The Walking Dead Volumes 1 & 2 revived a rotten corpse and revitalised my interest in the franchise after the TV show put a bullet in it’s head. Packed with drama, action and endless gore, the series thus far has been incredible.
But are things about to get worse for the group in more ways than one?
That’s what I’m here to find out. Carrying on the series I’m here to let you know whether Volume 3 is worth picking up! There will be full spoilers here so it may be worth skipping to the final score if you want to go in unspoiled.
With that out the way let’s dive into The Walking Dead: Volume 3!
Storming the prison, Rick and Tyreese destroy the undead. Awash with blood, gore and head shot after head shot, the opener is a really triumphant moment that feels like the first true win for the group.
I loved seeing this family like unit bunker down together and the support system they provide one another allows even the bleakest characters to feel like they have something positive. This aesthetic carries over to the reader and I found myself happy for the team that they had finally found some respite.
This is a credit to Kirkman’s ability as a writer. It’s not often that you find yourself gaining emotional attachments to characters but the authors powerful, relatable writing shines from the off and instantly makes this the best opener thus far.
‘Live every day like it’s your last’
Of course, this sigh of relief doesn’t last long and when the group stumbles upon a bunch of prisoners holed up within the fortress, their prejudices get the better of them. There is a air of tension as they discover the occupants crimes and I loved seeing the duplicity in Rick’s psychology as he dealt with worrying that they were not rehabilitated. Perfect as a survivor he has to balance this with his feeling of duty as an ex-Sheriff and it adds a depth to the protagonist that we hadn’t seen until now.
It’s expertly told and you can instantly see characters such as Lori’s dislike for the convicts. This highlights just how impressive the art is and there is subtext and emotion portrayed through even the simplest of line work which instantly gives the comic an extra layer.
Returning The Favour
Returning to the farm, Rick offers Herschel and his family shelter. It’s a nice turn on the characters part that highlights there still exists a strong morale code within him. I loved seeing the mainstay of the television series now back in the book but the comic still manages to throw a few curveballs readers way.
The main turning point of the story comes in a suicide pact gone wrong. Two of the lovers from the storyline decide to enact one but this massively backfires when one is murdered whilst the other survives. Racked with grief there are a couple of characters that step over the line and it’s enthralling to watch people that we know and love give into their darkest desires.
An important cliff note from this is that Rick discovers that everyone is infected by the fact that one of the suicidal lovers returns immediately upon flatlining. This informs the protagonist that upon death they will all be resurrected. Setting off across the wilderness, Rick begins a quest to confirm this and it’s a trip down memory lane for him as he returns to Shane’s burial site.
It’s a powerful, emotional confrontation that shows the character is slowly losing his grip on humanity and that the anxiety of living in this new world is slowly starting to get the better of him. I was engaged throughout this plot line due to its excellent portrayal of the protagonists personality and it definitely stood out as the book’s shining moment.
Killer with the convicts?
The final act of the book centres around the mysterious murders that begin to happen within the prison. The group, more paranoid than ever before, slowly turn their suspicions towards the prisoners and this creates a huge divide between them that has earth shattering consequences.
It’s great watching their prejudices slowly get the better of them and Safety Behind Bars creates the first real antagonist of the run. Whilst he goes down pretty easily the true dramatic purpose of his appearance is to provide the group with a moral quandary. They spend the finale debating the pros and cons of capital punishment and as each one weighs in on the subject it expertly demonstrates what kind of character they are.
It’s a debate that rages on heavily in the real world and it’s great that the comic was able to reflect this in an entertaining and engaging way. By the end, I found myself torn on the subject and this highlights just how thought provoking Kirkman’s work is.
In the end their prejudices undo them and the book ends on a satisfying cliffhanger that will leave you wanting more…a lot more.
Safety Behind Bars is the first real instance in the series so far where it feels like the world is slowly changing for the worse and humanity as a whole is losing its grip on reality. Packed with devastating moments, the book kept me engaged throughout and I cannot fault its intricacies nor execution.
This is another great chapter in The Walking Dead comic book series and that’s why it gets a…