I'd never heard of Robert Kirkman or his ongoing comic series The Walking Dead but I've always had rather a soft spot for zombies, bless 'em, so when Amazon recommended Book 1
I gave it a shot & was utterly glad I did! This is by far the most exciting, fun, gory & thought-provoking series I've seen in a long time!
If you haven't heard of The Walking Dead before, it opens with small-town cop Rick waking up from a coma in a deserted hospital, to find that the area has been overrun by the living dead. Like the beginning of 28 Days Later
, this puts us straight into the action without having to summarise how this came about. Anyway, Rick heads to Atlanta to look for his family, only to find it's one big zombiefest. He soon teams up with some other survivors & since military rescue doesn't seem to be forthcoming, they set about clearing the zombies out of the local prison, so they can set up camp there. This echoes the shopping mall in Dawn Of The Dead
In theory, that would be a good plan, as they have fences & high walls to keep out the undead. In practise, these people are traumatised & constantly surrounded by danger, so tend to implode during lulls in the action, when they have too much time on their hands to contemplate the madness around them. They also find that there are other survivors out there & not all of them are friendly - after all, a key dynamic in George A. Romero's classic zombie flicks was always conflicts among the living - particularly in Night of the Living Dead
Because believable characters are so important, this series would only work if it was incredibly well written - and it is. Kirkman is incredibly economical, fitting a huge amount of character development into brief lulls in the action. He's brutally unsentimental, too, fleshing out characters in interesting ways & then suddenly killing them off. No one is safe - he proves time & again that any character can be killed off at any time. That really makes this series work.
This collection covers #1-48 of the comic, also reproduced as #1-8 of the softcover trade paperbacks & #1-4 of the hardcovers. This is only the first part of the story but it ends at the completion of a major storyline, so can be read as a complete book in itself. This collection is incredibly good value, too - this material would cost around £70 if you bought the hardcovers, around £55 if you bought the softcovers. The only problem with it is that it's hard to resist the temptation to read great chunks of it in one sitting & see hours race by!