|THE WALKING DEAD No. 115, October 2013|
As long-running comic books go “The Walking Dead” has arguably accumulated an intimidating and rich history which would be hard for any new reader to assail without first climbing a mountain of back issues or thick graphic novel reprints. The series’ character death toll alone is simply staggering and so many of these demises continue to haunt and motivate current storylines.
This particular edition however, in being the first edition to celebrate the title’s tenth anniversary and initiating the onset of the twelve-issue “All Out War” story-arc, is also in many ways a potential starting point for those unfamiliar with the franchise. It would certainly seem that publisher “Image Comics” thought so, having invested in no less than sixteen different (variant) covers for the same issue; ten of which connected together to form a tapestry of the series’ defining moments.
However, it really is hard to see why this particular book was the best-selling comic of 2013, and sold over 310,000 copies, as very little actually takes place within its pages. Indeed, Issue 115 is rather notorious for not having a single death, whether alive or zombified, in it. Not exactly the pulse-pounding start a reader might anticipate when embarking upon a six-month bi-weekly plot advertised as depicting Rick Grimes’ army of survivors battling the maniacal Negan and his murderous followers.
What Robert Kirkman’s script does contain in abundance however, is plenty of character exploration and relationship development; heavily interspersed with some huge boring double-page spreads, which were presumably drawn by Charlie Adlard to help make up the page count. In fact it isn’t until the last couple of pages, when the former police officer arrives at the large factory known as The Sanctuary, that any sort of tension or action occurs; and then it’s essentially all-talk with plenty of profanities thrown in.
There’s also an almost total absence of zombies from this comic… Something which is hard to imagine when the book is called “The Walking Dead”. Admittedly much of the title’s long-running success has been as a result of its co-creator concentrating on people not shambling cadavers. But even so, a comic based within the zombie apocalypse should surely not wait until the penultimate panel before depicting a close-up of one and then it isn’t actually doing anything but lurching about.
|The regular cover art of "THE WALKING DEAD" No. 115 by Charlie Adlard & Dave Stewart|