Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Review: The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become

The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become by Robert Kirkman

Now that the TV show is over, we'll be back to the comics for a bit!

ZPAA rating

Mid-teen and up.

Gore level

8 out of 10--Lots of zombie attacks with splattered/chopped off/blown out heads and such (standard fare in The Walking Dead); zombie spouse attacks significant other with gory results; discovery of a family that the dad killed with bloody and dessicated results still visible.

Other offensive content

Lots of bad language including f-bombs; hard stories about what people had to do to survive; acceptance of stone cold killing as okay due to the new circumstances; attempted child rape; attempted suicide; bad attitudes between people who should be on the same side; traumatic back stories of characters; complete disregard for other human lives; justification for wearing a mullet.

How much zombie mythology/content

A new threat (which I think was mentioned last issue) shows up--the zombie herd. Hundreds and thousands of zombies moving in a pack and following a pack mentality.

How much fun

Small bits of humor leak through. As I've said before, the ongoing story can only be called "fun" as a compelling drama, not as a laugh out loud yuk fest (more of a yuck fest to be sure).

Synopsis & Review

The new group of survivors is on the road to Washington. They have a couple of vehicles and some horses and are heading north hoping to find answers and safety in the nation's capital.

Tensions build between the various survivors (mostly between Rick and one of the new people, ex-military Abraham). At one point, they reach a gas station and decide to stay for a while as Rick, his son, and Abraham make a few days' trip back to Rick's hometown. The plan is to raid the police station for supplies (mostly guns and ammo). As they travel, they run into a group who try to take everything they have. The consequences are quite grim.

The main theme of this trade paperback is trust. Not just the superficial level of which characters trust which other characters. The truly interesting issue is how different characters deal with trusting themselves and their own instincts. Rick and Abraham practically come to blows several times. After a bonding moment, they share the stories of how they became hardened killers after the zombies rose. Abraham claims this is how they've survived this long. If you can't kill someone who's an obstacle to safety, you'll wind up a zombie.

Earlier, Michonne had told Rick she was glad to see him sticking up for what he thought was right regardless of the consequences for himself and others. Rick didn't feel so confident in his choices. He seems to have the proper instincts and is only doubtful because things don't turn out the way he hopes. And he is still crushed by the memory of how many people who died because of his decisions. Abraham is also crushed by memories of what happened to his family and what he had to do. He can barely control his anger at others, especially when they order him around (as Rick does when he has Abraham at gunpoint).

Dale starts to lose his trust in Rick since he sees all the trouble and death that Rick's choices have brought about. Can he abandon the group for what he thinks would be a safer way?

The book is full of intriguing questions but short on answers. Like the characters in the story, we need to figure out those answers for ourselves. Only future issues will let us know for sure.

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