Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Walking Dead Volume 16: A Larger World (2012)

"Scintillating" is not a word that I would use for any of the last, what, half dozen trade collections of The Walking Dead (give or take?) This edition was better than the worst of those, but not as good as the best, so we'll go with "fair to middling." It's funny that I read this before The Girl Who Owned a City: The Graphic Novel, but am reviewing it after, and am only just now struck by the similarities. O.T. Nelson's survivalist epic probably wasn't a direct influence, but it's funny that both books are about sheepish townfolk in isolated post-apocalyptic communities seeking out roving mercenaries to fend off predatory gangs. Kirkman's story works better as a comic book than Nelson's, though, but at their heart both are transparent appropriations of westerns transplanted into a modestly sci-fi milieu.

Things in Riverdale are samey-samey. Andrea appears to have her own disconnected rotary phone to the afterlife, a ploy to heighten her compatibility with Rick (fuck, she's dying in #100, isn't she?) Sophia running around in this book reminded me that I never gave a shit about her, and she simply triggers cognitive dissonance with the TV version. A Marty Sue takes down Michonne and Abraham, so Boba Fett. Carl does something very Carl-y, and then walking walking walking, new digs revealed in a two page spread. Cue another naive, ineffectual leader to contrast against Rick. Swagger, headbutting, new old plan, misguided optimism before an inevitable colossal failure in a future volume. Formula much?

I know there's a big death coming up. I don't want who it is spoiled, but I pray it's Rick. For what it was, this trade was well done, but we're stuck in a repeating story cycle that bores me to tears.

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