The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

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Thad
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The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Thad » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:23 am

So, like, is every issue just going to end with Negan announcing that he's won? On the one hand, it's gotten pretty dumb at this point; on the other, I might actually kind of love it.

Anyway, Rick's gonna be fine. We already know Dwight didn't rub his bolts in the zombie gunk; he made a lame excuse about how it would fuck up his aim. Does Negan just not remember that? Does he have a case of Selectively Stupid like everybody else in the cast does right now?

Dwight nonfatally shot Rick on purpose. What he said to Eugene is the truth: he's too big of a coward to turn on Negan directly, but he really does hate him and want him to lose. I mean, dude took his wife and then burned half his fucking face. We're not talking complex, nuanced motivations here; dude wants (1) Negan to die while (2) managing not to die himself. And not in that order.

I really don't know quite what to think of All-Out War. On the one hand, it's predictable, it's dragged on too long, and it relies heavily on characters coming down with a sudden case of the stupids. (Seriously, nobody thought the bag over Holly's head was suspicious?) On the other hand, it's managed to keep up the action in a book that had really earned a reputation for being talky, it's managed to keep a better-than-monthly schedule, and I still find myself looking forward to it despite its glaring flaws.

I'm not sure the book's still good. But for whatever reason, I DO still like it.

(I have no comments on the latest season of the TV show because I have not seen it yet.)

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Thad
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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Thad » Sun May 05, 2019 12:32 pm

I saw the buzz on issue #191 -- how its ending will change the series forever and how it's gone into a second printing -- before I read it, but somehow managed to avoid any specific spoilers. Thanks, Internet.

Course, once you start reading the thing, it's one of those that telegraphs its ending hard, so that by the time you get there it's not really a surprise, it's something you've had a horrible sense of foreboding about for 22 pages.

Big, big spoilers below; that "change the series forever" description really isn't hyperbole this time.

Rick gives a long, inspiring speech for a dozen pages. (Literally a dozen; I counted. Though that includes some splashes and spreads.) Rick talks to Governor Milton about what he thinks the Commonwealth can be. Rick has a heart-to-heart with Carl where, among other things, he says he won't run for governor and will return to Alexandria; "My place is there -- and we have plenty of problems of our own." "I thought you'd solved those, too," Carl responds. Carl asks Rick how he always knows the right thing to do; Rick says he's actually wrong much of the time but people are looking for a leader and if they feel your heart is in the right place, they'll forgive you when you're wrong.

IOW, it's an entire issue of "one day left till retirement" stuff, followed, obviously, by Rick getting shot at the end.

He's shot in the chest and isn't actually dead at the end of the issue, but I don't think this is one of those comic book "if you don't see him die, it means he's going to be okay" things; I think Kirkman spent too much time setting up Rick's death -- and, for that matter, explaining why Rick is no longer essential to the story he's telling -- for this to be a fake-out. The reason we don't see Rick die immediately in #191 is so that in #192 he can sputter a few more lines of dialogue and then turn into a zombie,
and then shit can hit the fan just in time for the ending of issue #192 -- which isn't just a multiple of 6, it's also a multiple of 48; next issue won't just close out the next trade, it'll close out the next compendium, too. #200 is a big round number and I expect we'll see the usual variant covers/extra pages/etc. when that rolls around, but the majority of this book's audience doesn't buy in single issues, so in the scheme of things #192 is a more important number than #200, and Kirkman knows it.

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zaratustra
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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby zaratustra » Mon May 06, 2019 6:35 am

when was the last time a zombie was a credible threat in any of the iterations of this

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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby beatbandito » Mon May 06, 2019 7:01 am

When either writer needs it to be?
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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Thad » Mon May 06, 2019 3:00 pm

zaratustra wrote:when was the last time a zombie was a credible threat in any of the iterations of this

Haven't watched the show in ages. As for the comic, a major character got bitten...maybe a year or so back? Anyway, yeah, it doesn't happen often anymore.

Which is kind of the point. They've reached a point where zombies are a manageable threat and humans are the real danger (arguably this happened as far back as Woodbury and the Governor).

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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Thad » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:43 pm

#193 manages to pull off a big surprise: it's the final issue.

Really, that in and of itself is damned impressive. While the story was all over the comics Internet hours before I could make it to the comic shop on Wednesday, still, keeping it a secret that it was the final issue until the day of release is a huge coup. They had to release fake covers and solicitation blurbs for the next few months' worth of issues that will never exist, and still managed to keep everybody who knew about it from letting word out. (My CBG says that they were told on Monday and given the opportunity to order more copies.)


It's too bad it's kind of a mess. I'll plan on saying more in a later post. But still, major points for pulling off a twist like that without word leaking in advance.

