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4.7 out of 5 stars141
4.7 out of 5 stars
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This review is largely spoiler free, though I do make reference to events in the previous volume….

As the front cover suggests, it’s now winter and post-apocalyptic America is blanketed in snow. As the group of survivors pay their last respects (or spit vitriol) at Shane’s grave during the first few pages, lurking at the back of their minds are the hot topics of leadership and food. Rick semi-officially takes ownership of the tough decisions and the troupe hit the road. As I say – this all takes place at the beginning of the volume, so after the first few pages the RV starts a life-or-death road-trip and the realities of finding resources are jarringly stark.

As with the first volume, the story is less about zombies and more about the soap-opera politics of every day life. And Volume 2 doesn’t disappoint there – from young love and dealing with loss, to mature physical relationships and the ugly side of desperation – sometimes you forget that world is full of walking, rotting, stinking corpses. The true horror of this volume again bypasses the zombie horde and is more focussed on the personal losses experienced by some, by concerning itself with a few tragic losses rather than the whole sorry situation, Kirkman is able to successfully inject more emotion into the story. Some characters behave in unpleasant ways but we understand their actions because we sympathise with them. Throwing out a band of refugees into the hideous wilderness seems heartless, but when we see a man lose his children and have to provide for the rest of his family with limited resources – such an act seems to make more sense.

Some other reviews have criticised the artwork here because some of the characters look less distinct. I didn’t notice it at first but when having a second look I can see how the differences between characters are less defined than in Volume 1. The artwork is far from shoddy however and there is good use of heavy blacks and a pleasant symmetry to the frames on most pages which I only realised when checking back through the book. Those who are reading the books after watching the TV series may be surprised at how quickly paced this is in comparison – this roughly covers the second series, though many characters and events are different. I do feel that because I have watched the TV series, I have benefitted from extra character development as the book has so much happening that no single character has a large chunk of time spent with them. That is not a criticism – these are two different mediums and the books are much more epic in their scope, the character development *is* there and it’s important to not compare key events between the two as they run on massively different timescales. Also worth mentioning is the Afterword by Simon Pegg – the guy is a zombie aficionado and his observations on zombie culture aren’t ground-breaking (they mirror what you’d hear in any Romero documentary) but his piece is neatly constructed and ‘updated’ for the modern zombie-fan, plus his advice to read The Walking Dead like a zombie and “take it slow” is spot on.

In a nutshell: I feel a bit mean giving this 4 stars but Amazon won’t let me give 4.5. Though not as strong as the first volume and with dialogue which seems a tad less ‘real’ than before, this is still a strong book and ranks higher than most graphic novels I’ve read. My other half is ahead of me at the moment and she also felt that volume 2 dipped slightly, but she also assures me that The Walking Dead picked up in the third volume and maintains the level for some time. Yes – the art is a bit different but taste will determine whether you prefer it or not, I preferred Moore’s artwork but that doesn’t mean I dislike this. Volume 2 almost felt as though it was setting the scene for the very last page, making us aware of how important a goal our band of zombie-dodgers have of finding sanctuary – I didn’t feel at all let down by this book, instead it felt like a stepping stone to the next phase – and I’m going to stop typing now and start on Volume 3.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 February 2014
AARRRGH, the zombie apocalypse continues! Rick and his miserable band of survivors leave their camp outside Atlanta and potter about the devastated countryside looking for a safe place to stay. They find an abandoned gated community that looks safe… AAAAARGGGH! ZOMBIES!!! Then they find a farm that looks safe… AARRRRGH! MORE ZOMBIES!!! Then they find a prison that looks safe… probably AAARGH! EVEN MORE ZOMBIES (we’ll find out in Volume 3)!!!!! So yeah, pretty repetitive and predictable stuff - but actually not a terrible comic for all that.

