Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Zombie Review: The Walking Dead, Vol. 5 The Best Defense

The Walking Dead Vol. 5: The Best Defense by Robert Kirkman

See previous reviews of Trade Paperback 1, TP 2, and Book 2 (which contains what's in TP 3 and 4). I just finished watching Season 1 of the TV show (which ended a week ago), so look for a review of the final two episodes soon.

ZPAA rating

Late teens and up (use your judgment based on content summary below)

Gore level

8 of 10--the usual amount of zombies fill these pages, though not many of them are killed. The zombies get to do a lot of graphic eating, which is new and not pleasant. Some of the worst gore is human on human violence: a behanding (yes, someone winds up being called "Lefty"), bitten off ear (not by Mike Tyson), some rough torture.

Other offensive content

Some pretty bad language (f-bombs and such), human on human violence, a totally wacky marriage proposal.

How much zombie mythology/content

As I've said before, these are classic zombies. We do get to see some zombies being kept as pets or loved ones, though there doesn't seem to be any idea of de-zombifying them like in Volume 2.

How much fun

This volume has been the toughest read yet. Some of our survivors are captured by another group of survivors that are into maiming, torturing and feeding those they find to zombies. Yikes!

Synopsis & Review

The survivors are cleaning out Cell Block A with the thought of moving in. While there, they discover many interesting things. First, they find a generator which may only need some gas to get going. Glenn and Maggie find body armor and other riot gear that will be helpful in fighting the zombies. If it's bullet proof, it's bite proof! The gear comes in handy as Rick and Glenn go out past the fences to get gas from the abandoned cars. While siphoning gas, they see a helicopter fly by and crash off in the distance. Rick, Glenn and sword-weilding Michonne grab a car that works and head off to find the helicopter's crew. Eventually they have to ditch the car while off-roading and find the helicopter empty. Lots of footprints lead off into the distance, leading our heroes to a town of about 40 people led by a guy self-named "The Governor." Turns out they have a lot of nasty secrets about how they pass the time.

This volume continues dealing with the issue of people makng rules for themselves and how bad they are at it. After Carol's attempted suicide, she decides she needs more stability in her life and wants to marry Rick and Lori. She asks Lori while Rick is chasing after the helicopter. Lori freaks out and says no. The big example of bad rule making is the new group of survivors. They have a little arena set up for blood sports and "The Governor" rules with an iron hand and sadistic glee. He begins to torture Michonne, Glenn and Rick to get information about where they came from. The people in his town go along with him because he provides them security from the biters and he ruthlessly takes care of any problem people. And outsiders are problem people. The poor helicopter crew had a very miserable fate.

Things are only getting worse for Rick and the gang. Reading this series is becoming less and less enjoyable. I still care about the characters. I'm still rooting for them but I'm running out of hope for them as the situation worsens. I'll give it another volume, because I want to find out what happens next.

Sample Text

The Governor talking while watching the zombies eat: "We can learn so much from them, y'know--just by watching them. They've been at it all night. They just don't stop--they're resilient. They eat until it's gone and then they're content. I almost admire them. The thing you have to realize is that they're just us--they're no different. They want what they want, they take what they want and after they get what they want--they're only content for the briefest span of time. Then they want more."

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