Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zombie Review: The Walking Dead, Vol. 7 The Calm Before

The Walking Dead, Vol. 7: The Calm Before by Robert Kirkman

ZPAA rating

Teens and above

Gore level

6 of 10--For this series, the zombie presence is quite minimal. There is some graphic human on human violence, but no where near the level of the extended torture scene from last trade paperback. Lori finally gives birth but the scene is barely PG.

Other offensive content

Plenty of bad language throughout; the aforementioned human on human violence; an amputation; some marital and extra-marital affairs which aren't too explicit; one disturbing suicide.

How much zombie mythology/content

Whether someone can survive being bitten is answered here.

How much fun

This part of the on-going story is not nearly as grim as the previous issues, as the title "The Calm Before" implies. The series is still very intelligent and make for engaging reading.

Synopsis & Review

I didn't give up on this series in spite of the temptation after the last volume, especially thanks to the encouragement of a previous commentator. The gang is all back together at the prison and getting ready for the inevitable arrival of the presumably hostile Woodbury townsfolk. Which means getting food together, more target practice and finally finding the National Guard depot and raiding it for supplies. Woodbury ex-pat Alice is integrated into the prison community and helps out with critical medical needs.

A variety of interesting issues spring up this time. Should they leave supplies sources like the depot or WalMart intact for further supply raids or try to prevent the Woodbury folk from also benefiting? Are a ring of zombies around the prison fences a helpful layer of defense against the coming attack or a hindrance to freely coming and going? Should Maggie and Glenn start a family right away or wait till things are better? It is fun to think about how you would act in these situations and others that arise.

One very interesting conversation centers around whether this zombie apocalypse refutes the Biblical account or is part of the biblical account in Revelations. Both sides are given their say and seem to be quite well respected by the author. This issue is also something interesting to think about.

The story seems to be in a bit of a holding pattern while we wait for the coming attack. A bunch of narrative threads are tied down (or is it tied off?)--Glenn and Maggie finally get married, Lori gives birth, Carol's insanity is dealt with. The drama is satisfying and well-paced. This volume is a very enjoyable read. I can't wait for the next volume.

Sample Text

Newcomer Alice on the importance of research: "You know what bugs me, Rick? Nobody is out here asking 'why?' anymore. And if they are--they're not doing anything to find out. Maybe you think the problem is beyond us, but I, for one, would like to at least attempt to find out the cause of all this insanity. And the only way to do that is ot study them--while they're still alive or whatever it is they are. And I can do that safely without anyone getting hurt. I'm a smart girl, Rick. I can do this. Think about the possibilities. What if I discover an easier way of killing them? Something that doesn't involve bullets--or anything else we could run out of. What if I find a cure? Or at least something to save us...So that we won't turn into these things when we die. this is worth whatever risks are there--and I'm telling you the risks are small."

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