The problem remains the lack of characterisation and the unremarkable dialogue – Robert Kirkman just isn’t much of a writer. He can come up with decent scenarios like putting the survivors into a gated community with some zombies, or the whole situation on the farm with Herschel, but he doesn’t have the ability to make you care about any of the characters. Characters die all the time and the other characters – usually a loved one like a husband – is absolutely devastated. But the reader? Completely unfazed. Oh – was that emotional for you to see that two dimensional cardboard cut-out of a “character” die? Maybe for the other “characters” but not for the audience. Oh look some new “characters” to fill up the numbers. They’ll probably die soon. Eh.

Most of this volume is full of cheesy melodrama. Lori’s preggers – but Rick’s only just come onto the scene, weeks after she’s been with Shane. Camera close up of boring Rick’s bland pained face - duh duh duuuuuuuh! And everyone’s getting it on. Dale – the retiree with the camper van? He’s sleeping with Andrea, a young woman roughly a third his age. What?!?! There are younger men around, Andrea – look at Glenn! Why go for the guy with the most liver spots?! Speaking of Glenn, he pairs up with Maggie, the farm girl. This series should be called “The Dead and the Restless” or “Zombie Dynasty” the way these guys carry on!

While I think Kirkman’s writing leaves a lot to be desired, he does manage to reach new heights with Herschel’s farm. Herschel’s been keeping his zombie family in the barn with the hope that a cure from somewhere will somehow bring them back to him. His conversation with Rick about their differing ways of dealing with zombies felt emotional and real. The zombie action is also pretty damn good – Kirkman manages to take these slow-moving rotting corpses and make them a viable threat to able-bodied people with weapons in some pretty decent set pieces. I think it’s just the sheer numbers that make them so terrifying. Sure you can shoot a bunch, but what happens when you run out of bullets?

The art remains unremarkable but serviceable enough for the story. It’s black and white look suits the story which is still gloomy as hell but the relentless misery hasn’t put me off the series yet. So far, The Walking Dead is an ok title but not a masterpiece by a longshot. Neither Kirkman nor Charlie Adlard are doing anything original, either technically or conceptually regarding the genre and the format, but they’re giving us a decent zombie horror story at least. I’m still on board for the series and hope that both creators pick up their game in later volumes.
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on 3 February 2009
The second volume of the Walking Dead continues from where we left off in Volume 1, however with Charlie Adlard replacing Tony Moore as the main artist.

The art is one of my two main gripes with this second volume. As other reviewers have said, the quality of the art is often extremely shabby in comparison to Moore's, it is often too jagged and disproportionate with awkward grey tones.
For example: 1)Faces often look peculiar, with eyes being set far above where they should, and they look strange from certain angles. 2)Several faces look far too similar i.e. Hershel, Rick, and Dale often look identical albeit with slightly different hair. This can be quite confusing. 3)Adlard's annoying way of drawing chequered clothes: instead of a grid of intersecting lines contouring around the character's figure, he literally draws a 2-D grid over the entire body which begins to get annoying and looks very lazy/weird. 4)There is a lack of detail, and whilst I don't necessarily recommend going back to Moore's work I would personally like the Walking Dead world to be filled with a little more detail to enjoy, however this is my personal preference.

On the positive side, I think that in some ways the new style of artwork is more suitable than the last i.e. darker, broodier, and more ominous. You could say that Moore's was too bright and pleasant to look at, and didn't give as much sense of doom and gloom. However, I still wish Adlard would sort his annoying quirks out.

The writing is okay, but in my opinion a low-point so far (I have only read the first 3 volumes so far so i'm certainly no expert, but still). The dialogue often sounds like it was written by a teenager, the characters all sound very similar, and are always shouting and breaking into sudden conflict over something or another in quite a bizarre fashion, erratically shouting then apologising or crying etc. It is too obvious that Kirkman was really trying to focus on relationships, conflict, and struggle in this issue. It came off looking tacky and cliched to say the least, like a bad soap opera. I was hoping for something more thought out and intelligent in this issue, but I just keep telling myself that this is still a comic and not high-fiction so I don't mind too much.

