WARNING WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS
The Walking Dead comic started in 2003 and began [unknowingly] paving the way for its television counterpart that would follow 7 years later. This only bolstered their fanbase and helped push it to where it is today 189 issues, 32 volumes (so far). While the show has always differed itself from the comics, starting as early as episode 2 where it introduces characters never shown in the comics; I’m talking about you Daryl, Can’t forget good ole T’Dog either. Or even the final episode of season one with the CDC.
Now Let me say that I had started the comics prior to the show, but had not caught up to the current issues at the time. This meant that I was not very far ahead of the show. When that first season ended though, I was ready, I needed to know what happens next and what better way that through the source material of the comics. In a matter of weeks, utilize most free time outside of my work schedule, I was finally reading issues as they came out every month. The story kept me engaged; feeling like I was a vested part of Rick’s group.
Seasons two rolled through and we [slowly] made our way to the farm. I knew this place! I knew these people (most of them)! It was thrilling to see this brought to life straight from the black and white pages. Quickly with the departure of Dale and Sophie on the show, it was clear that while the same frameworks, this was not going to be a direct tracing of the comic.
Cut to the end of season nine, we have continued to weave the story lines loosely with the comics, with the major player swapped. The question that I am left with: Do these changes improve upon it the source material or is it missing something?
I cannot answer that so simply. I have to break it down into three sub-questions. Do these changes improve the characters? Do I lose impact of the stories with filler from the show? Is the comic actually better than the show?
Let’s start with the first question, does the show improve upon the characters. In a lot of ways yes, Carol has become one of the strongest and most like-able characters, yet the comic killed her off very early on in the story. King Ezekiel is another character who I found was very bland on the page, however in my opinion Shiva made up for it by far. So when King appeared in the show I was expecting to be underwhelmed. Oh how I was wrong. Khary Payton brings a life to the character that I could have never imagined on my own.
While I commend those examples, another comes to mind that I am not as big a fan of, Negan. This will likely infuriate some fans, so let me start by saying the charismatic Jeffrey Dean Morgan is an excellent cast in the role. My critique is not of him in the role, but the writers use of the character and possibly over stretching his introduction. So many filler episodes between the two FULL seasons of so much Negan driven angst, causing me to be a frustrated viewer. Final verdict, the show still made many great improvements on these characters.
Now onto the question of filler episodes. I have already covered this a little with the Negan observations. However the build up to Terminus, was just as guilty of this. Very few of these kinds of fillers, in my opinion, have added anything of value to the series. In fact often infuriated fans with stunts like the Glenn dumpster fake out. These kinds of events are much fewer and far between in the comic. To quickly summarize, this is the weakest pillar of the show.
The final question, is the comic actually better than the show? This is simply a matter of opinion. While it may sound diplomatic, the truth is, that I would not say one is better over the other. Each has made a significant impact in their respective media type and I am a loyal reader/viewer of each. That may be a cop out but that is what I am going with and sticking with.
Alright it is time, what is the results of my review?
My Verdict: The Walking Dead….. video game is the best character and story telling experience of them all!
P.S. I mean Telltale’s (finished by Skybound), not that garbage Overkill Left 4 Dead knock off… Good riddance FPS TWD.