Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Walking Dead Volume 5: The Best Defense

Title: The Walking Dead Volume 5: The Best Defense

ISBN: 9781582406121
Price: $14.99
Publisher/Year: Image, 2010
Artist: Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Collects: The Walking Dead #25-30

Rating: 4/5

The Best Defense is volume five of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead graphic novel series. It is this episode that I foresee considerable problems in converting it to a television show. More on that later.

Rick Grimes’ proclamation at the end of The Heart’s Desire that “we are the walking dead!” was the dramatic conclusion to a lengthy speech. The story picks up a short time later. The rift in the camp between him and Tyreese remains and things inside the prison actually seem to be proceeding. I was left to wonder about any possible intent or meaning behind such a dramatic line. I won’t say I was disappointed in Kirkman, only, I was expecting…something.

Be that as it may, the story picks up as the survivors start making g a real effort to set up house in the confines of the prison. Having found a generator, there is a small mission just outside the fence to the parking lot to search for gasoline. A passing helicopter just happens to start smoking and crash nearby.

I felt the plot device just a little two convenient, but not enough to distract me from the story. Rick, Michonne, and Glen go to investigate. That’s where I got annoyed. With a wife who is expecting, a son, plus the fact that he’s taken quite a beating recently and only has one really good hand; Rick seems to think nothing of literally just running off. He doesn’t even take the time to tell his wife and son, “farewell, be back soon.”

Yes, I still think the series is spectacular, and yes, I still think Kirkman is the new King. However, I think he stumbled in the plot just a bit here. That could be me speaking as a husband and parent, but Rick Grimes has been portrayed as really loving his wife and son. His regular occurrences of abandoning them to run off on some mission might be explainable as him not thinking anybody can do the job right save himself, but that doesn’t fit with the character.

Anyways…that’s me nitpicking. The story does take an even darker turn here when another camp of survivors is discovered. They are led by the evil bad guy we’ve all been waiting for. Yes, the series finally has its Savini-esque character. The misery he inflicts on the trio of Rick, Glenn, and especially Michonne is where the televised version of this is going to have to get creative. Cable or not, some really bad stuff happens here. And what happens to Michonne is just a part of it. The gloves really come off in The Best Defense. The material in volume five definitely caries a strong ‘R’ rating.

Once more, Kirkman gives us a bit of a cliff hanger ending. All indication are that very bad things are about to pop off in volume six. With his fearlessness when it comes to killing main characters, it is safe to expect the worst.

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