The positives are that this is still a volume within an enjoyable series so far and is vital to the storyline so I would definitely read it. The premise of the story here is still quite good, just not as sharp as the rest of what i've read so far. The art can be annoying, but you get used to most of it, and as I said there is a positive side to the change in artist. I would recommend buying this after volume 1, and also volume 3 as this picks up again with really good ideas, more zombies, as well as the poignant social stuff.

3.5 / 5
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Book 2 of The Walking Dead picks up the story where it left off and sets off at a fast pace, immediately filling in a little bit of back story and introducing new characters. This sets the tone for the rest of the 2nd instalment perfectly, as in it, lots happens and we're introduced to plenty of new characters (as well as losing a few of the ones we already know along the way!)

The story also heads off for new territory with 3 new locations explored. All which are interesting - especially the last location which sets up the cliff hanger for book 3. The new locations are suitably interesting given the tale, and you could imagine each vividly given the context of the book, and what it would be like to find these places yourself if you were in a land overrun by zombies. This makes the story feel very real.

The characters' personalities and relationships are explored a lot more too with some intriguing developments being put in place for further down the line. Altogether, it makes was an engrossing read bought to life with some great artwork. The penmanship wasn't as good as it was in book one, but it is still great to look at and helps visualise the story well. Book 3 looks set to be a corker and I can't wait to start reading it.
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on 21 December 2004
What can I say, just tremendous. I want to cut the pictures out & frame them! You follow Rick on the 2nd part of what hopefully is promised to be an epic adventure of many more volumes. I've been traumatised since the original dawn of the dead and have recently started reading all the bookes i can on the subject (42 year old trying to relate to wife and 2 toddlers!) and you get fed up with the sudden endings. Robert Kirkman recognises this and although you're left at the end of the 1st 2 volumes wandering what's next, he manages to keep the pace up. Hurry up Robert, i've started reading volume 1 again.
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on 13 May 2012
What you want to know is will this be as good as the first volume. Is it a troubled sequel, a difficult second album or The Empire Strikes Back? It doesn't have the shock and awe of a new world with new stories and a new setting to discover but we do meet new characters and they each add something to the mix. They have different points of view and it encourages us to see things differently. People are changing as they come to terms with the loss of those close to them and their life as they knew it. There are subtle shifts and troubling undercurrents that you want to keep an eye on.

The writing is well done and Kirkman has a flair for realistic arguments and emotional outbursts. Unfortunately with more text the art doesn't get a chance to shine as it did in the first volume. There are some good nocturnal scenes and some great expressions but none of the long silences that really made this work standout. The art doesn't seem as polished as the first volume either. Having said that there is a different artist and he does a great job of seamlessly integrating into this established style. In the final pages we do see the first double page spread used to great effect and you are definitely looking forward to the next instalment.

Still definitely a Thumbs Up!
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on 3 January 2014
This is truly the definitive zombie series! The story picks up exactly where it left off, and without spoiling the plot, things get even more intense this time. Great characters, fantastic action and beautiful artwork bring the walking dead to life. Simply astounding. Raises the burning question : "What would I do in the same situation?"
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on 1 April 2013
Make no mistake - this is one of my best "buys" of recent months. I hadn't read any of TWD comics before but had heard many good things about them. I therefore decided to buy the first four volumes as a "taster". I loved the books and actually ended up buying the much larger Compendium books (volumes 1 & 2) which collate the all of the "Volume" books up to Volume 15 or thereabouts. So my suggestion is: if you are intent on buying this, go ahead - the quality of paper, binding and print is fantastic. That said, if you think you might get "hooked" on these comics, you may want to go for the two Compandium books, which are even better value for money.
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on 1 May 2014
I got the first volume for my birthday as I love the TV series and after the first volume I was hooked and couldn't wait to read them all, an excellent read and the illustrations are amazing!
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on 1 February 2005
It's been along time since I read a graphic novel or comic and this series is one of the best. Like a lot of people survival horror has an interest for me it's the "What would I do in that situation" thing. Robert Kirkman has this down to a T it's not all zombie chomping but how the survivors survive even each other. So looking forward to the rest of the series long may it continue.
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