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Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Walking Dead Volume 12: Life Among Them

Title: The Walking Dead Volume 12: Life Among Them

ISBN: 9781607062547

Price: $14.99

Publisher/Year: Image,

Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard

Robert Kirkman

Collects: The Walking Dead #67-72

Rating: 4/5

Any day where there’s a new
‘Walking Dead’ collection to be read is a good day indeed! Would that be the
case with this volume though...? ‘Life Among Them’ won’t go down as one of the
stand out installments in the series but it still has a lot going for it...

After what seems like a lifetime of wandering, our band of survivors might just
have found what they’ve been looking for all this time. A walled community
offers the chance to enjoy life as it was before the zombies came. Is it too
good to be true though? And are the secrets behind this new community any more
sinister than the issues brought inside by a group of traumatized survivors?
What will give first...?

We’re twelve volumes in now and when you get this far along with a series you
find that there’s really only so much that you can say about an artist who’s
been there almost right from the start. That’s the position I find myself in
with Charlie Adlard, an artist who has produced consistently good work (so far)
on his run. I did wonder, a while ago, if the series might benefit from a new
artist to freshen things up. Looking at it now though, Charlie’s art is ‘The
Walking Dead’ and it wouldn’t be the same without him. What I will say though
is that Adlard seems to work a lot better in the smaller panels than he does on
the larger ones or the two page spreads. The more space he has the less detail
seems to go into it. I guess deadlines and stuff can really work against you in
situations like that.

As far as the story goes...

‘Life Among Us’ is very much a book that is all about setting things up for
some pretty explosive events in future books. You don’t know what you can see
coming but you just know that something big is looming on the horizon. The
exciting thing is that it really could go either way. Is there something
sinister behind this new community or will Rick’s group do something really
stupid because they can’t trust anyone anymore? I’m into this series for the
long haul anyway and it’s questions like this that have kept me reading for a
few years now.

What I found though is that Kirkman perhaps draws the tension out a little bit
too much. You’re waiting and waiting and waiting... but there’s no real payoff.
This isn’t like when they were living in the prison where lots of little things
were happening on a regular basis. This new community has a stagnant feel to it
that weighs at the plot and makes things drag... I’ve still got faith that
something huge will happen in the next book though and there is something to be
said for the contrasts raised between the two groups in the meantime.

This approach is even more annoying in that a long running question (an
intriguing one too) is brushed to one side without much fuss. Cryptic remarks
from Eugene promised much but the revelation was flat to say the least. It
almost felt like Eugene’s sub-plot was brushed to one side so Kirkman could
concentrate on what was going on in the new community. The problem here though
is that Kirkman doesn’t really give us a lot in its place, just the promise of
something to come...

Kirkman hasn’t let me down yet so a curiously flat installment here feels like
more of a ‘blip’ than a real problem. There was enough here to keep me
interested and certainly enough to have me wondering just what will happen in
the next book. I’m pretty sure the payoff will be worth it.

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