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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Thad » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:19 pm

So, start with a time jump. It's been 15-20 years; Maggie's son Hershel has grown up and he's kind of an asshole. He keeps a cart full of walkers that he drives around and shows to people as a sideshow attraction. One of them escapes and Carl catches it wandering around his farm; he kills it. Hershel has him arrested for destruction of property; the judge rules in Hershel's favor and demands Carl replace the walker. Carl retaliates by killing the rest of Hershel's walkers.

Then he goes on a supply run, which is mostly just an excuse to do a tour and show what a bunch of other characters are up to these days.

Carl gets back and his case is taken up to the High Court. Where we learn that this brave new world has no concept of conflict of interest, recusal, or separation of powers, because Chief Justice Michonne rules in Carl's favor and says she's going to introduce a proposition to ban ownership of walkers. That's after she quotes one of Rick's old two-page monologues, verbatim, in the context that those words are on a statue out in front of the courthouse. A two-page monologue. On a statue.

Afterward, Carl meets her in her chambers and she says, "Come on, did you think I was going to put one of my favorite people in jail?" The comic does not address how screamingly unethical this new criminal justice system is.

And that's really the main problem with the finale all 'round. Remember how we discussed that the problem with Game of Thrones' ending was that D&D didn't understand that plot follows character? Kirkman gets that character is the most important thing, and to his credit, he nails it here; everybody gets a satisfying conclusion that fits their arc. But what he misses is that character is defined by setting.

The plot is goddamn nonsense. I get what he's going for; they finally got the world they wanted, where people are no longer afraid of zombies. Okay.

But the fact that zombies are contagious is almost completely unaddressed. Michonne uses the word "epidemic" exactly once during her big speech, but the ramifications of this are not examined.

Here's the thing: zombies aren't just a thing that can kill you. They're fucking plague carriers. Hershel having a cart full of zombies isn't like a circus with lions and tigers; it's like a circus with rabid dogs.

Ain't no way that if somebody is running a carnival attraction full of rabid dogs, and one of them escapes and gets onto my property and I kill it, a judge is going to rule that I need to go find him another rabid dog. That is deeply, deeply stupid.

And it brings me to another, broader issue: while it's plausible that we're in a world now where most people under a certain age have never seen a zombie (I'm 36 and I've never seen a dead body), I don't see people becoming complacent about zombies, because in this world disease is going to be a huge concern. Kirkman's given us a world over the past 50-odd issues where 19th-century technology is rising back up -- we've got a great scene here of Eugene and co working on a transcontintental railroad -- but he doesn't seem even to consider what that means for healthcare. We can reasonably assume that penicillin exists, and probably various vaccines, but we're still almost certainly looking at a world where disease and contagion are much more serious and deadly than they are in the real world.

And that goes unaddressed. Kirkman doesn't think about "well, medicine has taken a major hit, so people are really afraid of illness, so of course they're still afraid of zombies because they're contagious." It doesn't seem to occur to him at all.

He doesn't seem to be questioning his basic, fundamental assumptions about how people live their lives and how they look at the world around them, as informed by life here in the twenty-first century.

For example: Carl has one daughter. She is 6 years old. That raises a whole host of questions that Kirkman doesn't even seem to consider. Have they reinvented reliable birth control? Was Carl just celibate for most of his teens and twenties? I think we can probably rule out "Carl had several other children but they all died" as an explanation; that seems like a subject that would have come up.

It amounts to a "yadda yadda they rebuilt civilization." Kirkman doesn't consider the details, the implications, of how they rebuilt civilization. He doesn't think about science or technology except to the extent of "Eugene is building a railroad." He doesn't think about civics or government except to the extent of "Maggie is president and Michonne is High Judge." He doesn't really think about much of anything except as a plot device for a "where are they now?" finale.

The "where are they now?" part is actually fine and satisfying. But I came away from it thinking the whole thing would have worked better as a Suikoden crawl where you get a one- or two-sentence summary of what happened to every Star of Destiny after the end of the game.

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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Friday » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:28 pm

to be fair every ending would be better as a Suikoden crawl
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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Mongrel » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:35 pm

Would certainly cut down on Author Faceplants.
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Thad
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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Thad » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:43 am

I suppose there is something appropriate about an author writing a story about how people take civilization for granted and, in doing so, completely failing to notice all the modernities he takes for granted.

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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Friday » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:34 pm

People do not understand how many disease and infection killed before modern medicine. At all. Even a little bit.
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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Büge » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:40 pm

Friday wrote:People do not understand how many disease and infection killed before modern medicine. At all. Even a little bit.


A great many people still don't.

And they refuse to inoculate their children.
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Re: The Walking Dead: The Comic Book

Postby Büge » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:41 pm

What I'm saying is that anti-vaxxers will be the cause of the zombie apocalypse.
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