So, I was kind of harsh last time on my review of this series despite the high score I gave it. There’s a rhythm to Robert Kirkman’s long-form writing and the last issue served as the boomerang about to be thrown again. Here, it has been tossed, it’s going far, whistling through the air, and it’s bound to come back again. But, for now, this is exactly what is great about The Walking Dead and makes me want to keep picking up The Walking Dead Deluxe.
There are times where I am happy to support this series, to give money to such a great comic and a cultural landmark that The Walking Dead became. Then, there are other times where I read Robert Kirkman’s defense of himself in his Letter Hacks section, and the argument he makes now for why this series is important to pick up again in color. Something I’ve been certain of for a while now is that Robert Kirkman is a great businessman. I never really doubted that, but this series shows me that he’s good at making us, the audience, believe in his claims of artistry. But, follow the money and he’s trying to make a buck like the rest of us.
But, if we’re getting what we want and so is he, I don’t see anything wrong with it, I just wanted to solidify my opinion of Kirkman. A good storyteller; a great businessman. Makes sense he’d end up at Image with Todd McFarlane, I’d argue the predecessor of Kirkman’s archetype. And to emphasize, I don’t think this is a bad thing!
We jump in right from the cliffhanger that left off with Hershel mentioning the barn and what they keep in it. This is great. I love the differing perspectives that Hershel and Rick have, particularly because Hershel’s point is completely character-driven. He’s in grief over the loss of his son and it’s clouding his judgment. And, in zombie stories? There’s always a price to pay for sentimentality like that. And Hershel pays it, tenfold.
There are a lot of great little moments and a lot of great big moments as well. Once again, this is Kirkman on fire and at his absolute best. He finally wrote something in his Cutting Room Floor segment that I appreciated. He mentioned how this scene takes all of Season 2 from the show and he worried a bit about how little he stretched this concept, but he doesn’t actually regret it. He’s glad he went through it quickly. Maybe I was too quick to judge the last review because he addresses my criticism of this story being too compressed.
Either way, I’m glad he didn’t mess with it one way or another because this makes a great issue just the way it is. By the way, Glen and Maggie are the secret stars of this issue. There are so many little moments with them that are great and Kirkman juggles everything so deftly, it’s great.
There are some issues where I don’t think Dave McCaig’s colors are necessary. This is not one of those issues. I once again found the colors really making the peril and tension of this issue pop again. Of course, I seem to say that when there are zombies. Because he just colors them so well, they look gross, and the blood and panic! It makes the issues that are just talking heads even harder to bare though.
Something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while that is art-related is the Covers and the overall design for The Walking Dead Deluxe. Andres Juarez is credited with the Logo and the overall Design of the comic. The logo is well known and iconic at this point but the design is great too. I love the credits page with the ‘previously on’ and the re-colorized Letter Hacks pages. They’ve gone from the old black and dated look to a new, sleek, white appearance. But, not totally white, a little splotchy and dirty, just like The Walking Dead. I just want to say that I love the design of this comic too.
As for the covers, I haven’t been a fan of the main covers for The Walking Dead Deluxe. David Finch has been at the helm on the covers and they are just… uninspired. I have a pretty complex relationship with David Finch. Sometimes I love his work, sometimes I hate it. Sometimes I’m ambivalent. My biggest issue is the lack of creativity. Each issue cover is just an enhanced image of a scene from the comic. Of course, this series can be seen as a Greatest Hits thing, so it makes sense. And money, right? It makes sense to capitalize on the most recognizable moments.
But, the comic book fan in me wants more inspired covers! The Tony Moore and Julian Totino Tedesco alternate covers that we always get a look at it in the back of the book look more interesting, I guess that’s why they are variants though. Still, I love creative covers and Finch is playing it really safe, just like his own artwork. Except when he drew the Blob in Ultimatum. I’ll never forget that for as long as I live. Truly nightmarish.
The Walking Dead Deluxe #10 and #11 perfectly represent The Walking Dead for me on a microcosm. The way #10 decelerates everything to a grinding halt and the way #11 ramps everything up into a madhouse? That’s The Walking Dead, for better or for worse. It will always rise high and then sink low into boring exposition and plot set up. I don’t know what the solution might’ve been when Kirkman was writing it originally. I guess there isn’t one because look how many people loved it and how successful it has been.
I will say that my criticism of the covers and The Cutting Room Floor portion still stand. It’s not substantial enough and Kirkman needs to rethink what he’s doing with it. It’s not enough to give me a small paragraph of something interesting. Go beyond the issue notes and actually give us more interesting stuff. It’s not like he’s got a bunch of series going on anymore anyway…
If you love the Walking Dead enough to read this review, you’re going to pick up the comic anyway. And I think you should. So just go buy it already. You know you were going to anyway.