Review: The Walking Dead Vol. 07: The Calm Before

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The Walking Dead, Vol. 07: The Calm Before by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

Perhaps one of the weakest length in the early run of the series, The Calm Before is basically a filler volume. Each issue had its perks and flaws but for the most part, the title says it all. It's a base. It is the calm before a storm--and the way that it ends on a cliffhanger, as per usual, makes this fact stand out more. The Walking Dead once again captures the horrors of how deeply scarring the world they are living in is. It's dark and gritty.

You know, the two things that stick out to me most in this volume is the mental health issues that plague one of the groups own--the days leading up to her successfully committing suicide. And the idea of starting--or continuing--a family in such dire circumstances. Can you imagine bringing up a child in this world? What Carl says is perfectly put--any new child would not know the world as it was, only as it now is. Something about that is chilling and perhaps one of the most emotionally charged moments in The Calm Before.

With Lori's pregnancy approaching the end, the group reaches for a new set of challenges. Another couple plans to start a family of their own. Meanwhile, the looming danger of other groups outside their own keeps things thrilling and terrifying. I liked how it set the stage for a new set of conflicts now that *that* other group is just outside the prison, but for the most part this is one of my least favourite installments and I felt a good chunk of it was pretty useless to the remainder of the series.

Still--it is fun. Campy, gory and heartfelt. Such an odd combination but oh-so-compelling.

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