Graphic Novel Review: The Walking Dead V 1- Days Gone Bye




May Contain Spoilers


With the frigid temperatures and the high accumulation of snow, I haven’t been getting out much.  My riding lessons have been canceled more than they’ve been run, so I have taken the opportunity the down time has presented to pack in more reading.  A recent trip to the library yielded some graphic novel finds, and with The Walking Dead TV show resuming this week, I decided to take the time to get a better handle on the background of the series.  I have seen the last three episodes of the show, in addition to bits and pieces of many others, and now that I’m hooked, I’m all over all things Walking Dead related.


The comic series gets off to a strong start.  Rick Grimes awakens from a coma to utter chaos.  Rotting dead things are everywhere, but he can’t seem to find a living person, until he comes across a helpful man and his son.  A law enforcement officer, Rick was wounded in the line of duty, and as he was unconscious in his hospital bed, the world devolved into Hell.  Rick is an ordinary guy, suddenly forced to deal with the unthinkable.  Hordes of hungry, mindless monsters rule the streets now.  Those that die don’t stay dead.  Frantic to discover the fate of his wife and young son, Carl, Rick heads to Atlanta, thinking his wife would have sought shelter with her parents.

When he arrives, after several harrowing near-misses with the zombies, he is brokenhearted to find only more devastation.  A chance encounter with Glenn, a young survivor, saves his life.  When he and Glenn get back to a small camp of survivors, Rick has a happy discovery – his wife, Lori, and his son, Carl, are both alive, and though terrified, none the worse for wear.  Rick’s friend Shane is also in camp, and he helped get Rick’s family to safety.  Now they just have to sit tight, and wait for the government to come and save them.

Ha!  Yeah, right!  There is nobody left to come and save them, but no one but Rick is willing to examine that possibility.   The Walking Dead encompasses everything I love about post-apocalyptic stories, especially ones featuring zombies.  This is more a book about how a small group of ordinary people react to a not so ordinary and hugely traumatic bump in their road.  How are they going to keep themselves fed, warm, and most importantly, safe from the threats confronting them?  How are they going to keep their egos checked at the door, and work together to survive?  How are conflicts within the group going to be settled?

In this volume, Rick doesn’t like being so close to the zombies crawling through the streets of Atlanta.  It’s getting colder, too.  His buddy Shane refuses to even consider moving to a safer, more rural location.  How will their rescuers find them?  Shane’s not all that thrilled that Rick has made it to their little camp, because he has fallen hard for Rick’s wife.  With his hopes of hooking up permanently with her shattered, Shane is furious that Rick is questioning what’s best for their little group.  Though I knew what was going to happen to Shane (it’s almost impossible to avoid spoilers for this series!), I was still shocked as the events unfolded on the final pages of this volume.  Wow!  Good thing the library had the second volume on the shelf, too, because I need to read it!  Now!

If you enjoy zombie stories, read this.  If you enjoy The Walking Dead and haven’t read the comics yet, read this.  If you are looking for a new comic to sink your teeth into (sorry!!), read this.  You really can’t go wrong with this book.  It’s got everything – action, suspense, scary, rotting things that want to eat your face off, and lots of conflict with the intrepid survivors.   Still not sure?  Head to your local library – they are bound to have it on the shelf!

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by my local library

About the book:

Collects issues #1-#6An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.