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The Walking Dead, vol. 9-11 by Robert Kirkman et al

October 28, 2012

The Walking Dead comic book series suffers from some of the same problem that sometimes plagues the tv show based off of it. First off, there are times when it feels aimless and meandering. Having all your recurring characters on the run, scavenging and hiding out, does not give them much of a motivation beyond staying alive.

This is tied to another problem found in both versions of The Walking Dead: for a work of fiction about a world where the characters could be eaten alive at any moment, the stakes just don’t seem that high sometimes. Despite the fact that Lori, the baby, Hershel, Tyreese, and a few others have been killed off, it’s pretty clear that they will never kill off Rick, so any peril he faces lacks suspense.

In lieu of peril for our hero, we have the characters and the relationships between them  to keep things interesting. Just like in the show, some of the characters and relationships are interesting, and some are just not. Glenn and Maggie are likable and interesting, even when just happily in love. Andrea, a total bad-ass in the books, has a relationship with Dale that is fairly entertaining. But Rick and Carl? Oof, that takes up a ton of the narrative and is not nearly as compelling as either character’s relationship to any other given character. Hey, at least Michonne is still around.

The plot of volumes 9-11 involves a lot of small occurrences. Rick feels guilty about Lori’s death; Carl blames Rick for not protecting her; everyone contemplates how they have changed; someone unsuccessfully attempts suicide; and OH YEAH CANNIBALS (for those who were permanenlt traumatized by The Road). The cannibals are the most interesting plotline, but in terms of characters, it’s most exciting that Morgan is back! Hopefully this will happen on the show too, so Lennie James can come back.

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