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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
It has been ages since a TV show grabbed my attention. I burned through the first season and waited for the second, completely oblivious to the fact that it was based on a comic book still running strong till a friend told me. I hesitated ordering it till the finale of Season three of the TV series thinking that the book would spoil it for me but I did and to my shock, the book is different when it comes to the storyline. True, the characters are the same and some of the settings (like the prison and the farm - these two are in the book as well) but what they go through in the books are different from what they suffer in the series. For those out there thinking the books or the TV series would spoil the other, you are wrong. At the time of writing this, the two are not completely related except the characters.

With that out of the way, the book does a splendid job of juggling between zombies chomping and human brutality in a world where the living come back from the dead. Different characters have different back-stories that just doesn't make them extras in a book but a person you 'may' relate to.

One thing I may add here which I don't think a lot of reviews have touched here. The storyline is not for the weak of heart. There are underlying tones of suicide, torture, rape and many other crude stuff. This is certainly not the kind of book you would buy for your 13 year old nephew or grandson. Characters change and develop when they go through such horrors and how they overcome (or don't) is something that makes this book unique.

As for the compendium itself, its a collection of first 49 issues of the comic series still running strong. Its an excellent value for money. The book itself is split in chapters (not issues) so you won't be disturbed with pages that say 'End of issue One' that goes up to 49. Its a neatly compiled book gives you necessary breaks between chapters for you to catch your breath. On the service side, the condition of the book was neat, clean and the delivery was fast.

Overall, an excellent book for adults that is excellent value for money, considering you are not paying for 49 comic issues but one. Recommended for all mature comic book readers out there.
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90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 November 2009
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!
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2009
Not much more needs to be said than this collects volumes 1-8 of Robert Kirkman's superb Walking Dead series. At over 1000 pages this is a zombie epic, with terrific black and white graphics, understated dialogue, outstanding characterisation, an ever evolving cast, gruesome deaths, peppered with some fantastic plot twists. I am not a Zombie comic fan, but this compendium is irresistible. A+
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2014
I will start by saying that I am a huge fan of the show, I don’t know why, because every season the writers find new ways to break my heart. Maybe that’s why; the show makes me feel all the feels, all at once. Good shows make you scream at the TV, hide behind the coach and leave you in a snotty, sobbing mess on the floor after mid-season finales. So, with that being said I will inevitably compare the books to the show.

I picked up the comics simply to tide me over till season four starts up again. I needed a Walking Dead fix. Boy, am I glad that I did – they are so good. The books are a whole different animal to the show, sure, the basic premise is the same and so are most of the characters but they are different enough that the books do not spoil the show or vice versa.

The stories are faced paced and the characters are three dimensional. A word of warning – do not get too attached to any of the characters because horrible and horrific things happen to all of them, and not just at the hands (or teeth) of the zombies. You think the characters on the show suffer but the guys in the books get it worse.

I liked some of the characters much better in the books than in the show, like Lori and Andrea. There are a couple of characters from the show that I miss and that is Daryl and Beth, as they have showed such great character development that really adds to my enjoyment of the show. Speaking of character development, Carl in the books has none and remains a child almost uncorrupted by the fallen world around him. Whereas Carl in the show has come on in leaps and bounds – from an innocent little boy to an annoying brat in need of a good hiding to a young man who has become an important member of the group.

Then there's The Governor, I have never in my life, hated anyone as much as I hate that man. The fact that I hate him so much makes him such a great character – in the books and on the show. I can’t even form words to express how much I hate him, I can only growl and clench my fists, grrrrrr. I hate him so much that if I were to meet the lovely David Morrissey, I would require inhuman amounts of self-control to not punch him in the face. The cruelty in this man is just unbelievable (the governor not David). I can’t even fathom how a person does the things he does to another human being. The worse thing is that others stand by and do nothing as he commits his cruelties or they even help him.

These stories highlight the lies we tell ourselves and the blinkers we put on just so we can live comfortably and stay safe in our little bubbles. They also demonstrate the lengths and depths we will go to, to protect the ones we love. They show that even the best of us will do the wrong things for the right reasons and that doing bad things does not always make us bad people. The stories also reveal that those who want a zombie apocalypse are straight up crazy and would probably live in Woodbury with the crazy ass governor.

These comics are not only perfect for those who love AMC’s The Walking Dead, but for anyone who loves a good zombie horror. Even if you have never cracked open a comic book before and you think they are just for teenage boys and geeks, you should definitely give these ones a try. I am a thirty-something female and I adored these comics, they are only the fourth comic book/graphic novels I have ever read and I plan on reading many more. Such a great reading experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2013
This monster of a book is about 5cm thick and weighs in at a huge 2.1kg so brace yourself when lifting it and bend your knees or you'll do your back in! I don't really have much more to add to the existing reviews; this is a must-have whether you've watched the TV series or not.

