The Walking Dead Deluxe continues in issue #4 that may seem like a by the numbers TWD book at first, but it actually goes out of its way to establish one of the most unique aspects of the zombie-lore found in the series as well as furthering the dramatic tension between Rick, Lori and Shane once again.
So let’s dig in!
Looking back at the series, there are a lot of critical moments that stand out as memorable. For fans of the TV series on AMC, this issue will stand out for that very reason because it features Rick’s return to Atlanta with Glenn as they try to find more guns for the campsite. It plays out very differently than what happened in the show, but it strikes the same frantic tone that makes this trip into Atlanta so intense. Rick’s plan to get himself and Glenn into the city actually becomes a significant plot point in the series because it’s where we learn that covering up the smell is how you can walk amongst the herds. Kirkman describes this as his first (and maybe only) thing he added to the Romero-style zombie mythology, and while it might not hold up to an in-depth analysis of bodily functions after death, it does help to show a natural progression from his core influences and taking them just one step further to give readers something that they haven’t seen before. This injects a feeling of depravity that is found in Romero’s work and many others which helped the genre itself to explode in popularity, but it also shows that not everything has been done ad inifitum when it comes to zombies.
Dave McCaig’s coloring work on this issue finds an interesting importance in detailing this plot point, giving readers a bit more insight into just what is required to blend into the Walkers. From the discolored hand tucked into Glenn’s pocket to the chunks of vomit mixing with the gore, it’s a gruesome look to say the least. It also shows that you don’t necessarily need to bathe in the blood and guts similar to how we saw on the show which took the method to the extreme. There is a brilliant atmospheric shift that happens as well that is easily lost in the original black and white comics. Beginning with an ominous discussion at night, to waking up to a sunny day full of potential and ending with a gloomy rainfall carries the issue not just in tone but thematically as well. This brings back the nuance afforded to the story in color as discussed in our first installment, offering new clarity on the story even in the slightest of ways.
While Rick and Glenn are combing through the city in search of guns, we see Lori spiraling deeper into her feelings with Rick deciding to leave again. This has a multifaceted impact that sees her conflicted with what has happened with Shane and how she can repair her relationship with Rick. It’s a great source of human drama that contrasts the life or death survival happening in Atlanta, showing the different strengths of the series in just one issue.
Though this issue doesn’t feature any tough-to-stomach deaths or major steps forward for the group, it still finds plenty of success in strong dialogue from Kirkman. A lot of fans describe TWD series as mostly “talking heads” with brief moments of insanity breaking them up, and I feel like that description fits The Walking Dead Deluxe #4 quite well. It somehow manages to feel like a fast paced issue and does a good enough job at continuing to build tension in the group, but we really get a feel for Rick’s drive in this issue. He knows how to navigate this new world, arguably better than anyone else in the group outside of Glenn and it’s already showing.
The differences between the comic and the show are on full display in this issue, but not in the way you might expect. The TV show has always done a great job at hitting the main plot points that you want as a fan but sometimes getting there in a different way. We see the infamous tank from the TV Show in this issue but not used in the same way and the focus is primarily on Rick and Glenn without introducing more survivors. But the important elements such as sneaking by Walkers covered in blood and guts, the emphasis on arming the group and the drastic turn for the worse that happens when the rain begins to fall are all there. In my opinion, this issue is a signifier for how the comics handle the story in a more impactful and meaningful way early on, keeping a clear focus on Rick’s journey without quite as many tangents.
If there is one thing that is certain, The Walking Dead Deluxe #4 shows that what is happening between Lori and Shane is only going to get worse from here. Lori’s feelings are causing Shane to turn against the group and we can see it in his expression, brought to life better than ever by McCaig’s colors. The ending is a clear moment between the two that shows there absolutely will be no going back to how things were before Rick’s return. Despite the state of the world and the downfall of everything, this intimate character drama remains the driving force of the series. TWD has always made us hug our loved ones just a bit tighter but this issue brings to light the lasting consequences of when that notion gets blurred in the worst of ways.
The Walking Dead Deluxe #4: IN LIVING COLOR
User Review( votes)