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May 28, 2014 / Jett

The Walking Dead Vol. 2: Miles Behind Us Review

I came away from Robert Kirkman’s first book with mixed feelings. While I was intrigued by the sections in which the TV show and the comics differ, it was clear that the show improved on the parallels in every way. Written years before the group of survivors found the farm, Vol. 2: Miles Behind Us tracks their journey to and from Hershel’s property. Unlike the show, the group makes a short-lived stop at an abandoned gated community.

If there was a time for the comic books to shine, it’s now. I had a lot of issues with season 2 of the show, as it dragged on for way too long. Ironically, the comic book suffers from the exact opposite problem. Kirkland races through all of the events at such a brisk pace that hardly anything gets enough time to develop. This is most apparent with the myriad of romances that are kindled here. Within no time at all, perfect strangers are magically soul mates. The most egregious of these is one where two people decide to have sex just to get it over with before they die, and then two pages later they’re ready to sacrifice everything for each other.

Even without my knowledge of the show to compare, these sudden shifts are ridiculous to the point of being unbelievable. I didn’t feel like this was a problem at all with the first book, so I don’t know why this is happening now. Since this installment features far less action, Charlie Adlard doesn’t get too many moments to truly strut his stuff. His black and white work is still good, though not strong enough to overcome its excessively brisk pacing.

The romance problems are new, though my gripe with Kirkland’s heavy-handed writing still exists. There’s too much needless exposition as well as moments where he feels the need to explain everything. I don’t know if he doesn’t trust Charlie Adlard to communicate these things through the art, or if he doesn’t trust us as a reader to get where he’s going, but I can’t stand how every thought and decision needs to be talked out and explained in detail to the point where characters are talking at the readers instead of with the others on the page.

While the first book left me curious for more, The Walking Dead Vol. 2: Miles Behind Us just made me mad. Irrespective of my thoughts of the shows that covered this same time period, pacing problems, forced romances and excessive explanations throughout drove me nuts. I know I’m a long way to go when it comes to catching up, but I’m currently having a hard time imagining myself carry on after this stinker.

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