Hershel’s Farm. Remember this place? What was a pitstop in the comic was an entire season of the TV Show. Yes, I still feel like I’m burned out by the farm to this day. I got to this issue and felt a little less enthusiastic than I did last issue, simply by seeing this place. I’m just messing around, but it did take forever to get out of here last time.
This is the interesting part of The Walking Dead Deluxe experiment. With the fervor of the early issues worn off, are we still excited to jump into this series? I used to say yes, it is worth it. But now? I’m questioning myself more and more.
This issue is another baton pass. The cliffhanger from the last issue leads us to believe that something really crazy happened, Carl got shot. And yes, that is crazy, but it is resolved so quickly and brushed aside to deal with other issues that you really don’t worry too much about it past a page or two. That’s not a great extraction of drama from Kirkman. At this point, he knew the series wasn’t going to get canceled around #12, so he could’ve done more here but it isn’t a big deal.
Other than that, it’s just a lot of small advancements on the character arcs. A couple has a fight here, a couple sparks a romance there, an argument breaks out over yonder, etc. Like I’ve said before, Kirkman has issues like this where he is just setting up some dominoes to knock them down. We had a very exciting issue in #10, so it’s time to take a step back, slow it down and begin building again. I think Kirkman’s style can be frustrating at times. It’s great when you’re on the high, but it’s not the best when you’re on a low. Because later on, those lulls are going to get a lot longer.
This is going to be another issue where I’m not sure that the colors provided by Dave McCaig really drive up the price of admission. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the art in this issue but after reading it and then flipping through the pages as a general overview of the art, it just doesn’t strike me as necessary.
I’ve discussed it before, but Charlie Adlard is a wonderful noir artist. His use of shadows is of an expert level. The panel of Rick and Lori sitting in Carl’s room, waiting, is amazing. It perfectly captures the mood, but I think it was totally great in black and white the first time around and the color doesn’t really change that for me. A lot of the panels are filled with blank backgrounds that take on a dull color to not create a distraction. In fact, there are a lot of scenes that have lowkey color palettes because it is winter and the story is grim, but that begs the question of why color is necessarily needed.
I’m kind of coming to the conclusion that the color isn’t going to be the game-changer under Charlie Adlard that it was during Tony Moore’s run. There are issues where it really changes things when there’s a lot of zombies and gore, but here? It doesn’t add anything. $3.99 starts looking like a big price tag for a series that I’ve already read and the new feature isn’t grabbing my eyes.
Still, Charlie Adlard kills it here. As usual.
My review sounds a lot harsher than the reality. Really, I’m analyzing this series as a whole and taking this issue as an example of the stylistic choices that I’m not nuts about. Kirkman tends to attack and retreat aggressively with his writing. Push to the brink of insanity and then retreat to the point of banality. The colors aren’t elevating the series to a new height, I’d even go so far as to say this issue was better in black and white because of the atmosphere that would provide for the farm. But, that’s not going to be the most issues and hasn’t been the case for most issues so far.
We get the Letter Hacks segment reprinted as well and this issue has just too many. I like reading Letter Pages, but there are 5-pages of letters. More content is always a bad thing, but my complaint is that I feel like Kirkman and company are using the extended Letter Hacks as a reason not to give us more from The Cutting Room Floor segment.
That portion of the Deluxe upgrade has been downright bad the past couple of issues. Once again, he offers almost nothing interesting in terms of insight into the characters. What’s your inspiration for Rick? Did you have ideas for big villains yet? Any curve balls you throw in last minute? He’s just saying nothing substantial, he’s analyzing his notes from issue to issue and it doesn’t provide much for the creative process.
The final score reflects that the issue is a good issue. It was originally and it still is. I am questioning the concept of The Walking Dead Deluxe though. Do we really need this? I look forward to answering that question more in-depth in the next couple of issues. After all, if the story plays out just as well in black and white and The Cutting Room Floor portion is lackluster, why bother?