The Walking Dead Vol 9: Here We Remain
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Publisher: Image Comics
What’s tougher, writing an ongoing series that tries to give a fresh spin to a concept that’s been done to death in popular culture? Or writing an ongoing series that just gets better with every single issue? If you read The Walking Dead, you’ll realise that the questions above are rhetorical. Robert Kirkman’s survivalist horror comic book satisfies both criteria ”“ it’s a brilliant zombie story, one that takes the best of the Romero movies and their ilk, combining it with razor-sharp insights into human nature and civilized society; at the same time, Kirkman’s storytelling gets into your skin, his character development makes you feel for every one of the various protagonists he introduces in his saga, and his pacing ensures that the twists of the story catch you unawares at its emotional moments. As someone once said, a good story is one where the author makes you care for his characters, and then proceeds to do horrible things to them. One of the greatest strengths of the series is its steady creative team ”“ Charlie Adlard’s moody black-and-white artwork consistently delivers, his style almost effortlessly capturing static moments and the violent action sequences. Plus, he draws some mean zombies.
While the cast of characters keeps changing as the story proceeds, The Walking Dead broadly deals with the life of Rick Grimes, a small-town policeman whose life has been turned upside down thanks to the zombie plague. At the beginning of the ninth book, Rick and his ten-year-old son Carl are all alone, having separated from the rest of the survivors because of certain life-altering events in the previous episode. Rick is injured, delirious with fever, and in all probability losing his mind. When father and son make contact with another batch of survivors, some familiar, some not, they have to figure out if the newcomers can be trusted, and whether the “expert” with them ”“ who says that there’s a cure available for the zombie plague in Washington ”“ really knows as much as he claims to. Like always, the volume is a self-contained milestone in the ongoing story, and also an addictive dose of wack that leaves you craving for more from Kirkman and Adlard. Highly recommended.