Review: The Walking Dead, Vol 03: Safety Behind Bars (Graphic Novel)

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The Walking Dead, Vol. 03: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn | Rating: ★★★★☆

My rating of the third volume, Safety Behind Bars is a bit lower than I anticipated. I loved it on my first read and still enjoyed it this time around but much less than before. A lot of the plots in this were fantastic--action packed, dramatic, heart-wrenching and downright spooky. Yet there was a bit of something missing in the tone when compared to its previous, and later, installments. I do not want you to misinterpret this as me saying it wasn't a good read because it was.

But! I thought there were parts that dragged on a little too much and relied on something else entirely at the end of the day. Can't really explain it beyond that--from two young characters gruesome deaths, the former inmates from the prison the gang now resides in, to the suicide pact of two other characters and the attempted murder of another, there's a hell of a lot to be seen. Just as disturbingly compelling as you expect, it definitely left me both on the edge of my seat and lost elsewhere in my emotions.

I loved the recurring themes of survival--would it really be a The Walking Dead story without it?--and the fact that Rick's emotional struggles are posed front and center.

I loved seeing all the familiar faces come back into play as well; despite the fact that it turns heartbreaking after some time. There was a lot of frights to be had with the zombies and the reanimation of several recently departed. We've got a new antagonist in what appears to be an unlikely force. It's all very nerve-wracking and frankly a blast to read.

And that cliffhanger at the end? Magnificent. I don't know why, but the way Safety Behind Bars ends just gets me pumped every-damn-time I read it. Overall, this volume is thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable reminding me why the series works so well. Great characters, life and death plots, and a good old fashioned zombie apocalypse worthy of some of the great horror classics of yesterday.

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