However, I will say that I much preferred the artwork in the first chapter. For me, Tony Moore's art is cleaner and more detailed than the Charlie Adlard/Cliff Rathburn partnership. It's not a deal-breaker by any stretch, but I'm disappointed that Moore's work only featured in just one of the eight chapters. I do understand, though, that this is purely a subjective matter and no doubt many of you will disagree with me on the artwork thing.

Take a look at the photos I've uploaded for an idea of what I mean.

Whatever you think about the art, this compendium is well worth the money and represents excellent value at £28 (60p an issue). The same content in the hardback books would set you back about £66. The hardbacks are very nice but I couldn't justify the extra expense. If you can afford it, then definitely go for the hardbacks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2014
After utterly falling in love with the show, I had to give the source material for The Walking Dead a go. I’m not much of a comic book reader – I’ve only ever read a couple of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novels before, plus a few odds and ends of expanded universe stuff for TV series I like. I must admit, it’s not my favourite form. I find them hard to follow, and a bit to busy at times – I’m never sure where to look.

That said, I did really enjoy The Walking Dead Compendium. Probably because I am familiar with the characters, and to an extent the events. Things don’t go down quite the same as the TV show, but there was enough crossover to help keep me from getting lost.

The artwork was suitably gory – minimal in some ways, showing just a hint in a small box of the zombie bashing action, but intricate in others, with a lot of emotion worked in to some panels. And that’s about as much as I can say about it from a non-comic book reader perspective.

The story seemed to fly by really quickly. Had I not had the grounding in the characters, I might have felt a little rushed through some of the set pieces, but it was fast paced with some excellent cliffhanger moments that, had I been reading the serialised version, might have had me screaming at Kirkman for leaving me hanging there.

I think my great love will always be the TV show, but once another couple of seasons are out of the way, and I’m faced with the long wait for the next one to start, I might look into picking up the second Compendium. It’s a pretty cost effective way of enjoying the series, although it does rather break your hands to try and read it. And it’s not exactly a tome you can pop in your handbag for a train journey…

All in all, a great story that any fan of the TV show will enjoy. And people who aren’t fans of the TV show will likely also enjoy, if they like seeing zombies get their heads cut off.

Rating: 4/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2011
I got a £40 voucher as a gift and was hard pressed what to get. I had heard that the walking dead was good but not read any so I took the plunge and bought the bumper copy of the first 48 issues. And I tell you that it was amazingly hard to put down. Completely engrossing as the characters develop between the action, you do grow an attachment. Been a long time since I have read anything that I couldn't put down. When it arrived, it was a bit intimidating as it looks like a phone book but you just read it in great big chunks. I recommend this as it is a great read and if you were to by the smaller collections, you will be itching for more. This gives you nearly 50 issues of brilliance. I won't tell you any of the story but recommend that you take a chance with this one. Brilliant read. Go on, buy it, ya know that ya wanna
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2014
I loved The Walking Dead tv series from the opening of episode one and though it sometimes drops the ball and what not, I still continue to love the show. The compendium was a bit of a risk as I had only recently before gotten into comics and this was a bit costly but definitely worth it as it gives a completely fresh look at the characters and there situations with some of them going down vastly different paths in each medium. I can't recommend this any higher to my friends who've now also started on both the show and a few with the comics also to anyone who is a fan of zombies or just the show.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2010
a friend recommended me this book and i was unsure about whether to buy it as it had 1000 pages i didn't know whether it would hold my interest throughout. after reading the first few pages, i was hooked i couldn't put it down and ended up reading the whole thing in a week. it is an amazing book that really goes in to what life would be like in a zombie apocalypse with unbelievable realism and there are points that will force you to stop reading to really think about what is happening to the characters you have become so attached to. i cant recommend this more to anybody that is a fan of graphic novels or zombies.
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on 9 July 2015
The condition that the book arrived in was immaculate.

As for the contents of the book itself, the plot of 'The Walking Dead' (as you may already know from watching the TV series) can be considerably weak as it relies on the same formula again and again, involving zombies being obstacles, humans being the actual threat and sometimes having to save someone who's been kidnapped by a hostile group etc. If you do want to indulge yourself in the Compendium, I'd recommend that you drop the expectations that you have if you've watched the TV series and treat the comics as a different entity due to characters and character roles being significantly different and also due to events occurring slightly differently in the comics too. Whatever happens, you'll come to appreciate the difference between the show and comics and as you progress through the Compendium, you'll find yourself enjoying it more and more.

The artwork is probably the most disappointing aspects of 'The Walking Dead' comics however; whilst the first chapter of the story is very stylistically and tastefully illustrated by Tony Moore, the remaining chapters are illustrated by Charlie Adlard, whose particular sloppy style makes it difficult to distinguish between characters at times and just isn't aesthetically pleasing to look at or admire. It's as if Adlard was a kid at school, rushing to finish his homework at the last minute.

So, if you're a decent zombie fan and/or enjoyed the TV series then this may be worth the read. I'm not sure if it's entirely worth the price of a new copy though so I'd look for a used one; it may just be one of those things you read once and never come back to.
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