The Walking Dead, Vol. 15 – Graphic Novel Review
TITLE: The Walking Dead, Vol. 15 – We Find Ourselves
AUTHOR: Robert Kirkman
PENCILLER: Charlie Adlard
COLLECTS: The Walking Dead #85-90
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASED: December 14, 2011
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
I’ve always preferred to read The Walking Dead via these trade paperbacks, as opposed to the single issues. With the single issues it’s sometimes difficult to be patient with this series, as the majority of it consists of talky scenes which by themselves might mean very little, but they add up to something much greater. When you read the trades, you can see what they add up to. That being said, We Find Ourselves didn’t exactly add up to a thrilling read. It was intriguing at times, but not necessarily exciting.
This book follows the catastrophic events of No Way Out, in which zombies overran the small community of survivors that Rick and his comrades now find themselves a part of. Carl suffered a life threatening, and from many a fan’s eyes controversial, injury that has left Rick devastated. Meanwhile, some of the survivors are wondering why exactly Rick has been appointed leader, as he’s been in the group for so little time. That question may lead to an uprising that could tear the group apart.
One of the big themes of this book is community, its importance in this post-apocalyptic world, and whether it can truly be achieved when everyone is fighting for survival. In truth, that’s been a theme throughout the entire series, and it’s never really worked out for Rick and the gang, has it? Part of what makes this series so wonderful is the fact that the zombies aren’t the greatest threat to the survival of humanity. The question of whether or not these characters can survive is intertwined with the question of whether they can co-exist as a unit. It’s certainly a topic worth analyzing, and this book does it fairly well. Rick and Carl add a different perspective to that idea, as Carl’s injury forces them to look at how much they need each other.
The purpose of We Find Ourselves seems to be bridging the gap between No Way Out and whatever the next big event is in the saga. We’re playing up the idea of community, which will undoubtedly prove a major factor in forthcoming issues. We’re also developing the character beats further, and even developing some new ones, i.e. Rick confiding in Andrea. What happens between them in this book (at the very end especially) seems a bit forced at first, but when you look at the fact that they’ve gone through so much together, and are among few characters to have survived for so long, you forgive that. I’m waiting to see what happens in future issues before I condemn it altogether.
The fact is, there’s not a lot that actually happens in this book. I’m inclined to forgive a lot of that, because when you’re telling a story you can’t always keep the tension and intensity so high for a prolonged period of time. Sometimes you’ve got to build it to a fever pitch, then bring it down and start over. The fever goes down in this book, as it needs to. But I found myself wishing Kirkman and Adlard could have worked a smaller problem into the fold to spice things up a bit, and make us feel like we’re not just going through the motions. One can only hope that when things heat up again, it will be worth it.
Front page image from ifanboy.com. Interior image from graphicpolicy.files.wordpress.com.