The Walking Dead: Compendium One | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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The Walking Dead: Compendium One


Written and created by Robert Kirkman; Art by Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, Cliff Rathburn, and Rus Wooton

Jun 15, 2009 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Image's The Walking Dead: Compendium One is a hulking 1088-page softcover graphic novel that collects Robert Kirkman's ongoing zombie masterpiece. The "compendium" series collects the first 48 issues in one shot and it's a worthy edition to any discerning comic book enthusiast's library. The astonishing fact that Kirkman's post-apocalyptic comic can spawn yet another repackaging testifies to its hardcore fans, who will probably pick it up even if they picked up the smaller volumes along the way. This series is still salient. Another batch of potential fans could pick it up at their local shop and devour it like the rest of us did the first time.

The plodding longevity of the series shuns the massive tentpole events DC Comics and Marvel have adopted from Hollywood. I dread every day that there will be an announcement that this series will be adapted for film or even TV. The Walking Dead is not a novel genre in the least though. George Romero's original Dawn of the Dead set the precedent but Kirkman taps even further into his social consciousness. Plenty of brain matter is splashed across Walking Dead's stark panels, but the first eight chapters of Kirkman's opus deal with more sinister things that frothing zombies. Our internalized hell, in response to outside forces still is the crux of Kirkman's dramatic millieu.

Kirkman and his excellent art team are picking our brains with the veracity of the zombies that stalk their world. And the art is exquisite and incisive. Cover artist/penciler/inker Charlie Adlard and cover artist/gray tones specialist Cliff Rathburn build on Tony Moore capable original art so well that you can rarely see a difference in palette and tone after Chapter One: Days Gone By. Some have slighted Kirkman in the past for relying too much on TV-show dialogue but I think it fits for a zombie-decimated Earth that is devoid of mass entertainment. How could a struggling community survive without devising their own entertainment beyond the continual cycle of birth, daily survival, and eventual demise. Kirkman also has a sense of humor (often dark); especially when he documents romantic interactions between men and women. It's not a conincidence that many of the scenes from Chapter Four: The Heart's Desire are from inside a prison. Other set pieces include a woodland camp and a farm.

Kirkman is currently in the middle of his latest Walking Dead story, a caravan to Washington, DC. His characters are all still trapped in a corporate sense. What is so engaging about Walking Dead is finding the more hidden shackles they/we produce, through Kirkman's magnifying glass. This fact is amplified by this new oversized novel. Kirkman and his artists slowly draw out these revelations and observe the ensuing blood splatters through a turgid, yet invigorating plot. Walking Dead is a story you can invest years of your life in. ( /

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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