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The Final Wave: Zombies, Kings and Runaways

The last set of books I had the pleasure of reading are miscellaneous (but still awesome) series on our pull list that don’t have a central theme or connection to one another. Except for the awesomeness.

They are: The Walking Dead,  The Dark Tower: The Road Home, Runaways

THE WALKING DEAD

*Possible Spoilers, Ya’ll*

When this series written by Robert Kirkman and drawn by Charlie Adlard first started out, it had the excitement of a fresh take on the tired Zombie Genre…following closely a band of survivors with the Zombie Menace being merely a backdrop for their tragedies and turmoils.

But in the last 12 issues, the series has sort of devolved into a slaughter fest. It started out with a trickle as naturally members of the group fell victim to a bite, a murderous rampage, suicide, hostile groups of surivors, more suicide, etc.

It stands now following only two survivors.

Our hero – the small town cop who must become leader and hold together his damaged psyche for the good of the order is totally nuts, sick and only has one hand. His son is packing all the heat and taking care of the two of them.

And while the young kid versus the Zombies angle is new and interesting…I sort of lost interest when a good chunk of the characters died.

On one hand, part of the suspense and intrigue of the book was that no one, not even your favorite character – was safe. Or spared from some kind of torture or humiliation. Anyone and everyone could bite it (or be bitten). But around issue 40…it became clear that nearly EVERYONE was going to bite it. Characters that you knew and loved were being picked off one or two an issue until the outright slaughter-fest that culminated in Issues 48 and 49.

And now, the series is ringing a bit hollow for me. I loved the intrigue of the author not holding any particular character as a sacred cow…but killing off pretty much everyone leaves the audience fearing for the state of the book, rather than just the state of their favorite character.

I commend Kirkman’s willingness to go for the realism in the book. I truly do. But it’s a series, afterall – and continued readership should factor in here somewhere. I realize there was desperate need to shake things up after we’d spent nearly a year moldering away in the prison…but I actually liked the idea of the prison.

The prison could have been used for something more. But that’s just me. As it stands – I still plan on following the book, but I’m a little leery at this point about where things are headed. With most of the cast dead (presumably) , there is opportunity for new and interesting directions.

It’s worth noting that the characters are still incredibly well written, and the black and white art never fails to impress. I could hardly conceive of this book in color…and feel it would be a shame if they ever make a decision to swing that way. Adlard has a great style which works for the content of the comic – his zombies are impressively creepy and very human…and watching the inevitable decay of the “walkers” has been a real treat.

Yes – I have glowing reviews about everything in this book but my disappointment still lingers regarding how things are shaping up in the plot

THE DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME

This is the second book in the series inspired by the Stephen King collection of SEVEN NOVELS (yes, I’ve read them all). This comic book series promises to tell many of the stories that were merely mentioned in passing throughout the novel – specifically those following the young Roland Deschain and his two best friends Alain and Cuthbert to the battle of Jericho Hill.

It’s already set itself up for a series finale, which is something that I personally like. Something I’ve appreciated about TV series and comic book series by particular writers (*cough* Brian K. Vaughn *cough*) is the promise of an ending.

Yep – I’ll do 50 issues, and then I’m out. That’s the end of the story. It’s a refreshing change of pace when you’ve been following mainstream Marvel (or DC) characters whose story now spans 6 or 8 DECADES.

This series started off trodding well known territory, which was fine by this reader…the story of young Roland and Susan Delgado and all that romantic shite…mmm, that was some of the best material in the whole 7 Novel series, IMO.

The writing in this book is shared between Robin Furth and Peter David or PAD (don’t act surprised) with the art provided by Jae Lee (it’s somehow creepy and gorgeous at the same time). Although it’s hard to compare Stephen King and Peter David – the audience is being asked to do just that on a regular basis.

As someone who has read both quite extensively…I can pick PAD dialogue cleanly and neatly away from Stephen King dialogue. And as much as I love PAD – his style of dialogue does not always flow with the Mid World speech patterns. Though it does make me yearn for Madrox and Layla…

Which isn’t to say there is anything wrong with the Dark Tower series. I approve of their being released in 5-6 issue archs, covering one storyline neatly and then moving onto the next. The pacing is perfect. I have little complaints about the series as a whole. As someone who dabbles in the art of writing…I can only imagine the enormous pressure PAD is up against tackling and adapting the work of a world famous and beloved author like Stephen King. It’s got to be fucking nerve wracking.

From that vantage point – I would say he’s doing a more than adequate job. The newest storyarch Treachery has already hit comic stores on 9/10/08 – and you can bet it’s going into the box. 🙂

ALSO: A new edition has been added to our box – The Stand: Captain Trips.

RUNAWAYS

This is going to be short, sweet and to the point. Getting into this series was slow going for me. I was harassed into reading it by Dan, and the first issue was some “wrap up” of the entire series that barely held my attention.

But it gets such good press, and then there was the Whedon cross-over, that I finally had to turn back to Issue #1 and re-read. I’m pretty sure I made it through maybe issue 15 or 16…

I’m not at all caught up on this book. It isn’t as if the characters aren’t compelling or the plot isn’t interesting or the art sucks. I love the first two series writers, Brian K. Vaughn and Joss Whedon with art by Adrian Alphona.

With this book, I’m going to pull the age card and state that I might be the wrong demographic. If I were younger – in HS or middle school – this series would probably be “the shit.” It would be to me what the X-Men USED to be. Engaging team dynamics, character development, comprehensive plot structure, etc. But I’m feeling a bit too old for these adventures. I’m too old for the teenagers and their teenaged escapades.

There, I did it. I dated myself. I’m totally comic book dated now. So, unless Dan or someone else offers me some compelling reasons that this book NEEDS to stay on the pull list, I’m afraid it’s going to be kicked to the curb.

IN CONCLUSION:

Overall I’m pretty pleased with my miscellaneous comic book series.

The Walking Dead continues to thrill and chill, though less so than when it had a reasonably sized cast.

The Dark Tower has started treading into new material territory, and I’m stoked to see what sort of mayhem and adventure PAD and the King creative team has to offer up Roland, Alain and Cuthbert.

Sadly, Runaways will go missing from my box at the next CB store visit…unless someone wants to intervene on it’s behalf.

That’s it for now, but I can promise more exciting opining and rambling in the way of some kick-ass graphic novels I’ve read lately. So stick around.

Much Love, Mindy C

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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

One response to “The Final Wave: Zombies, Kings and Runaways”

  1. Hisham says :

    After starting the Dark Tower series back in High School, it was a relief to finally finish it off less than a year ago.

    Not to diminish the story of Roland and Susan, but the biggest hurdle for me was getting through Wizards & Glass. After waiting to see what was going to to happen to Roland’s new ka-tet, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read a prequel in the middle of the series.

    I got over it, and I have to say that the Marvel adaptation gave me a greater appreciation for that chapter in the series.

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