Thursday, 10 February 2011

Review - The Walking Dead Vol.9 TPB

This book, which collects the Walking Dead issues 49 to 54, marks a bit of a turning point for this popular series, although for a while it also feels like a bit of a step back. After the tragic events of the previous volume (Warning: If you haven’t read the previous volume, this review will contain some spoilers), Rick and Carl are out on their own, searching for somewhere safe to live now that life in the prison is no longer an option.

Rick got shot in the stomach at some point during the previous volume and, at the beginning of this volume, that wound becomes infected and Carl has to take care of him. When Rick recovers, he is not quite the man he was and starts to imagine that he is talking to his dead wife, Lori, on the telephone. Eventually, Rick and Carl get reunited with samurai-sword-wielding tough girl Michonne (Yay! She’s alive!) and soon after they bump into Glenn and his wife Maggie and we find out that the rest of the gang (well, Andrea, Dale and a few kids) are now living back on the farm they lived on way back in The Walking Dead Vol.2. I got a bit confused about why Maggie was unaware that her dad, Hershel, had died during the final showdown with ‘the Governor’ at the prison. Andrea was at that battle and, even if she didn’t actually see Hershel die, she was aware that there was a big battle going on at the prison but either she didn’t tell anyone about it or else I missed something (which is more likely).

With our diminished cast back on the farm, the series seems to be more or less back where it started, not heading off in a new direction at all, even if these characters aren’t quite the same people they were back in Vol.2. However, they soon encounter another group of survivors: Abraham Ford, a sweary former soldier with anger management issues; Rosita Espinosa, who I guess is his girlfriend; and Doctor Eugene Porter, who claims to know what caused the zombie problem and is heading to Washington to tell the powers that be – if they still be – so that they can put things right (as if that’s going to happen any time soon). After some persuasion, Rick and co. decide to head to Washington with these strangers and the book ends with the promise that the story will finally move on.

The bits in this book where Rick was talking on the phone to Lori (or at least thought he was) were supposed to be emotional but I just found them a bit corny and slightly amusing. The rest of the book was pretty good, though, and Abraham seems like an interesting new character. I read the whole thing in one sitting and am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Cost: This has a recommended retail price of £10.99 / $14.99. I bought my copy from Amazon two years ago – I’m not sure why, as I didn’t own any of the previous volumes at the time and was unable to read it until now – and paid £7.25. It has since gone down in price to £6.66 but it’s a penny cheaper at the Book Depository.

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