The Big Switch. I feel like last issue, I made a big deal saying “THIS is the big one!” But, really, THIS one is the big one! With The Walking Dead Deluxe #7, Tony Moore switches off art and Charlie Adlard switches on. For those that don’t already know, Charlie Adlard sticks with The Walking Dead for the rest of its existence. That’s right, he draws this thing all the way up to The Walking Dead #197.
It’s been well-documented before this, but this is really where the series changes. Robert Kirkman wasn’t sure if The Walking Dead was going to last past six-issues, so he planned the possible end of the series to be with Shane’s death. Fortunately, the series didn’t end. Now, the gang is on the move and we are introduced to one of my favorite Walking Dead characters, Tyreese.
I’m not going to lie, this is issue is really clunky. We’ll get to the art, but there’s a lot of transitioning into a new identity and the issue tries to explain absolutely everything. The conversations between Rick and Tyreese are excessive. I like Kirkman and his writing style, but this issue has a lot of word vomit, where characters are talking a lot but they aren’t saying much. That’s a personal hang-up for me, I don’t like gigantic word bubbles over-encumbering the panels. I came to read some words, but I really want to look at the pictures too, plus, the flow of storytelling and pacing that is affected by the enormous amount of dialogue.
The funeral for Shane is nice, but this is one part of the Kirkman experience that I wasn’t always a fan of. There are just very slow, low points. You hit awesome highs, and then he drags the pacing to a complete, dead, stop. No pulse. Anyway, it’s exciting to see Rick and Tyreese in action for the first time again, but the writing can be clunky here.
Here’s what you came to find out about. How does Charlie Adlard’s art look in color? In earlier issues, I raved about how amazing Dave McCaig’s colors looked on Tony Moore’s art. And it did, I felt like I was seeing a whole new world with the addition of color. Unfortunately, I haven’t felt the same with the first issue of Charlie Adlard’s art. The colors just don’t add as much with his heavy shadows.
Tony Moore is a lot more expressive, and the colors really pop with his art. Adlard is a lot more subdued and he relies a lot on shadows. Because of that, very few of the scenes seem to pop and make you catch your breath. Tony Moore’s renditions of a dead Atlanta in the distance were a sight to behold. That’s not to say that it is ugly, but Adlard has some inconsistencies. Things like the shape of Rick’s head will vary from panel to panel, and general anatomy can be inconsistent.
Like I said, I like Charlie Adlard, and I think this is really just growing pains from transitioning from one artist to another. Tony Moore is extremely detailed, to a degree that Adlard isn’t, but that also brings his challenges with keeping up with monthly books. Something Adlard was able to handle. I am curious about how I will feel moving forward, is this just a first issue thing, or does Adlard’s art not translate into color the way Moore’s did. Is it wholly unnecessary and his work looks better in greyscale? I guess we’ll find out.
This issue has got some big extras. It comes with double the amount of Letter Hacks letter pages. There are a couple of pages to modern-day letters and a couple from the original printing. As usual, there is some hilarious irony in Kirkman’s denial of the series needing color. But, before all of that, there is an interesting apology/appeal to Tony Moore and his fans. Kirkman explains the switch-over and talks about his regrets of not working with Tony anymore. I know there was controversy with them and ownership stuff regarding the franchise, and I’m not well-researched enough to know who was in the right and wrong (although I suspect it’s Kirkman, going off his message to the fans, but really to Tony). It’s at least interesting to read from him and shape your own opinions on the situation.
The Cutting Room Floor segment after the letters pages has some fun anecdotes, nothing mind-blowing but more focused than a couple have been in the past.
This issue is a bit of a down issue for me, even though it introduces possibly my favorite Walking Dead character. There is absolutely too much dialogue, Kirkman is a good writer but he overplays his hand here (and will many times in the future). I know it’s supposed to be more ‘naturalistic’ and ‘how real people would be’ but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to read gigantic walls of text, rather than letting the story flow and let the art do some lifting too.