beyond his limits and has a hard time dealing with the pressure of being the chosen leader and trying to integrate his former job as a law enforcement officer with his new responsibilities. After all, there are no lawyers or legal system to back him up or to fill in the roles of prosecutor, judge, executioner, etc. When murders happen in the prison, a discussion of what kind of justice has to be meted out and to whom and by whom is a natural result.

Also, how the group integrates with others (the prisoners, the outsider, the old characters) provides some forward momentum when the situation really could have stagnated into a "let's get set up as a happy little group here." Anyone expecting a happy little group will be disappointed.

Sample Text

After a serious injury, Rick finds Lori and Carol and give them the bad news:  Lori: What is it? Are the kids okay?! Rick: No. The kids are fine. It's Allen. He was hurt. He's okay for now--He's--downstairs. [Carol runs off to check on him] Rick: Lori, do you want to check on Allen? Are you going down to see him? Lori: No. It's nothing I haven't seen before. Why bother?

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