The Walking Dead Vol. 02: Miles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn | Rating: ★★★★★
There's something about The Walking Dead that feels like a classic horror film--it's easy to see why its following has stuck to it so long and why T.V. fans everywhere salivate for its phenomenal television adaptation. In Miles Behind Us, the second volume of the graphic novel series that started it all, we see a glimmer of life as the survivors struggle to--well--survive.
After the groundwork is set for the series as a whole, both in volumes one and two, we settle in with the loss of Shane (and the potential gravity of Carl having done the deed); the unexpected pregnancy of another character, the arrival of several new faces, the loss of others, a main character is nearly lost and more. In other words: plot twist after plot twist after plot twist.
Miles Behind Us feels like an expansion on what was already set up as an introduction to a brave (and horrible) new world. Now that we're familiar with the general story board, we're able to flesh out the characters and their connections to one another as well as, hopefully, dive into backstories and the like. What I liked most about Miles Behind Us is that it felt undeniably like it was more fleshed out than the first volume. This is a factor that comes into play in any story--the more development there is, the more compelling the stories become. And in a series like The Walking Dead, the story only grows from here on out.
Superior to its predecessor, Miles Behind Us touches base on topics that prove human complexities are ever present even in an ever changing world. Humans are always going to be human and that's all there is to say. We've got guilt, love, loss and more. We also see the characters seeking out even the slightest sense of comfort and normalcy, despite the hits that just keep coming during the zombie invasion. I feel like it adds that extra emotional layer to the characters struggles and it makes you feel even more for them than you previous had. Which is saying something--since chances are you, like me, have already begun to care for them all.
What I liked most about the storyline is that we explore the harsh realities of what it means to be a survivor. We know the stakes. But when a kid nearly dies and sparks fly with a new setting, and the groups fate is left in the hands of a stranger, it seems like things have only been kicked up a notch. Plus, we're exploring the odds the group faces in finding places to temporarily reside in--as well as the weather being a major factor, now that it's winter in their timeline.
Ultimately, it was a really fun read! Just as fun the second time around. I thought the cliffhanger of the first volume was much more satisfactory (mainly because I hate Shane) but the idea that the group may have found a new home or new danger is still a solid end note that leaves questions lingering at the back of readers' minds. I remember reading it for the first time and wondering what would come next; what Julie and Chris were planning, if Allan would be able to move forward, what would happen next with Glenn and Maggie staying behind.
The story is still timeless, fast and terrifying in the best ways possible. The Walking Dead: Miles Behind Us proves it has earned its rightful place at the top of the food chain when it comes to horror graphic novels and is one of the most satisfying comics of all time. It kicks you straight in the chest during some moments and lifts up the hairs on your arm the next. I loved it.