Doubletake: The Walking Dead Volume 4

The Walking Dead, “The Heart’s Desire”

After a glimpse of a new survivor, the action picks up immediately where Safety Behind Bars left off. Dexter, the leader of the convicts who were hiding in the prison when Rick discovered it, has had enough is forcing the police officer and his crew out. Patricia, angered at Rick for allowing Hershel to feed Thomas to zombies, aided Dexter in securing weapons under the pretense that they wouldn’t be harmed. Thanks to Dexter’s carelessness, the standoff is interrupted by a herd of zombies that escaped the bowels of the prison. During the firefight, Rick sees the chaos and confusion as an opportunity to shoot Dexter. Dexter’s confidant decides to flee after things settle down while the last inmate, Axel, sees the good in Rick’s people and decides to stay.

Otis returns from a supply run with a woman who saved him during a small skirmish. Named Michonne, she is a very cold, quiet and reserved woman who leads two zombies on a chain with their limbs and jaws removed. She shows extreme skill with a katana, swiftly cutting through swathes of zombies to save Otis.

With things calming down, Rick, Tyreese, Allen and Dale move deeper into the prison. Allen is bitten on the leg and in an attempt to stop the infection, Rick cuts off his leg with an axe before Hershel steps in to care for him. While everyone is on edge, Michonne has a brief sexual encounter with Tyreese that Carol witnesses. Despondent, she breaks off their relationship and attempts to commit suicide. Rick delivers the news to Tyreese, who he sees fooling around with Michonne. The two men get into a savage fistfight, calling each other out over the kills each has made since their initial meeting and the fight is interrupted with news that Allen has died of his wounds. The Heart’s Desire ends with Rick’s impassioned speech about how this new world is here to stay, no one is coming for help and it is up to everyone to protect what is theirs.

Survivors

Adults: Rick, Lori, Allen, Donna, Carol, Shane, Jim, Andrea, Amy, Glenn, Dale, Tyreese, Julie, Chris, Hershel, Billy, Maggie, Otis, Patricia, Axel, Michonne.

Children: Carl, Sophia, Billy, Ben

Thoughts

I’ll get this out of the way first: I love Michonne. Granted, her entrance seems to be a bit out of place, a lone woman carrying a samurai sword with two zombies in tow, but she quickly establishes herself as potentially the best characters in the series. Cold, quiet and calculating, she isn’t afraid of getting what she wants. However, we see the problem of Rick’s willingness to incorporate more survivors into the group, as her advances towards Tyreese quickly causes destructive ripples in his group dynamic. Carol nearly kills herself over Tyreese’s infidelity and there are those, especially Andrea, who don’t take kindly to her presence. Michonne also ends up being the source of a violent fist fight between Rick and Tyreese, who use it as an opportunity to release their pent up aggression.

One of the more significant moments in this volume is Rick’s shooting of Dexter. Territorial Rick comes out again, as he kills the man who threatened his people out of the prison. Was Rick justified in what he did? This is the great things about The Walking Dead: there are no clear rights and wrongs in the story. Killing Dexter allows Rick to secure the prison as his own at the expense of his sense of justice, especially since he did it so soon after his high and mighty moralistic speech killing people. This begs the question, is Rick a good leader?

Artwork

With so many characters getting hurt and beaten up, Adlard had his work cut out for him. Half of the time, Rick always seems to be covered in bandages: his hand was banged up from beating Thomas and after the fight with Tyreese, he’s got patches all over his face and arms. There seems to be less of a focus on the Frank Miller-style black and white panels, which is nice as my critiques of Adlard’s work is that he seems to rely too much shadows. I suppose it fits the location, a large prison building with barely any light due to the lack of electricity, but it sometimes gets to be a bit much.