Enter, Spine Tingling Villains and Disturbances (Review: The Walking Dead, Vol. 05: The Best Defense (Graphic Novel)

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The Walking Dead, Vol. 05: The Best Defense by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn | Rating: ★★★★☆

AND A WORTHY, SPINE TINGLING VILLAIN FINALLY ARRIVES. You know, the level of emotional distress and disturbance has always been high in this one, what with the introduction of The Governor. In its history, The Walking Dead has always balanced that sort of terrifying and unhinged tone to some of its greatest, most disturbing, villains. The Best Defense is proof of that--suddenly, surviving is much more trying than it had been for the group (in particular: Glenn, Michonne and Rick) and the events of this one are horrifying. What always strikes me about this one is that the biggest horror doesn't necessarily come about by the threat of the zombies we've come to fear.

Instead, the focus is shifted back on the horrors of humanity. We explored this briefly in past issues and volumes (including the last installment) but something about this one hits you right where it hurts. Because seeing some of the strongest characters in the history of the comics in such a dangerous position after going out and searching for fellow survivors to bring back to the prison is heartbreaking.

Life back at the prison is certainly no picnic. Between Carol's obvious mental illness and distress, and the bizarre request she makes of Lori and Rick (well; Lori because Rick isn't there) and other in between plots, the emotional turmoil is at a new level. What I love about this installment is that it continues to build and build on the survival instincts--the good, the bad--as well as the desire to bond with someone as a family. There's just as much horror to go around in terms of violence, but there's these new explorations of it--at the hands of humanity, the toll of other forms of abuse, etc etc--that makes it triple in stomach churns.

As always, the artwork is fantastic and the ever-revolving sub-genres work perfectly in tune with the plots and characters. One of the most suspenseful reads ever--but it's not without its flaws. 

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