Science fiction and fantasy
The Walking Dead: Safety Behind Bars
by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
Safety Behind Bars is relentlessly bleak, with lots of blood, guts, and tears. There isn't even a tiny bit of humour to lift the tone. There's a fair bit of angst and guilt from Rick as he worries about his responsibility for leading people into danger. He's also concerned with how he can best balance justice with the group's self-preservation. The ongoing situatio is also taking a toll on many of the characters' mental states.
This is very nearly a fascinating exploration of people's reactions to trauma and crisis, with a few hefty moral dilemmas thrown in for good measure. But these aspects keep getting interrupted by death and bloody mayhem. A few of the characters are very flat and extreme, particularly the ones who were introduced in this book, or who we haven't heard much from yet. It might be a bit of a spoiler to outline exactly which characters conform to particular stereotypes, so I won't. But I will say this happens more than once, and I wasn't surprised by the way some things turned out. There also isn't a slow build up to dramatic events. Instead it's more like a rush to violence at every opportunity, often for the flimsiest of reasons.
For Rick Grimes and his close friends the narrative poses questions about how much we can be responsible for other people's actions, and how far we should go in punishing transgressors, whether they have mitigating circumstances or not. But once the focus shifts to the secondary characters, their motivations seem a lot thinner and their personalities less interesting.
16th August 2013
If you like this, try:Zombie Apocalypse by Stephen Jones
A zombie plague threatens to spell the end for humanity. Can anyone stop the shambling advance of the undead?
Allison Hewitt Is Trapped by Madeleine Roux
A young woman hides from marauding zombies, knowing that eventually she must leave her place of safety and confront them.
iZombie: uVampire by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred
Gwen realises how much she has forgotten as a zombie after she eats a brain that holds memories that are uncomfortably close to home. This graphic novel is the second volume in the iZombie series.
Review © Ros Jackson