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The Walking Dead, vol. 12-13 by Robert Kirkman et al.

November 14, 2012

At this point in The Walking Dead, there are really two levels going on: the plot itself, and the evolution (or devolution) of Rick Grimes. The surface plot finds Rick, Carl, Michonne, Glenn, et al, plus Morgan, and a new group of folks, being invited into a community that is not quite thriving, but has definitely moved beyond struggling for survival. This is no Woodbury, with a malevolent leader and violent followers lurking; it is a group of people who take care of each other, and are physically fairly safe.  Rick and his group are constantly suspicious, with a heightened awareness that makes sense for people who have been through so much trauma.

Then there’s Rick himself; there is an arc to his character that the authors seem to have intended – Rick becoming harder and losing hope, coming to terms with the loss of his wife, and trying to survive. What seems unintentional is that Rick is kind of a dick. He always puts himself in charge, and while sometimes it makes sense, it starts to seem that he is unable to function in a position other than leader, regardless of other’s wishes. He has to call the shots, and he uses whatever excuse he can find to justify manipulation and even violence to get into a position of power.

The Walking Dead continues to be an interesting series, with rich characters and interesting new environments in what should be a fairly static world. Although it suffers from the serialized nature of the story – how many times can Rick and his band of survivors find a safe haven, only for it to collapse? How many times can Rick survive a close call? – which can make the plot somewhat monotonous, it continues to mine the characters for fresh insight.

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