The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye, by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore ISBN 9781582406725
Five out of five stars
There has been a massive pandemic of people either being killed or being bitten by zombies, an action that turns them into zombies. Instead of treating it as a deadly epidemic that rapidly spreads, the government tells the people to concentrate in the cities rather than disperse. If the people had dispersed, there would have been more isolated pockets of safety and the spread could have been controlled. Therefore, there are few people left alive in the normal sense.
Rick is a cop that is severely wounded in the line of duty and is in a coma in the local hospital. When he suddenly awakens, he finds that there are no medical personnel. After a bit of wandering he has his first encounter with a zombie and barely manages to escape.
This is the beginning of an adventure where he travels to Atlanta in search of his wife and child. After a narrow escape aided by a teen boy, Rick encounters a small band camping outside Atlanta. In a stroke of great fortune his wife and son are in the group. They are sticking close to the city in the hope that it will be easier for the government to find them when control is reestablished.
This graphic novel is a superb lead-in to what is a long story of struggle. It is also demonstrated that you cannot change human nature. Even though over a million people are dead within a few miles and they face attack and death by zombies at any moment, petty human grievances still surface. There are arguments over leadership and questions about the bunking arrangements.
These tensions spill over into a climactic scene where a fundamental dispute over whether to leave the vicinity of the city is violently resolved. I am generally not a fan of the zombie genre, but I really enjoyed this book.