Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore


I couldn't help but notice how similar the start of The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye is to the movie 28 Days Later. Rick Grimes is a cop who gets shot in the line of duty, only to wake up in hospital an unspecified number of days later, to find that the whole world has been overrun by zombies. Rick spends some time stumbling around and discovering the ruin of civilisation, avoiding disgusting zombies in various states of decomposition and ravenousness. He's determined to seek out the rest of his family, who he's extremely worried about.

This story is about a world that's stripped down and free of the distractions of modern life, from TV to red tape to money. It's almost like a world that's gone back in time to more lawless days, so it's probably no accident that Grimes is a police officer. He's sworn to protect and serve, and he seems to want to do this even though the police force that employed him is no longer around. Nearly everyone has to be armed for protection against the zombies, even the children.

Socially, the world of The Walking Dead has shrunk, so that people are left dealing with far smaller groups of people. This magnifies all of the tensions and petty jealousies, but it also strengthens some of the bonds between people. There is no-one else, so they can neither escape each other nor live without each other. So on one level it's less about surviving a zombie attack, and more about people getting on together when life has suddenly become very precarious.

The plot is fairly fast-moving, but I didn't find it all that fresh. This is a standard zombie apocalypse scenario that puts no emphasis on why or how the outbreak took place, and offers no new spin on the theme. So it's up to the characters to create the interest. They're quite believable, but I didn't find them especially funny, quirky, or endearing. Shane, the butch cop who was Rick's colleague before the outbreak, is particularly transparent. But basically Rick is an everyman surrounded by a lot of everymen and everywomen.

Tony Moore's black and white artwork is clear and competent. I'm not sure whether I would have preferred colour in a story with quite so many rotting corpses in it. It's certainly a gruesome graphic novel.

When it comes to plot, characters, and dialogue, I found Days Gone Bye to be serviceable but not special. There are no glaring flaws, but it's not a unique take on the zombie genre. However, the ending does leave scope for more interesting character development in later episodes.

31st July 2013

Book Details

Year: 2004

Categories: Books

  Male Protagonist  
  Not For The Squeamish  

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