Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Walking Dead Volume 9: Here We Remain (2009)

After the status quo shattering events of the previous collection, I'm afraid "Here We Remain" comes perilously close to jumping the shark. Rick and Carl are forced to make their way alone in the wilderness, with modest arms and provisions. A pattern has been emerging to establish Carl as a sort of "John Connor" type, and that continues here, especially over a sequence in which he must defend himself alone. That's reasonably solid, but then the story deteriorates into "jump scares," fake-outs, and maudlin dialogues. Where we should have reached a point where the center could no longer hold, and perhaps the surviving members of Rick's party should have spun off into divergent narratives, we instead find a retreat to the familiar.

Worst of all, a new batch of characters are introduced, offering major revelations and a new direction of the most hackneyed sort. After five years of stories in the vein of Romero's first two "Dead" masterpieces, things seem to have taken a sharp turn toward the increasingly ridiculous later entries in that series. Only the foul-mouthed but highly amusing Abraham's nutty dialogue offers immediate hope for redemption. However, he represents another problem of the series: immediately replacing a "lost" element with a reasonable facsimile. As when Tyreese seemed poised to become Rick 2.0, Abraham could conceivably fill the same role, or even Michonne's. When the parts become interchangeable, tension and attachments dry up. Take note, Robert Kirkman.

On a positive note, Charlie Adlard, an artist I once held up as an example of how anyone could draw comics, continues to feed me crow. His characters are now easily discernible, even with varied appearances. His figures have more weight and depth. Emotion and personality ticks are coming through nicely in his faces, and everything just feels better rounded out. I may actually be a fan these days!


wiec? said...

good review. i got this the day it came out and have been meaning to read it. just didn't have a chance until the other day.

sad thing i noticed about this series is it can be hot and cold. long streches of character stuff (which is important) then bam ton of stuff happens then another long strech shoe gazing and not a lot happening. when it's on it's on. when it's not... it's not horrible but you just wish Kirkman would get on with it.

never made the "John Conners" distinction with Carl. interesting take.

Diabolu Frank said...

Glad you dug it! I understand where Kirkman needs the soap opera, and I usually enjoy it, but it was too sloppy and over the top here. Hopefully he'll get back on track, but I worry.


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