Top critical review
Pretty good, but...(SPOILERS)
on 31 December 2013
I read the first seven volumes of The Walking Dead a few years ago and then stopped until I got this volume for Christmas. I have to say, I'm surprised at all the five star reviews of this volume. I guess a lot of the people who wrote these reviews will already have been fans of the series so they would know what to expect when they picked this volume up.
It was good. Pretty good. But there were a couple of plot points that I felt were brought up and then left unexplained.
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE
First of all, there is a whole page where the Woodburies are preparing to attack in which the Governor talks about waiting for a month or more, but that lapse of time isn't mentioned anywhere else. I found that a bit weird and I wonder if Kirkman was trying to fill out a page count.
Also, during the siege the Gov mentions a "pied piper" plan, which is never mentioned again and never comes to fruition. What was this plan and why did Kirkman choose to write it into the book if it wasn't going to happen? Was it to lure Michonne and the other guy to come after them? It certainly didn't seem like they were expecting that. I can understand wanting to leave the readers wondering what is going to happen and being unpredictable, but it seems like a strange choice to explicitly refer to something and then never go into it again.
Finally, the characters just didn't seem as compelling as I remember. The Gov just kind of seems objectively evil and is characterised as shouting NOW a lot. I thought we might see some kind of interesting parallels between Rick and the Gov because they'd both lost the same arm but that never developed which was kind of disappointing. I think it's a tough ask having to introduce new characters all the time and keep them interesting and authentic-feeling and for the most part Kirkman succeeds but it feels like maybe it is becoming difficult for him.
Basically if you've got this far and enjoyed it then you probably know exactly what you're getting and will also enjoy this volume. If you are looking at getting into the series however you might be warned that the characters seem to flatten out over time and Kirkman has the slightly annoying habit of introducing plot points which are never fully addressed (unless of course I am mistaken and they refer to things mentioned in previous volumes). Going back to the series after a few years away I have to say it isn't the most compelling comic I've read. It is enjoyable though so if you're looking for something to get into you might like this, however I would argue it's been a bit over-hyped by this point and might even go so far as to say the comic's success could be affecting the rigour with which Kirkman executes his stories and characters.