Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Walking Dead: Something to Fear

I'm eagerly awaiting tonight's episode of The Walking Dead, but last night I finally got to sit down with the latest graphic novel and catch up with Rick and the gang.  I was already dreading "Something to Fear" as one of the big deaths (yes, there are more than one) had already been spoiled for me (thanks again, Scott!), but I wasn't expecting to see more than one of my favorites perish and this was a tough read from start to finish. 

I've frequently described Kirkman's The Walking Dead as a title that I would put up there with Stephen King's The Stand so far as scope and depth are concerned.  This is a challenging story that has riveted countless readers with its dedication to delivering an unrelenting product, and the latest installment is another indication that Kirkman will not pull any punches in his quest to unnerve and disturb.

Like usual, I tore through this volume as soon as I had an opportunity to sit down with it, and I wasn't disappointed.  The tension was unbelievable, and while one of the big deaths that shook up me up was sudden and completely unexpected, one of them was a grisly affair that seemed to go on forever.  This isn't a title for the faint of heart, and "Something to Fear" was one of the most gruesome offerings we have been served up thus far.

In fact, it quickly went from grim and difficult to thoroughly depressing, though the last page revealed an unexpected direction that will make the wait for the next collection nearly impossible to endure.  Everything was top-notch about this installment, though I was most impressed by Negan, the bloodthirsty thug who was unveiled with such grandeur that he instantly joins The Governor as one of The Walking Dead's most memorable villains.  In fact, thus far I think he represents a more terrifying and powerful adversary, and if Kirkman can deliver a finale deserving of his potent introduction, well then, we may just have a villain who is actually capable of dispatching The Governor as the title's most despicable menace.

Negan beating  ________ to death with a bat wrapped in barb-wire.
 Can you imagine that?  What would it say about Kirkman and his talent if he can equal or top The Governor?  Does one story deserve two villains of such stature?

I love the show, and I'm eager for tonight's mid-season finale, but the source material is superior, and "Something to Fear" was a great example of just how good this book is.  This was not the most exciting or entertaining entry to date, and it was actually rather dreary at times, but at the same time the strength of this arc was impressive to behold.  It was challenging, it was saddening, it was sadistic, and it was extremely violent.  As the story progresses and Rick's journey becomes more and more difficult, I feel that we are at the onset of a descent into a new realm of horror, or at least that's my take after enjoying another dastardly sampling of The Walking Dead. 

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