I missed the first season of The Walking Dead when it aired on AMC. I caught up, of course, leading into the second season (which I skipped large portions of, it was so boring). I had read the comics beforehand so by the end of Season 1, I was expecting Shane’s death to come any second. And. It. Never. Did. What was going on? This guy died so early in the comics?
Shane’s insanity was entertaining and it began the world’s fascination with Jon Bernthal, so I can’t complain too much, but it felt drawn out. There’s dragging out a story and there is Herschel’s farm. And then, there’s blowing through a story too fast without exploring the concept fully. Did Kirkman land on the other end of the spectrum? Did he need to die in The Walking Dead Deluxe #6?
This is the big one. Dealing with the aftermath of Amy’s death and the spiraling condition of Jim, the survivors are at an all-time low. What’s so great about this comic is how fast it reads. Everything is flowing so naturally from the previous issue that there almost feels like there is no work like figuring out scene structure and pacing, it feels so natural. That’s such a big compliment to Kirkman as a writer, his ability to disguise the structure of his story to feel like it is really happening.
I think that effect can bite him in the ass later on down the line, but here? It’s perfect. It all flows into the climax with Rick and Shane. A lot of writers might stray away from what Kirkman does to resolve it, but it feels perfect and from what I know of how things go later, it plays well into Carl’s development. I will say that Shane’s snap feels a bit premature, I won’t say it is a huge mistake but I think The Walking Dead could’ve pumped him for a bit more drama before coming to his conclusion. Not as far as the show took it, they went overboard with drawing out the drama.
This is Tony Moore’s final issue on The Walking Dead and he makes sure to make it a memorable one. From the funeral to the silence afterward, to Jim’s remorse and the insanity of Shane at the end, Tony Moore knocks it out of the park. That final page has such a serenity to it, in the wake of the death of innocence. That juxtaposition is perfection.
Dave McCaig continues to kill it on coloring duties. I wasn’t always happy with the contrast of the zombies to the backgrounds at times, but this new dimension of color has made scenes even more vivid. The blood spurting out of Shane’s neck and the scenery at the end pop so much more than the original black and white issues did.
I’ll be sad to see Tony Moore go, he had great things ahead of him following his time on The Walking Dead. It’s almost fitting that he leaves with Shane. I’m excited for Charlie Adlard, but I always fondly look at Tony Moore’s time on The Walking Dead as it’s own mini-era.
Robert Kirkman is a funny guy. In the letter pages, he says that he never wants to have a series where there are a ton of variants. Ironic, considering the end of the issue has an advertisement for all of the variants available for this issue and the next. But, that’s Kirkman. He’s a good businessman. The letter pages and Cutting Room Floor have some cool stuff like the alternate ending idea to The Walking Dead #6. I know Kirkman has said that he has told the story before but it was the first time hearing about the ‘Rick dies’ ending, which was interesting and a cool thought experiment on how The Walking Dead would’ve turned out in-universe and out if that happened.
This is a landmark issue, if you’re interested in The Walking Dead, you have to read this issue. It’s what shows us that this isn’t just a zombie comic. Sure, the other issues have been good but this one doesn’t even have zombies in it! Kirkman teases the true nature of the title of this comic in the letter pages, but I’d say that Shane sums it up nicely too. I wish the Shane drama was expanded a bit more, as does Kirkman from his words in The Cutting Room Floor, but I’d rather it was too short than too long. See you in the rewatch of the show, Shane.