Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review of The Walking Dead 55

The best issue yet?


In the letters pages,('Letter Hacks'), at the end of this book, Robert Kirkman expresses his, and his teams, satisfaction at this issue. The fact that it has come out a mere fortnight after issue 54 is a cause for celebration - the fact that it is so bloody fantastic and brilliant makes me incredibly happy - all this, and Batman #681 (ie the end of 'Batman RIP') to follow.....glorious. A lot of people will be happy with this issue of 'The Walking Dead', and it will, no doubt, get great reviews. All fully deserved.

Back to the book in hand - what is it that makes this issue so amazing? It is simple - Kirkman is starting to peel off plots and drop them all over the pages, which are again gloriously drawn by Charlie Adlard. If anything, Adlards art looks cleaner and fresher in this issue, and the emotion he manages to portray on these drawings of people is a high point for me issue after issue. In this single issue we got a further exploration of Ricks mental anguish, via a disturbing dream and his ongoing 'long-distance' relationship with Lori. We get an insight into his fears, especially with the dream. You can feel the man starting to break up, bit by bit. Be thankful then, that Sgt Ford is the new protector/warrior. There is a section where Sgt Ford gets to work out his action-man mojo on some 'roamers'. On top of that, you get a new perspective on the undead - a startling new avenue of exploration that neatly dovetails with the arrival of the new characters and specifically Dr Eugene Porter. Alongside that, there is a sense of fatigue and agitation amongst some of the group. Finally, to say that the ending is shocking.........I gasped. I never really gasp when reading comics, but this ending - it made me gasp. Kirkman, as I have said before, really seems to put a lot of energy into ending the issues on a cliff-hanger. This one is one of the best. Trust me.

After the bloody denouement of the prison siege and the relative calm of the following issues, 'The Walking Dead' has now begun a trajectory that is near impossible to chart - but it is certainly going upwards and onwards, and it is managing to be exciting and consistent and credible. The shocks and revelations are believable whilst being exciting and they genuinely move the story on. Lets hope (please!) we get one more before the end of the year. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Verdict - I never get tired of praising this book - the best title out on the stands this year, any year. 10 out of 10.