A Roadmovie to Hell. The Journey Commences.In his first volume of The Walking Dead series Robert Kirkman brilliantly introduced his characters setting the foundation for an enthralling story. Volume 2 "Miles Behind Us" provides an excellent and well staged sequel in the course of which the author's capability for characterisation reinforces the bond between Kirkman's protagonists and his readers.
The final scene of "Days Gone By" has already made it clear that social conventions, rules and regulations have become fragile in this new world. This creates a situation where trust becomes an important issue – and the focus of Kirkman's storytelling in this volume. Without taking on the role of heterodiegetic narrator himself, he still acts as an observer whose foremost task is to portray the changes his protagonists undergo in these extreme circumstances. To do so he mostly uses dialogue supported by Charlie Adlard's impressive and contrasting imagery. New relationships form and – depending on the person they afflict – bring out varying characteristics in each person.
Tell the hardest truths first: Everybody is alone.More and more the people around Rick are confronted with their personal problems and emotions. New relationships and constellations triggered by newcomers also change the group's dynamics. And, once again, Rick himself is haunted by his personal issues. Certain events raise fundamental questions, while his – almost naive – optimism suffers a hard blow when new and unexpected problems arise and create a drastic turning point.
Despite all the tension Kirkman never neglects the classic element of comic relief though. This usually lightens up his readers and helps them sympathise with his characters, before things get rough again.
All Zombies are Grey in the Dark. Here They are Even Black and White.In this book Charlie Adlard offers a very different imagery right from the beginning. He took over Tony Moore's job – who is responsible for the cover art of this issue. By replacing Moore's very detailed panels Adlard introduces a reduced yet expressive style, that mostly excels through contrasting and powerful inks.
This of course doesn't affect the story at all in the negative. Drawings and text are still extremely balanced and impressively support each other. Grey scales even received special attention in this black & white production: Cliff Rathburn takes on the role of "colorist". His unobtrusive grey perfectly adds to Adlard's rich black.