Sunday, 24 June 2012

'The Walking Dead Vol. 16 - A Larger World' Kirkman, Adlard (Image)

I've been reading the ‘Walking Dead’ books for at least a couple of years longer than I've been running the blog and I've been running the blog... Well... Ages now :-) It's along time then to stay with any series so you couldn't blame me for feeling a little let down when Volume 15 never really went anywhere. Not only did I have ages to wait until this volume bit vol 15 hinted at a direction, for the overall series, that didn't look promising from where I was sitting. You can read the review Here if you like, a review that I summed up by saying...

'Right now, things just felt a little lacklustre (including the artwork), like the story was just marking time instead of actually doing something. That doesn’t bode well for the future but, like I said, I’m willing to be proved wrong.'

Like I was ever going to stop reading though... You put years of reading in and there's no question about whether you'll see it through to the end. It didn't really take too much for me to give Kirkman the benefit of the doubt either. The 'Walking Dead' series has had far more ups than downs so all I had to do was hope that vol 16 took things back on an upward path rather than the other direction.
It's a slow path upwards but 'A Larger World' does start to move things in the right direction again.

Supplies are growing dangerously low in the settlement and the surrounding area has been picked clean of anything useful. Trips further afield are in order and one such trip reveals that Rick's community isn't the only one trying to survive. New encounters envariably mean new problems to solve though and Rick and his friends must face up to some tough decisions if their community is going to make it through the winter...

'A Larger World' has similar problems to the previous volume in terms of just how safe the characters all are. There's a big walled settlement for shelter and even the weakest character has killed enough zombies for that not to be an issue either. A little bit of the tension is missing then but Kirkman sidesteps this rather neatly by throwing the wider setting into sharper focus. There's a whole new world out there and Kirkman shows us the potential here for new tales yet to come.

If there's a problem here it's very much that all these tales are 'yet to come'. 'A Larger World' is all about setting things up for future volumes so be prepared for not a lot to happen at times. Balancing this out though is the air of menace that Kirkman builds up over the course of the book; 'A Larger World' isn't just filler, things are being laid in place that promise something explosive in the very near future. This is what I'm after and I don't mind waiting a little bit longer if I know it's coming.

There are also more developments, on the personal front, for our band of survivors and it's all credit to Kirkman that he keeps things becoming too much like a soap opera. These are people learning to feel again, after some traumatic events, and I think Kirkman captures that perfectly.

Like I said then, it's a slow road but 'A Larger World' sets the plot back on an upward trajectory. I’m all excited again about seeing where the series takes us next.

Eight and a Half out of Ten

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