Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Review: The Walking Dead Vol. 15: We Find Ourselves

The Walking Dead Vol. 15: We Find Ourselves by Robert Kirkman et al.

ZPAA rating

Teens and up

Gore level

7 out of 10--Some zombie kills but nothing too heavy or explicit compared to recent issues.

Other offensive content

Lots of bad language; one sex scene with no visible nudity; several bad attitudes toward other people; people menacing other people with guns; a stale bag of potato chips.

How much zombie mythology/content

Nothing new about the zombies here, though someone who died in the last volume makes a brief zombie appearance.

How much fun

The drama is intriguing but starting to get a little bit like a soap opera. For actual humor, there's a bit about a stale bag of potato chips.

Synopsis & Review

After the zombies almost overran the new compound where Rick and his people have been staying, he discovers a new attitude toward keeping his son Carl and himself safe. At the end of the last issue, as the whole group was fighting hand-to-hand with the zombies pouring in the walls, Rick realized that they could work together as a group and be more effective at protecting everyone including his son. Ironically, Carl is accidentally shot in the head during the battle. He loses an eye and goes into a coma. The doctor at the compound is able to stabilize Carl but when he'll wake up and how functional he'll be is unknown.

Rick takes charge of the whole group (including the people who built the compound). He holds a town meeting where he talks of his optimism for the group working together to re-establish some sort of permanent home and a new society there. They discuss rebuilding the walls and other security improvements like digging a trench outside to trip up roaming zombies and blocking up roadways so the zombies have less access. Most everyone goes along with it, but some of the original occupiers are discontent and have other plans.

After the rip-roaring previous adventure, this volume is a little tame. The community moves through some more dynamics and all the people who were hooking up last time have had troubles arise, generally ending all their liaisons. The characters are well drawn but the story lines are starting to feel more like soap opera material than zombie apocalypse lore.

Rick's sudden conversion from selfish tactician to altruistic community leader strikes me as a little contrived. First of all, wasn't he doing that all along? Even though he would make decisions to protect his family that could hurt others, he generally tried to keep the group together as best he could. Second, he had seen groups fighting together before, maybe not as large as this one. I just wasn't convinced Rick saw enough to have a big change of heart and start to emphasize community survival over his more narrow previous focus. Reading about it made me think the author had seen the end of the TV show Lost and wanted to write the notion of community presented there into The Walking Dead. Maybe with his son's tragedy, he is getting more in touch with his sensitive side.

On another note, I read this book as a Kindle download on my iPad. The format works well, the pages are only slightly smaller on the iPad screen than on a physical paperback. The only drawback was when a two-page image appeared I couldn't see it all at once. Turning the iPad sideways did not create a two-page display which would have been a nice feature. Otherwise the Kindle is a nice format. The book is slightly cheaper as a Kindle from Amazon than as a paperback from Amazon and of course the delivery is faster since it downloads immediately. My only other issue is to make sure the kids don't accidentally stumble into it on the iPad when they are playing other games. I keep the Kindle app link in a folder on a separate screen from where their games are, so it's at least as secure as the high bookshelf I keep the trade paperbacks on. Also, I downloaded it to the Kindle app on my Android phone and the book was basically unreadable when the whole page was reduced to the small screen. Zooming the image was impossible and probably undesirable anyway.

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