The Walking Dead #1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman

Zombies are very much in vogue these days, whether it’s computer games or movies, you don’t have far to go before coming across rotting flesh that gets up and walks. The Walking Dead is a graphic novel, and title has to be one of the least imaginative titles of any zombie product. But don’t let that fool you, because the blurb on the back is the biggest attention grabber I’ve ever seen on any zombie story. I quote:

How many hours are in a day when you don’t spend half of them watching television? When is the last time any of us REALLY worked to get something that we wanted? How long has it been since any of us really NEEDED something that we WANTED? The world we knew is gone … No government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, we are finally forced to start living.

Now, you zombie fans, doesn’t that just knock the pants off about 90% of the zombie movies you’ve seen. Well, the blurb is only the promise of things to come. How does the story deliver?

We get off to a fairly unoriginal start, in a scene reminiscent of the start of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, with an injured police officer (Rick) waking up in a hospital bed only to discover the place is deserted. Of course, it’s not long before Rick has his first encounter with a flesh-hungry walking corpse. The bulk of the story concerns a bunch of people who have formed a small community in the woods, and their initial struggle to survive. There’s a strong human element, with friendships, romance, grief, betrayal, etc. Most interesting was the struggle to change – to let go of the old way of living and embrace a way of life that demands more courage. The zombie battles are there too, but the story is thankfully never allowed to degenerate into a typical gore fest with no greater aim than the highest body-count.

I thoroughly enjoyed this volume and am looking forward to reading the next one.


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