Tag Archives: zombies

The Walking Dead #75

The Walking Dead hit its 75th issue on Wednesday, and writer Robert Kirkman made sure that the landmark would be remembered.        

Since issue 70 (read my review here), Rick and the rest of The Walking Dead crew have been living in a protected community outside of Washington, DC. Run by Mayor Douglas Monroe, the community is a well-organized and seemingly civilized suburban safe haven. The members of the community have jobs, houses, easy access to food, and they celebrate holidays like Halloween and throw dinner parties.     

However, ever since their induction into the community, the gang has definitely had a hard time fitting in. After spending a year living in fear of zombies, murderers and cannibals, Rick and company are struggling to accept that they may finally be safe. Carl has difficulty connecting with other children after having to grow up too quickly, Michonne can’t seem to part with her katana, and Glenn wants to get back out into the dangerous field of scavaging for supplies. For Rick, however, the transition has been noticeably difficult. Defying the community’s “no gun” policy, he’s determined to carry a secret weapon and intends on using it if their place in the community is threatened.   

In the past, Rick’s desire to keep his friends and family safe has forced him to make difficult decisions and cross moral lines. But despite his moral transgressions, his friends and family have (for the most part) accepted his choices as necessary for survival.

In issue 75, not everyone is on his side.     

Variant cover for issue 75 available at Comic Con.

Convinced that the community doctor, Pete, is beating his wife and son, Rick takes his recent position as constable too far and appoints himself judge, jury and executioner. He demands that Pete either be killed or exiled from the community. However, when Douglas makes it clear that Pete’s position as a doctor makes him too valuable, Rick loses his temper. The ensuing fight between Rick and Pete draws the attention of a few community members, and in his rage, Rick pulls a gun on Douglas. In a shocking twist, it is Michonne who finally subdues Rick — hitting him over the head with a rock. But a sudden explosion leaves Rick’s fate unclear.     

Michonne’s decision to take down Rick is a powerful and unexpected one. Like Rick, Michonne has shared Rick’s “survival of the fittest” philosophy for most of the series. Hell, this is the girl who they found walking around the countryside with two dismembered zombies (one of whom was her boyfriend!). Michonne’s actions demonstrate that it’s Rick who is the real danger to the community, and that he has changed too much to live in “civilized” society.  

Rick Grimes is played by Andrew Lincoln in the upcoming The Walking Dead tv series.

But it was the back-up story that really stole the show. Written by Kirkman and illustrated by Invincible artist Ryan Ottley, the seven-page full colour back-up featured current and past members of The Walking Dead cast. In a nonsensical and truly Kirkman-y way, the story picks up right after the end of issue 75, and  provides an alternate version of what could happen after Rick’s exploding disappearance.    

In the back-up, Rick awakens in a hospital room (a noticeable call-back to issue 1) with a new mechanical hand. After throwing on a superhero inspired costume, he’s ejected out into a battle field filled with zombies, aliens, and deceased TWD cast members. Michonne has enough time to explain that hostile aliens were behind the zombie apocalypse all along, just before her head is cut in half. 

The story provided a nice divergence from the usual emotionally heavy subject matter in TWD. Also, anything that involves Michonne wielding a lightsaber is automatically awesome in my books. Overall, the back-up story was fun and Ottley’s crisp images, combined with dynamic poses and facial expressions, really added some vibrancy to Adlard’s usually dull characters. 

Issue 75 included even more tasty extras, such as the 10 full-page photos of the cast of the upcoming TWD television series. The six episode series, scheduled to air in October during AMC Fearfest, has been filming in Atlanta, GA, since early June. Images from the set and interviews with the crew have been promising, and the casting decisions seem spot on. Check out AMC’s The Walking Dead blog to see all the cast photos.  

The cast of AMC's The Walking Dead.

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The Walking Dead #70

After 14 months since the zombie outbreak, Rick and co. have finally arrived at a zombie “safe zone” – a small community of survivors living in a fortified neighbourhood outside of Washington D.C.

 The opening pages rely heavily on artist Charlie Adlard’s illustrative talent. Nearly an entire page of panels is dedicated to visuals of the speechless, dumbfounded WD crew as they look upon their new surroundings with shock and disbelief.  But after following The Walking Dead for years and witnessing countless betrayals, you can’t help but share their skepticism. At this point in the story, the reader feels like a member of the crew, so even a group of carefree children playing in zombie-free suburban streets can leave you with an uneasy feeling.

Rick is introduced to Douglas Monroe, the leader of the community and a former politician. Although Monroe comes off a little crazy, the two seem to bond over their acceptance of violence as a necessary reality, even before the dead began walking.

Monroe quickly invites Rick to stay in the community, where he promises Rick will be provided with some of the luxuries he thought he’d never enjoy again – electricity, running water, and a home. In exchange, Rick and his friends must become fully functioning members of “society” and contribute to the success and survival of the “safe zone.”

Rick’s former experience as a police officer leads to his appointment as town constable, a decision that made me incredibly uneasy. After living in a world without law and order for over a year, can we really expect the WD crew to become stable members of society again? We’ve seen them commit countless morally questionable acts, a reality that made me fear more for the welfare of the people within the community. Furthermore, this month’s cover art is unsettling. Rick’s uniformed image is veiled in shadows (the shadows around his face are almost sinister), and although he used to be a police officer, he definitely isn’t the same man he used to be.

If anything, this issue drives home the reality that the zombies are no longer the enemy in The Walking Dead. Throughout the series, the mindless hordes of zombies have literally torn this group apart, but it is the calculated and deliberate actions of the other characters (the Governor and the hunters), that defines the true villains. Ironically, it is actually within the fortified walls of the “safe zone ” where the true danger lies, and not in the zombie infested outside world.

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Transforming the zombie

People who know me know that I like zombies. Over the last few years,  the genre has gotten a lot of playtime in film, and I’ve been able to enjoy a plethora of new zombie stories on the big screen.  

More recently however, a lot of cool things have been happening with the zombie genre as it slowly gnaws its way into new mediums. George A. Romero pioneered the zombie genre back in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead, but since then, the zombie has spread, consuming and transforming new  mediums along the way. No longer is the zombie confined to live-action film.

Here are a couple upcoming zombie projects I’m looking forward to:  

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead TV Series 

The zombie is usually a creature of film. However, 2009’s Dead Set was an incredibly successful zombie miniseries and Frank Darabont’s live-action adaptation of the comic book series The Walking Dead (my all-time favourite comic book series) has great promise as well. Recently picked by AMC, the series follows Rick Grimes, his son, and a group of other survivors as they struggle with life, death and the undead after the zombie apocalypse. 

Rumour has it that filming will begin this May and actors such as Battlestar Galactica’s Apollo (Jamie Bamber) and LOST’s Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) are thought to be in the running for the lead of Rick Grimes.  

A.D.  

You don’t see a lot of horror films, especially zombie films, in animated form. But damn am I glad to see something really new and creative breathe some life into the zombie genre. According to an interview with the director, writer and producer, A.D. is currently only in teaser trailer form, but they’re hoping it will get picked up for a feature-length film.  

Watch the teaser trailer now:  

So as you can see, there are a couple new zombie projects coming down the line that I’m sure will help to invigorate the zombie genre (beyond the recent introduction of the “fast” zombie). 

Know of any other upcoming zombie comics, webseries, TV shows or films that you think are new, creative or transformative?

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