Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Walking Dead (Volume 7):

The Calm Before
Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

Just in time for Halloween, I devoured the latest volume of the popular zombie series from Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard in one sitting. I don’t know if I could read the title in single issues because, like the subtitle of this volume suggests, nothing really happened. It’s the calm before a disastrous storm that we get a glimpse of in the last few pages of this book. Leading up to the action-to-come was a whole lot of gathering supplies and weapons to prepare for the inevitable battle. Sure, a few minor incidents take place. The characters manage to feud a bit, and get hurt - and there’s even a casualty, but it’s pretty much a lot of brooding and talking and waiting. But it works. I really don’t mind spending time with the characters. Volume Four (Heart’s Desire) of the series was equally as quiet on the action front, but somehow Kirkman managed to keep things a little more interesting this time around, perhaps with the recent addition of several characters that play off of each other quite well through the harsh times. And in wake of such solitude (or as close as one can get in Kirkman’s post-apocalyptic setting), the final panels of this book were utterly chilling, despite the fact that it was expected from since before this volume was collected. But while this installment was important to the overall story that Kirkman is telling of these survivors, one can’t help but anticipate the next volume and overlook the small moments that make up this particular installment. It’s the nature of the mode of storytelling Kirkman has adopted for his series. There will be volumes where not much happens, where the spotlight is completely on the cast and their relationships to one another. Because if we don’t have characters that we care about, then why would we care about what happens to this eclectic cast? There’s such an interesting dynamic that it would be a shame not to play around with it. But that does mean that we’re going to have volumes like this one that feel like filler, that make the payoffs that much better in subsequent books. B

No comments: