The Walking Dead Deluxe #8 foreshadows what the series can really be as it settles into a sense of pacing that brings the best of the formula to the forefront. Character drama packed with twists and turns, just enough zombie action and a cliffhanger that leaves your jaw on the floor makes this an issue worth sinking your teeth into.
While there aren’t too many dramatic revelations happening in the pages of TWD Deluxe #8 such as when Amy was bitten or Shane killed, this issue leans heavily into the character dynamics that eventually helped to push the series into iconic territory. Kirkman outlines a straightforward story that we learn in the “Cutting Room Floor” afterward actually sticks close to the original ideas for the issue. This tight consistency gives the issue a strong foundation and direction to show it knows exactly where it is going.
As the deluxe vision brings in spectacular colors from Dave McCaig, we can get a little more into the moody atmosphere of winter settling in around the group. As we explore the impacts of the cold weather on zombies and what it could mean for the safety of the group, McCaig’s colors bring out a feeling of the harsh weather conditions that the original releases struggled to grasp as effectively. This is important for the small details in the lore of The Walking Dead and elevates the entire issue as a whole. While there are some great choices in the colors for character designs and even Wilshire Estates, it’s the surrounding world once again that shows just what colors can bring to a horror story like TWD.
We have some startling reveals in issue #8 such as Andrea hooking up with Dale and the drama surrounding Lori’s reveal that she is pregnant, but looking back at the issue now, it’s the survival situation that the group has been placed in that seems to take precedence. It feels like an issue that could easily come in much later in the series because it captures such a familiar tone. There is a struggle for basic essentials like canned good and boiled water combined with the search for shelter in quickly deteriorating weather that all emphasizes the dangers of the apocalypse outside of just Walkers roaming around. These factors all help to create the scenario that plays out where loved ones are holding each other just a little tighter that night and honestly, that is what TWD is all about at its core.
As a Deluxe issue, this is what you could call a simple “meat and potatoes” purchase. It may not have much in extras that will blow your mind, but it succeeds in what the series set out to do. This gives us all an awesome chance to read through the story one more time with the added nuance of colors to punctuate moods and aesthetics that help us to see the story in a new light and explore it further. But it even opens a few new doors as well. For those fans like myself who want to take an even deeper dive into the TWD Universe, this issue is also a primer for the novel The Rise of the Governor written by Kirkman himself along with Jay Bonansinga.
This novel features the Wilshire Estates that our group has just settled into and gives the background on some pretty intriguing Easter eggs like the sign on the final page. This opens up an interesting new benefit of the Deluxe editions outside of experiencing the story in magnificent full color, because this issue can be the perfect time to jump into some of the other mediums that TWD has made it’s way into. Kirkman even seemed excited to see the sign “ALL DEAD DO NOT ENTER” which was adapted into the TV series pilot episode, so there is some greater TWD Universe connective tissue that hardcore fans won’t want to miss out on, and hopefully it will convince some newer fans to dig a little deeper into TWD lore.
After The Walking Dead Deluxe #8, the seemingly never ending struggle for the most basic of human necessities has set in and there is no denying that we are in this for the long haul. It’s a relatively quiet issue but one with some deeply interesting connections to the ever-expanding TWD Universe that absolutely warrants a second read through!
The Walking Dead Deluxe #8: IN LIVING COLOR
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