Aug 2, 2010

Comics: The Walking Dead, Volume Two: Miles Behind Us

The second volume in Robert Kirkman's zombie saga sees Rick's band of survivors on the road, looking for a safe haven after the events of Days Gone By. As they travel and fight the zombies, lack of food and their personal losses, tensions rise in the group and in the end Rick's leadership might not be enough to keep them together.

Miles Behind Us shows a noticeable progress in terms of storytelling. While characters keep spelling their motivation and feelings out like they're on a therapist's couch (which I find highly unnecessary considering Kirkman's obvious skill with empty atmospheric panels), the narrative flows a lot smoother and without the hiccups of the first few issues.

Kirkman's study of human psyche under the stress of the zombie apocalypse also goes deeper here, although for some reason the emotional impact is lessened in comparison to the first volume. Still, questions of morality and whether killing the zombies is actually the right thing to do are well enough presented to compensate for the lack of tear-jerkers.

What bothers me is the pacing. Nothing particularly important happens in Miles Behind Us, and Kirkman could keep it up for literally thousands of issues in the same manner - people traveling, some of them dying, some of them getting together, some of them breaking up, some leaving and some new joining. The story will loose appeal quite quickly, so I am hoping that further volumes will present a change to the status quo.

One thing is clear though. Kirkman is a "straight to tpb" writer. I do not even want to imagine what it must have been like for people waiting for each new individual issue of The Walking Dead to come out, and I'm glad I started reading it when the series is nearing its 12th volume. I only hope the story does not get into an endless loop, but considering the ending of Miles Behind Us, I expect it won't.



  1. Roland- I've only read the first trade, and I wasn't very impressed, but the dudes at the comic shop all love this series, so it must get better...maybe by the third tpb? Personally, I think I'm as burnt out on zombies as I am vampires, and I got around to this comic series too late in the game.

  2. I don't think Kirkman is trying to make his zombies unique in any way. They're just a plot-device for character study. Now, whether his character study is going to become interesting enough...