The Walking Dead, “Miles Behind Us”
In a flashback, Lori stands alone on the highway outside of Atlanta. Shane approaches her and the two discuss their situation and the grief she feels for having left Rick at the hospital. Lori expresses feelings of loneliness and in the heat of the moment, Shane and Lori make love. Back in the present, Lori spits on Shane’s grave before meeting with Rick and the others as they break camp and prepare to move. Andrea is still coming to terms with the death of her sister and Dale tries to comfort her. While clearing wreckage from the highway, the survivors are met by a man named Tyreese with his daughter and her boyfriend in tow and are welcomed into the group.
After a few days worth of travelling, the survivors happen upon a gated housing community that shows promise once they complete a house to house check for zombies. Just as everyone gets used to the prospect of sleeping in beds, Rick watches in dismay as the melting snow reveals a sign that reads, “all dead do not enter.” As if on cue, herds zombies emerge from the houses and attack the survivors as they scramble into Dale’s RV. Donna is killed, leaving Allen and his two boys stricken with grief.
A hunt for food results in Carl accidentally getting shot by a man named Otis, who leads Rick to a nearby farm for aid. Rick is met by Hershel, a farmer who’s skills with tending animals allows him to successfully pull the bullet out of Carl’s body. As the boy recovers, Rick asks if they can all stay at that farm and are willing to sleep within Hershel’s barn. The farmer causally mentions that is where they keep the zombies of his friends, neighbors and loved ones alive. Rick is upset by this and offers to kill them, a suggestion that sends Hershel in a rage, as he desperately believes that the government is finding a cure.
Naturally, things go real bad real quick, as an attempt to shepherd a zombie into the barn leads to the escape of those trapped inside, killing one of Hershel’s daughters and son. In his grief, Herschel orders the survivors to leave his farm, threatening to shoot Rick if they don’t. Glenn, who has developed a relationship with Hershel’s second daughter Maggie, offers to stay behind. While on the road, Dale discovers a prison situated not too far from the farm. With high hopes, the survivors start making plans for their new home.
Adults: Rick, Lori, Allen, Donna, Carol, Shane, Jim, Andrea, Amy, Glenn, Dale, Tyreese, Julie, Chris, Hershel, Billy, Maggie, Otis, Patricia
Children: Carl, Sophia, Billy, Ben
The Walking Dead is the kind of series that it is hard to get bored with because something is always happening. After being forced out of their camp by a zombie attack, the crew leave their former haven for the unknown and with winter settling in, survival is about to get even more difficult. One of the biggest bombshells of this volume is not so much Carl getting shot, but Lori’s pregnancy. Thanks to the flashback, we know that she and Shane had an intimate moment together, which could very well mean that the baby is his, not Rick’s. Rick is delighted by the news but Dale’s suggestion on who the father could be upsets him and wishes to not consider the possibility. Even though the nature of the pregnancy comes off as soap opera-y, the stakes are very high in this case due to the lack of functioning hospitals and medical equipment.
The nice thing about doing re-reads of a series is that, by going back, you tend to remember things easily forgotten because of events in the recent volumes. For example, I don’t remember “Miles Behind Us” being such a sexually charged volume. We see Lori have sex with Shane, Carol pursues a relationship with Tyreese and his daughter is constantly sneaking around to fool around with her boyfriend and Glenn, who has shown signs of jealousy over Carol’s interest in someone, finds comfort in Maggie’s arms. It is interesting to see characters “hooking up” so soon after the outbreak and the more recent deaths of Donna and Herschel’s children. But then again, when faced with life or death situations, shacking up is likely related to finding dependence rather than love.
Much has to be said about the artwork in Miles Behind Us as it is a significant departure from Tony Moore’s work. For reasons I have been unable to figure out, Moore stopped illustrating The Walking Dead after the first volume. In his place is illustrator Charlie Adlard who forgoes Moore’s style and creates his own distinctive look. Instead of clean, finely detailed characters and environments, people are more realistic, with thick black lines and shadows becoming a visual trademark. In some instances, the heavy use of black becomes a bit much, resulting in scenes you would normally find in a Frank Miller comic. I remember not caring for Adlard’s style when I first saw it but since he has become the de facto illustrator for the series, I have learned to accept it. However, after experiencing the jarring transition from Moore to Adlard once again, I can’t help but pine for Moore to return to the series.