Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Walking Dead, Volume 28: A Certain Doom Review (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard)

I never know what to expect with The Walking Dead because the quality ebbs and flows - two books in a row might stink but the next will be great, and so on like that. So I’m delighted to say that Volume 28: A Certain Doom is not just one of the good ones but also one of the best additions to the series yet! 

The biggest challenge Rick’s group has ever faced is upon them: a thousands-strong herd of zombies sent their way by the Whisperers. Even if they survive, some are bound to fall - but who? 

From the first page to the last, Robert Kirkman keeps up the tension and suspense fantastically. Right away it’s all hands on deck as Rick and co. battle against an almost impossible number of zombies and it’s really exciting to see the various splinter groups trying different tactics to deal with them. 

Negan in particular has a lot of great scenes. The conversation he has with Rick after they’re penned into a house by the herd revealed a lot about his worldview and gave his character more depth. I think I like him so much because he’s still such a wildcard. Even though he seems to be a good guy now, given that he’s done such fucked up shit in the past, I keep expecting him to turn back into the psycho villain he was when we first met him. He gives a brilliant speech at the end too but I also wouldn’t have been surprised if he had turned to Rick, sucker-punched him and walked off with a new group to raise hell once again. 

But definitely the most memorable part was the death of a longtime major character. Of course I won’t spoil who it was here but I will say that Kirkman had me guessing the whole time as to who it was gonna be. You think it’s this one and then, nope, they’re safe, it’s gonna be someone else, nuh-uh, and then… The storytelling is absolutely gripping and surprising. 

And full credit to Kirkman for his writing here. The plotting is perfect and so is the execution. Looking back to earlier clunkers in the series like the “WE are the walking dead” line (and he’s still dropping the occasional eye-roller here - “I’m too scared to be scared”), Kirkman’s clearly grown as a writer and realised that sometimes the most powerful thing a character can say is nothing at all. He handled the death scene masterfully, letting Charlie Adlard’s visuals say what his words can’t (and Adlard also does some of his best work in this book) making for an unexpectedly emotional but beautiful farewell for this character. 

There’s more in this volume than just the herd and the death but I won’t give anything away here. Suffice it to say there’s a helluva lot going on in this one and the drama never lets up at any time. I loved it. 

28 volumes in and, like its own unstoppable zombie herd, The Walking Dead still shows no sign of letting up. “There is still so much to do” says Rick. I may have a love/hate relationship with this title but so long as we continue to get books of this quality every so often I’m gonna keep reading to see what these characters do next!

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