Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Walking Dead, Volume 14: No Way Out Review (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard)

This bleedin’ colony…

Rick and co. are so cosy in their walled-in compound that the story has become about the various characters hooking up, like a post-zombie apocalypse Big Brother – argh, true horror! Thankfully Robert Kirkman stirs the pot a bit by throwing a massive zombie herd at them which manages to breach their walls and kill off a bunch of the survivors.

There isn’t much to say about the first two-thirds of this volume – Rick gets some, other characters get laid, everyone spins their wheels – but the final third saves this volume from being a total waste. If you’re like me and find the paper-thin characters’ dying off hilarious, you’ll be chuckling quite a bit in this one!

It says a lot about Kirkman’s shoddy character work that I didn’t care while watching one after another die gruesomely and found the earnestness with which the other characters’ reacted to their deaths be funny rather than tragic. I know that makes me sound a little crazy but I just don’t buy half of these characters as even halfway real so it’s not like seeing people I care about dying. Oh, and the arm-chopping in this book felt more slapstick than anything else too – great comic timing, Charlie Adlard! 

That said, a character who’s been here from the start gets killed and I still laughed – maybe because of the double splash page over-announcing its importance and the way the character looked when they got it? Either way there’s no way the character lives after that injury and if they do I’ll be seriously annoyed – I didn’t like them much anyway! 

This volume raises a lot of questions about the zombies themselves.

These zombies move slowly right - they’re not like the rage zombies from 28 Days Later, sprinting towards you? They shuffle forward in droves. So why, when it comes to running away from them, does Maggie say that she can’t do it? Why can’t Maggie outrun a bunch of shuffling, braindead corpses? They can’t run, you can – what’s the problem? Even a light jog seems sufficient to put distance between you and them, so you don’t tire yourself out too soon. Plot hole?

And why does it take this long for Rick to realise that the survivors don’t have to cower before the ranks of the zombies, that they can raise an army and fight them back? It’s taken him 14 volumes to realise that he and others like him, with their wits about them and all the weaponry they could ask for, could perhaps stand up to unarmed, shuffling corpses who can’t think! Michonne was doing this by herself before she joined the group – how thick is everyone in this world?!

Like the Kevin Costner movie of the same name, No Way Out is a really dull and repetitive volume in this increasingly stale series. The group finding this safe colony was by far the worst thing to happen to the story and we’re seemingly stuck with it for now. I really hope the series improves from here on out but until they have this sanctuary taken from them, I’m not sure how it will.

The Walking Dead Volume 14: No Way Out

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