Doubletake: The Walking Dead Volume 8

The Walking Dead, “Made To Suffer”

The day has finally come. Armed Woodbury citizens have arrived to take the prison and kill Rick and his band of survivors. Take make things worse, the Governor has apparently survived his brutalized torture at the hands of Michonne and while wounded and left without an arm, his anger runs deep. After rallying his people under the guise that Rick’s survivors are monsters, the emboldened populace attack the prison en masse. During the firefight, Andrea and Axel are wounded, but are still capable of pushing back the Governor’s clumsy assault. After his forces fall back to regroup giving everyone a chance to breath, panic sets it once Tyreese discovers that Rick has been shot in the stomach. While the doctor prepares him for a blood transfusion, Michonne and Tyreese armor up to chase after stragglers and Dale wants everyone to leave before Woodbury has a chance to attack again. Hershel, Billy and Axel offer to stay behind with Lori and Alice to look after Rick as he recovers from his injuries.

Back in the forest, Michonne and Tyreese are able to dispatch a few of the Governor’s forces before they are overrun and Tyreese is captured. In order to convince Rick to give up the prison, the Governor threatens to kill the man with Michonne’s sword and in an surprising display of coldness, Rick does not act on the request, resulting in Tyreese getting clumsily beheaded. Angered by the relentlessness of the prison survivors, the Governor marshals his troops for a final assault with the intention of ramming the gates and killing every single living person. Michonne appears and wounds the insane leader before running off to meet with Rick. Axel is killed and the incoming fire has the rest of the group stuck in cover. Relief is found in the return of Dale, Andrea, Glenn and Maggie. Andrea’s crack shot has Woodbury running scared, leaving the Governor no choice but to steer his tank through the gates, allowing both his forces and the incoming zombies a way into the facility.

As Rick retrieves Alice, Lori, Judith and Carl from inside the prison, Hershel, Billy and Patricia are left to fend off the assault. Patricia and Billy are shot while attempting to break cover, leaving Hershel to fall on his knees and dies after the crazed leader executes him. Rick, his family and Alice attempt to flee, but Alice is killed and in what has to be the most shocking image in The Walking Dead, Lori and Judith are shot and killed. Rick and Carl manage to escape, horrified at the sight of his wife’s and baby daughter’s lifeless bodies. When the Woodbury citizens make this discovery, they turn on their leader and shot him in the head before allowing the zombies to rip him apart.

Survivors

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

Children: Carl, Sophia, Billy, Ben, Judith

Thoughts

Holy cow. Where do I even begin with this volume? So much death! Made To Suffer is a significant turning point in the series because almost all of the survivors we have come to know from the first few volumes have been killed off in the most horrible and unjust way. Just as Robert Kirkman pledged, no one is safe in this world and any character, no matter how important or innocent can die. Even an infant. In some ways, Made To Suffer can be compared to the end of the Walking Dead’s first “season” because from here on out, things will move in an entirely new direction and a new cast introduced.

Let’s start with the death of Tyreese, who I feel really got the short end of the stick. Rick’s coldness and apparent disinterest in his sacrifice is alarming, even if Rick had a point. They obviously weren’t going to give into the Governor’s demands (would you?), but Rick’s lack of emotion is certainly upsetting. Rick didn’t hate the man, despite being at odds with him, but this is a new Rick we’re seeing. One who has taken his own speech from the end of The Heart’s Desire seriously. Rick knows what needs to be done and is willing to sacrifice in order to keep what is his. He’s nowhere near having a similar ideology as the Governor, but the change in Rick is surprising.

Just as the Governor’s assault on the prison gets to its most ferocious level, we see the cracks appear in his foundation as the citizens begin to question their motives. While they were easily swayed in the safety of Woodbury, little did they realize the consequences of their actions and the lies perpetrated by their insane leader. After Billy is shot, the man who killed him shows terrible remorse, only to be goaded by the Governor. It isn’t until Judith’s body is discovered with Lori that things quickly get out of hand and the dictator’s fate is sealed. Up until now, there has been the constant back and forth between the prison survivors and Woodbury about what they fight for. Led to believe that Rick’s party were monsters for what they’ve done to the Governor’s troops, they are horrified to discover that they were all fighting for the same thing: survival. And once again, we find out that people are the worst kind of monster in a chaotic world. It is interesting to note that out of all the people who are killed in this volume, none of them are done in by a zombie. In fact, zombies are just window dressing at this point. The message is obvious, but to Kirkman’s credit, you’re not beaten over the head with it.

Artwork

Despite so much chaos going on in this volume, Adlard paints a clear picture of every exchange and skirmish between Rick and the Governor. Once again, the volume’s biggest moments are given full page renderings, with the death of Lori and Judith taking center stage and becomes one of The Walking Dead’s most memorable moments.