Finally, a brief glimpse of hope.
The crew, forced to leave the sanctuary of Herschel’s farm, is back on the road in The Walking Dead Deluxe #12 and everything seems to be against them. No shelter and the weather is only getting worse as the snow packs the ground, hunger is setting in even for the children and there doesn’t seem to be a way out in sight. That is, until they find the prison.
That’s right it’s the discovery of the infamous prison! It feels like the very first leg of TWD has reached its conclusion with this discovery. Getting to know Rick and the group of survivors, seeing them set off and find Herschel’s farm are some of my own fondest memories of the franchise and it feels like we just kicked off the journey one more time with the Deluxe editions of TWD only days ago rather than months. But here we are, at the prison and despite all that we know transpires here, at the moment it is a period of hope for the group.
Hope isn’t something you come by often in a walker infested world like this. And in the normal world as we know it, a prison isn’t exactly a place that inspires a lot of hope for the future. But in TWD, a world turned upside down, a prison is exactly the kind of place where you might be able to snatch just the faintest bit of it. It’s just one way things are no longer as they seem and though it might be small in the greater picture, it’s an example of how the story plunges into the darkest parts of our lives to find a sense of something better in humanity, even if it is twisted or distorted. An example of how things can change drastically overnight and how you must be able to adapt no matter what.
The Walking Dead Deluxe #12 is all about adapting. The group has lost their safety in the farm and are struggling to survive. The fight with Herschel that gets everyone kicked off the farm is intense and despite the group’s literal begging, nothing will change his mind. With the group forced to find a different path ahead, this issue focuses mainly on outlining all of the different threats that they now face back on the road. It even goes out of its way to depict very specific necessities such as shelter and food, all necessities that the prison can provide for them. This helps to create a momentous turning point that is desperately needed.
While McCaig’s colors take a backseat to the deeper themes in the issue, he still manages to emphasize some of the more important elements that add nuance where there may not have been as much before. The reveal of the prison has more depth and feels like a more hopeful place with the introduction of the blue-scale color palette, but nowhere are McCaig’s storytelling beats in colors more noticeable than the last page. It’s a simple splash featuring Rick’s face, but the dirt and grime, scruffy beard and just a hint of something shining in his eye captures everything this issue attempts to convey with just a single look. It’s undeniably outstanding!
With a more hopeful path ahead right in front of the group this issue can be a strong reminder in our own lives for the impact of such a feeling. It is easy to feel shunned from the most important aspects of our own lives and avoid the expected places that might contribute to the worst of our own emotions but there is always a potential to find hope where you might not think it would be. The most unexpected of places could offer everything you need, all depending on the context of your situation and our own ability to adapt makes all the difference.
Kirkman may not have purposefully chosen the prison for such a sentiment but it still rings true even today nonetheless. This doesn’t guarantee an easy ride from here on out, in fact with what we know that happens at the prison we can assume that is very much not the case, but for this moment in time things are looking up compared to where the group has been, and that feeling is one to hold onto. And when we come across our own glimpses of hope, however fleeting, it is every bit as important to hold onto them as well.
The Walking Dead Deluxe #12: IN LIVING COLOR
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