The Walking Dead: compendium 3
Medium: comic
Year: 2012
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano
Country: USA
Keywords: Walking Dead
Format: Issues 97-148, 1000-ish pages
Website category: Comics
Review date: 9 August 2023
Walking Dead
Three-quarters of the way through. More Walking Dead. It's still good.
There are three scary things here.
The first is Negan. I'd actually heard a bit about him. I'd even heard about his signature scene, in which he has some of our heroes tied up and chooses one with eeny-meeny-miny-mo and then SPOILER SNIPPED BUT IT'S HORRIBLE. Negan managed to shock me anyway. Expectations exceeded. The guy's an abomination.
Actually, he reminds me of Billy Butcher from Ennis's The Boys. Both characters are jovial, surprisingly intelligent thugs in leather jackets who'll probably have a grin on their faces even when doing something stomach-turning. They both disapprove of certain kinds of depravity (violence to children, sexual attacks, etc.) and are capable of being practical and reasonable. They're both funny. They both swear so much that they almost turn it into poetry. Even their haircuts are similar.
And, of course, they're both terrifying.
The second scary thing is peace. Rick and his people succeed. They create a civilised community with regular patrols on horseback that are doing an impressive job of seeing off the undead. People have constructive, non-violent jobs like carpentry and farming. They have fairs, of all things. Fairs! It's a happy ending.
...but this is only Compilation 3. There are still another 1000 pages after this. It can't last. Morons, white trash and hostile suspicious bullshit definitely haven't left the building.
After that, the last scary thing is the Whisperers. I'd been wondering how Kirkman was planning to follow up on Negan, who'd felt like the final word in human-vs-human conflict in the Walking Dead universe. Trying to top Negan with a super-Negan would just get silly. I was right. Kirkman had plans and they're completely different from anything we'd seen so far. You'll understand why the Whisperers believe what they do. Their philosophy is coherent and it's worked well for them so far. You could even argue that it's the most logical way to live in this world. But... bloody hell. Alpha is messed up.
It's still good stuff. The book even made me laugh twice, although "comedy" most definitely isn't its default tone. Its characterisation and character-based storytelling are still as strong as ever. I love what Kirkman does late in the compendium with splitting up A, B and C plots into two-page chunks, then cutting between them in ways that let them reinforce each other and ramp up the dramatic tension even in what's theoretically a lull in the book's usual violent tone. This book will also make you say, "Jesus is practically superhuman and could probably walk on water." (Trust me, it makes sense in context. There's this guy who's nicknamed Jesus, you see, because he's got a beard and he looks like the pictures.)
Whoah. The end is in sight. This series has been a monster.