Title: The Walking Dead.
Writer(s): Robert Kirkman.
Penciler(s): Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard.
Inker(S): TONY MOORE, CHARLIE ADLARD.
Gray Toner(S): TONY MOORE, CLIFF RATHBURN.
Letterer(s): Russ Wooton.
Publisher: Image Comics.
Format: Paperback – Compendium.
Release Date: May 19th, 2009.
Genre(s): Comics, Horror.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if it was overrun by zombies? What if there weren’t any more law enforcement to assure peace and order? What if you had to strive to survive on your own, looking for food and shelter, and to always be compelled to look over your shoulders? The world would be an ugly place. The people in it would be worse. Writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore thus had an idea and offered fans around the world the chance to discover a post-apocalyptic world where survival instincts are mandatory and a kind heart isn’t enough. Now a critically-acclaimed New York Times Best-Seller, The Walking Dead is the quintessential and definitive zombie horror tale. It has successfully delivered a highly successful live-action television series (although it progressively withered and is approaching its end) and paved the way to multiple other spin-offs.
What is The Walking Dead: Compendium One about? This behemoth of a book—I swear, you could use it as a weapon—collects the first eight volumes (issues #1-48) of the beloved post-apocalyptic comic book series and follows the story of Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes who awakens from a coma after having been shot on patrol. Oblivious to what is going on, he quickly discovers that an apocalyptic epidemic has swept the world, awakening the dead and destroying society in the process. Looking for answers while trying to stay alive, he rushes out into the city to find other survivors and gradually becomes a leader who will help everyone find an iota of respite no matter the costs. While the dead lurk and roam around them, Rick Grimes and the community he builds move forward, discovering various locations, from farms to prisons, as well as individuals who are either ready to help or ready to introduce them to a nightmare like none other.
If you’ve been following the show, let me start off by saying that the comic books are whole other beasts. There are significant changes in how events take place, how people die, who dies, and especially how dark, disgusting, and gory it all gets. This compendium has a lot to offer (going all the way up to the Governor story-arc) as it delivers a thrilling, page-flipping, and continuously-mind-blowing adventure where you’ll crave for more with each chapter passing by. As you progress through the story alongside Rick Grimes, you meet a lot of new characters who often get an impressive amount of characterization with so little dialogue exchanged. While you might be inclined to get attached to some, many will die along the way, never giving the reader any assurance that the future is a safe place for anyone. Alongside the rapid and perfectly-paced story and character development, it is also impressive to see this story reveal the one fact that is scarier than death itself: humans are monsters. And sometimes, this series does a majestic job in proving it, almost making the roamers and lurkers seem like the good guys. This is not for the faint of hearts and guarantees some of the most disgusting and messed up things that humans are capable of.
The black-and-white artwork greatly helps in conveying this tragic story filled with death, misery, and deception. The subtle facial expression hints at various emotional states that are never a good sign for what’s to come. Although artist Tony Moore only does the first six issues, both he and artist Charlie Adlard do a fantastic job in terms of consistency and plot twist revelation throughout their artwork. The splash pages to highlight major character deaths are unpredictable and incontestably shocking, making sure to remind us that the sky is the limit when it comes to the horror that a post-apocalyptic world has to offer. I also can’t help but emphasize how the artwork brilliantly captures the character development, unveiling so much more than anything spelled out to the reader, and giving us a good grasp of the mindset of these characters as they grow accustomed to their lives and how the world now works without law and order. While survival is key to a good life, it is also the bonds you create, from blood ties to friendship, that can save you from a swift death or a bite on the ass. The creative team behind this franchise knew exactly what they were doing and explores countless themes, from religion to love, through excellent characterization and distinctive artwork, to deliver an unforgettable survival story.
The Walking Dead: Compendium One is a phenomenal and definitive post-apocalyptic horror adventure where a group of survivors attempts to find hope in a world filled with unhinged or deceased monsters.