I’ve read everything Kirkman has ever written. I’m serious. Space Ace, Jubilee, Magdalena/Vampirella, you name it, I’ve read it. Because of that, I’ve seen the ups and downs of Kirkman’s career. I know that now, Kirkman is skilled enough to tell an issue like this. This issue of The Walking Dead is very compressed without missing an emotional beat. Yeah, this is a hell of an issue.
On the cover, you see a new character. There was a time when the whole issue would be devoted to this guy. Father Gabriel Stokes’ arrival is one of four big events. Again, I’m serious. I never really think about the harshness of The Walking Dead. That’s probably because I love it, and I’m happy when I read comics I love, but this issue is a kick in the teeth.
Charlie Adlard doesn’t get enough praise on this book. Yeah, the biggest part of The Walking Dead is the characters, and Kirkman puts words in their mouths, but Adlard brings these survivors to life. Not only can he handle the usual last-page-splash with ease, he has to make all the talking heads scenes work. With those talking heads is emotion, and this issue is packed with it. Well done, Adlard.
I’m often asked “What’s a good jumping-on point for The Walking Dead?” There aren’t any. Now, that’s usually taken as a bad thing, but it shouldn’t. The reason why there aren’t any jumping-on points, is because that would be like getting to the movie an hour late. You’re missing out on some of the journey, and I love these characters. Kirkman makes it rewarding. There’s a call-back to something that happens in the first trade, in this issue. So, please, jump on the zombie train, the trade is only ten bucks. For the rest of you, go read this great issue.