Volume 3 opens on an uncharacteristically upbeat note - despite underlying tensions following on from the end of volume 2, Rick & his fellow survivors are still making the prison a zombie-free zone so they can hide out there. Not only have they found a generator but also riot gear, which should protect them against rotting zombie teeth. Then they spot a helicopter flying overhead, which crash-lands nearby. This can only mean one thing - more survivors! And that can only be a good thing - right?
Anyway, that's about the first 5 pages summed up - I wouldn't want to give away any more of the story but I will say that this is the darkest chapter yet, with some truly disturbing sequences. Writer Robert Kirkman demonstrated in volumes 1 & 2 that he isn't afraid to kill off established characters & here they are given an even rougher ride. Fortunately, Adlard's black & white artwork makes it somewhat easier to stomach than if they'd filmed it in widescreen in full technicolour. But it's not just blood & guts - there's an intelligent, character-driven storyline which kept me wanting more. As with the first 2 volumes, I found myself planning to ration it but once again couldn't help finishing it all in one sitting.
This volume covers #25-36 of the comic, or #5-6 of the softcover TPB's. Once again, it includes a handful of sketches & cover art with oversized pages in a good quality hard cover. In my opinion, this is the best format to buy this series in because if you love it as much as me, you'll want to re-read it over again in the future.