Sunday, June 23, 2013

REVIEW: The Walking Dead #111

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

Almost ten years of The Walking Dead and we find ourselves on issue #111. As a fan that has been with this book since the very beginning I can say...this book is now garbage. Line your cat boxes with it's pages, The Walking Dead is now one of the worst comics money can buy. One of the most realistic zombie/human dramadies of our time now has tigers that obey commands, a George Clinton doppelganger who speaks olde English, and the Governor 2.

If you read TWD today, great arcs like Fear the Hunters are long gone. The worst part is that everyone I know is still reading, including myself. We buy this book now out of habit because it used to blow our hair back like nothing else. Now it is another example of a successful television show ruining the source material, an uber successful writer resting on his laurels, and a plot spun out of control that has jumped the shark about thirty times since the one hundredth issue hit comic store shelves.

The worst part about this book is how insanely slow the plot moves. Nothing will happen for six months, followed by one action packed issue. Kirkman defends this in Letter Hacks by saying that his predictable formula of 6 parts boredom/1 part action is a staple of the book, when every fan I know just wants to see something interesting. Developing characters doesn't necessary mean boredom. BKV and Fiona Staples do a great job of this with Saga.

Neegan is a cheap imitation of the Governor. The only discernible difference between the two characters at this point is that he is openly sadistic, while the Governor used a bit of subterfuge in order to appear to be a benevolent leader. The way they exercise control over their societies differs greatly.Neegan's twisted sense of morality is put on full display in #111. It is one of the better single issues to come out in sometime admittedly, but that's not saying a lot. Even #111 is well below average, and it's clear at this point that we're dealing with a creative team that's trying to squeeze every nickel out of every arc through boring, flaccid storytelling. Kirkman says that the tiger and the master of funk are an example of "how far the world is gone". It's more of an example of how far detached Kirkman is from his hardcore fan base than anything else.

And while the hardcore fans hope and pray that this book could once again become great, our hopes dwindle more and more each month. TWD is filled with insanely predictable storytelling tropes including the pace of the book, one issue out of six being action packed, and the inevitable death of a long time character being a major event. What made this book great in the past was that it would continually surprise the reader. It was a gritty, raw, and realistic tale of humanity surviving in one of the most terrible landscapes imaginable. Characters like Jesus, George Clinton, Neegan, and the tiger do not come close to replacing characters like Glenn and Abraham. The release of this book used to be the highlight of my week, now it is the last thing that I read on my pull list. TWD is two bad arcs away from getting removed completely. This is something that I would have thought unthinkable a year ago. Smarten up guys, you're almost out of compelling source material for your television show.

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