Monday, July 2, 2012

The Hot List: The Walking Dead - Rise of the Governor

I read The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor over the weekend and it was awesome.

I should start by saying I love both The Walking Dead comic book and the television series, so when I sat down with Rise of the Governor I immediately found myself in a familiar world. If you read the comics, Rise of the Governor is like time traveling back to the beginning of the series. You will learn how one of the nastiest comic book villains rises to power, and your reading of the comics will be a whole new experience.

If you've only ever watched the television series, read this book before season three starts. That's all. Just do it. And seriously... read the damn comics. They're amazing. 

The Walking Dead comic book is coming up on its 100th issue. That's a lot of comics. That's a lot of character development. That's a lot of shit these characters have been dragged through. If you've been reading along from the beginning, you have grown with these characters, and you've probably forgotten a lot about what those early days of the horrific zombie apocalypse were like for Rick and his crew. What Rise of the Governor does, and does well, is transport you back to the earliest days of the outbreak, it's like going back in time and seeing everything you already know, but from a different perspective. The twist is this is the perspective of a character for which you already know the ending. Or at least you think you do.

If you read this book, and if you're a fan of either the show or the comic I highly recommend it, you will relive a lot of familiar themes and events. You follow Blake and his companions through small abandoned towns, crowded highways, back alleys, and the rooftops of Atlanta. Tough decisions will have to be made. People will die. You've been there before with Rick, and you might find yourself thinking that it's just the same story with different characters. In some ways you would be correct, but that's kind of the point. Rise of the Governor is about so much more than the Governor. It's like a parallel universe where new questions are raised about Rick and what the world has become. In both of the other incarnations of The Walking Dead we watch Rick turn into a different person. In Rise of the Governor, you watch Blake become someone different too, and you can't help but compare the two men and wonder what would have happened if they're positions were flipped from the start.

Read this book and you will want to go back re-read the Governor issues of the comic. You'll look at that character with fresh eyes, with some level of understanding or maybe sympathy. And, if you stop and think about it for a moment, you'll realize you are experiencing something else too. You will realize how this Walking Dead world changes perspectives. You saw The Governor through Rick's eyes. You saw an evil man who thrived in an evil world. After Rise of the Governor, you will see a good man who succumbed to a broken world.

And then you will immediately wonder what the people of the Hilltop see when they look at Rick.  

The Walking Dead - Rise of the Governor
Written by Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga