Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Walking Dead: Volume 1 - Days Gone Bye Review

The Walking Dead has become an absolute phenomenon as of late, and so I thought that I'd dust off Volume 1 of the comics and give it a review for those who are interested. First of all, I should say whether you watched the first season of The Walking Dead TV show or not - if you want to get into the comics - you still need to start with Volume 1. Simply because there are quite a few changes that the TV Series made - some minor, some quite big - so don't go skipping to future volumes, as you'll miss a great opportunity to get to know these characters deeply.

One thing that the two versions share is how this all begins. Rick Grimes, a police officer working in the USA, gets shot while trying to arrest a generic law-breaker. The consequence of this is that he is sent into a coma for many weeks - and while he's in the coma, this whole zombie thing kicks off.

The events that follow that range from exciting escapes from a zombie horde, to camp-fire chats as Rick gets to know some of his fellow survivors. What I'm really saying is you won't get bored reading this book.

Robert Kirkman's writing I believe is pretty good, however it should be made clear that this comic is for mature readers only. While it begins fairly tame, it gets a lot darker and a lot more explicit as the book goes on. And speaking as someone who has read ten volumes, it only gets worse for there on out with many gruesome scenes in the following volumes.
But, we should really focus on this volume seeming as that's what we're reviewing, and I have to say that while it's an entertaining read, don't expect anything too mind-blowing just yet. After all, this volume is really just setting the scene, introducing the reader to this grim world and the characters in it. Kirkman writes up some interesting character back-stories to keep even the non-action scenes fun to read.

However, one of the main complaints I have with the book is the script. While good for the most part, there are many lines that feel forced and out of place which took me out of the read a little. Add to that the fact that some characters can end up sounding the same and you have a script that needs a little work. Thankfully, its nothing too major at this point, and so the book isn't too affected.

The art in the book is well drawn and interestingly left in black and white. This was most likely a creative move to portray a world so miserable, that it is devoid of colour. Despite the lack of colour it is still easy to differentiate between characters and times of the day due to the use of different shades, meaning this unorthodox art style pays off and doesn't get at all confusing.

To conclude, I think that Volume 1 of the Walking Dead is a good start to a great series, but believe me when I say better stories are yet to come. This doesn't stop it from remaining an entertaining read, but to new fans I advise you stay with it for at least another two volumes. If you're not sucked in by that point, then you've got some serious problems.


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