Todd and Kim here, back for the next installment of our joint Walking Dead reviews! (If you missed our past reviews here are the links: Book One & Book Two) This time we follow Rick and his fellow survivors as they continue to hunker down in a prison and avoid the zombie horde. We begin following the characters as they are enjoying a relative lull in the problems that they encountered en masse in the second book. It has been several weeks without a major incident, and the survivors begin to relax somewhat. They begin to clear out A Block, one of the last unexplored and most secure areas of the prison. They find a large generator and plenty of riot gear, both of which they think will prove useful. One day they see a helicopter as it crashes in the woods nearby. Rick, Michonne, and Glenn travel to check it out, and encounter another group of survivors that have created a safe zone nearby. However, not is all as it seems. Their de facto leader, a man known as “The Governor”, takes them to the safe zone and takes them hostage. This is only the beginning of the horrors they will face, as he shows his truly sick nature over the course of their imprisonment. Will Rick and his friends survive? What will happen to the rest of the survivors?
Todd: My first impression of this book was that it was even darker than the previous book. That is saying quite a lot, because the second book definitely delved into much of the darker themes of human nature. Parts of this book were definitely hard to get through, although I’m quite sure that if pushed to the limits that humanity has been during this series, people like “The Governor” would definitely exist, and it would be the responsibility of all of us to make sure that these people never get the power given to this man in this particular situation.
Kim: I definitely agree that this is the darkest one yet, showcasing themes of betrayal and revenge. Michonne’s storyline is a great example of what happens when you push someone too far in a lawless society. I really enjoyed the deeper questions that began to be asked here. Number one, how do we begin reestablishing society, both in social aspects (marriages, births, deaths) as well as setting up the foundations of society (law, punishment, and bare necessities)? Secondly, are we bad people if we have different beliefs in this new world than we had in the old world? Rick is a perfect example of this paradoxical question. In the old world, Rick was a police officer who lived his life by the law and would never dream of breaking it. Now in this new world, we’ve seen him steal, physically assault others, and even commit murder. In book three you begin to get a sense of this inner conflict that Rick undergoes, and how it’s affected him morally and emotionally. It’s things like this that make this series interesting to me. It goes above and beyond zombie fights, it deals with the inner conflicts that people have in the face of tragedy, and it makes you as a reader question what kind of person you would turn into if placed in this situation, pushed to your limits.
Todd: That’s a great point. Kirkman makes it clear that he’s writing more about the relationships between people during this crisis than the crisis itself. I found it interesting that this book mainly focuses on Rick, Michonne, and Glenn. I know the focus on Rick is obvious, but I think Kirkman’s inclusion of Michonne and Glenn is interesting and I was surprised to see some of the character traits that came out of them. Michonne was somewhat of an enigma throughout her time with the survivors, but we’re beginning to see what kind of a person she truly is. Glenn is slowly finding himself as a man and realizing his position in this new world thrust upon him. I found Rick’s transformation to be the most interesting. Throughout this series I’ve been rooting for him as the main character and rock upon which a lot of the other characters build their trust on. Others may see his transformation in this book as too harsh, but I think he’s doing exactly what he needs to do to survive and protect those whom he loves. I think he’s emerged more as a leader now than ever before. All in all, Kirkman is writing a hell of a series.
Kim: I definitely agree that Kirkman’s writing is outstanding. He truly is a leader in this genre, and I’m all set to go out and buy book four tomorrow.
Todd: You think this is hyperbole, but she’s actually going to do this tomorrow.
Kim: And who are you kidding? You know you’ll read it too! But I digress, back to the review. The last question that stood out to me for book three was how far is too far when dealing with revenge? There’s a very deep storyline here, one that is graphic and intense. Without the bounds of normal society, the characters’ boundaries become blurred and their actions can become extreme without them even noticing it. They must rely on the feedback of others to tell them how they are behaving. However, in this particular case, all these checks went out the window, and there was pure hatred and rage in the driver’s seat. How the reader interprets these actions is up to him/her, and Kirkman raises a very interesting point by leaving this interpretation open-ended.
So that’s it for our review! We hope you enjoyed reading about this series, and let us know in the comments section if you’ve read any of these graphic novels yet. You won’t be disappointed!
Todd’s Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Kim’s Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
This is my sixteenth completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge