Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Walking Dead, Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars Review (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard)

Volume 3 of The Walking Dead might be the bleakest, bloodiest and most miserable in the series so far - and the first two volumes were pretty damn miserable! This is a book where the dead are dug out of their graves just to be shot in the head, and that’s not even counting the butchered children or the suicide pacts! 

So the group have made it to a prison which is infested with zombies but, once cleared, could be a safe haven for them. Inside are a handful of remaining inmates - but can these convicted criminals be trusted around the families? 

At this point in the series I’ve actually started to remember some of the characters’ names as a core number have survived but the cast is still very big and is continually dropping off and adding new characters so its difficult to care all that much when someone dies. 

Robert Kirkman’s dialogue also isn’t as terrible in this book though the tone remains unrelentingly dark. When kids are being killed or are planning on killing one another, the adults are standing around shell-shocked, crying internally or externally, with characters like Rick or Hershel melodramatically blaming themselves for all the death. When Rick dug up Shane to shoot him in the head again, I had to laugh at how absurdly depressing it all was - even when you’ve been killed once you’re not safe! 

I did notice one weird detail Kirkman’s added: whether you’ve been bitten or not, once you die, you become a zombie (also they call them zombies in the book, unlike the TV show where they’re called “walkers”). I don’t understand how that works - if you have the potential to become a zombie, shouldn’t you become a zombie rather than wait to die off? 

The inmates added an interesting slant as the story became a murder mystery over which one of the prisoners chopped up the kids, and the reveal was a surprise. There’s also the requisite zombie action which has already become rote and, despite the large cast, I’m not really interested in about 90% of their mundane stories.

I still don’t fully see what fans of the series do but the third volume is definitely a step up from the previous books and even manages to become quite exciting in parts. I’m bumping the rating up a star because Rick literally tells the ever-annoying Lori to shut the fuck up!

The Walking Dead Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars: Safety Behind Bars v. 3

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