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The Walking Dead Vol. 13: Too Far Gone


Written by Robert Kirkman; Art by Charlie Adlard; Cover by Cliff Rathburn

Dec 17, 2010 Robert Kirkman Bookmark and Share

Now that AMC has wrapped its highly successful six-episode first season of The Walking Dead, it’s a great time to reflect and dive back into the books that made zombie geeks initially fawn over the show. Robert Kirkman’s thirteenth paperback volume, Too Far Gone, finds the group “safe” inside the Alexandria Safe-Zone community near Washington, D.C. The mythic, walled haven they heard about so many issues ago earns those quotation marks around “safe.” The denizens are just as petty, human, and troubled as Rick’s gang. (Note: Grimes’ group had been on the road for over 18 months before finding this town.)

Frank Darabont’s TV series took some bold (and arguably pretty good) liberties with Kirkman’s source material. The Center for Disease Control episodes and certain main characters not dying were interesting choices that kept things fresh. After re-reading these issues (#73-78) one hopes Kirkman shakes up his formula in a similar way for the upcoming “No Way Out” through-line.

This black-and-white creep fest boasts some minimal art from Charlie Adlard. He’s not always mentioned in reviews, but he deserves credit for doing so much with so little. That being said, a few of his characters’ facial expressions are a little suspect during this run. Adlard is focused on squeezing out as much drama as possible from a dozen or so shades of black, grey, and white. Correspondingly, Kirkman remains focused on only a few characters at a time.

The series’ solemn yet exhilarating tone can still knock the wind out of you and Kirkman is perpetually the master of building and releasing tension in circumspect ways, such as the pages dealing with Rick’s bloody confrontation with wife battering doctor Pete Anderson (Pete Dotson?). There’s also a great series of panels where Carl realizes his dad thinks he’s talking to Lori on the phone. Adlard’s excellent splash pages always help too.

Too Far Gone treads some of the same themes from previous issues though, especially when it comes to Grimes. He doesn’t trust the leader of the town, Douglas Monroe, a former U.S. Congressman. Despite this, he unwillingly (of course) becomes the Constable. And by the close of this volume, Rick’s fears come true, and as has happened in the past, he loses his temper for a spell before settling back into the role of reluctant hero. We’ve seen this played out before. The lucky thing for Kirkman is that his other characters are so strong he doesn’t need to lean on Rick as much. For example, Maggie Greene and Glenn’s romantic relationship takes an interesting new turn during this volume. What happens to all these enjoyable characters once the next big storyline starts turning is totally up in the air. What we know from issue #78 is that they’re pretty screwed.

At the end of that issue, bandits disturb the city and are dispatched quite easily, but their ruckus stirs up a hungry zombie herd. Shit is gonna hit the fan soon. Basically, you should be excited for issue #79 and onwards. Added bonus: The Eisner-winning scribe promises more time with samurai sword-wielding fan-favorite Michonne. (Thank goodness.) ( /

Author rating: 7/10

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