The Good: None, really.
The Bad: Poor artwork, Oppressive mood, No real character development
The Basics: The Walking Dead - Book Ten finds Rick Grimes and his survivors menaced by Negan and his people.
Arguably, the benefit of reading the books in The Walking Dead is that the general direction of the television show The Walking Dead becomes known. As the graphic novel series progresses, it serves as a decent guide for measuring how worthwhile it will be to stick with the television series. Should the television series ever get to the point of The Walking Dead - Book Ten, I’m out. Given that the antagonist for this arc has just been introduced in the fifth season of The Walking Dead, I already have an exit strategy for watching the television show.
The reason for my plan to abandon the television series as it develops the conflict between Rick Grimes’s survivors and Negan is that the tone in the books has become so far beyond oppressive that there is no joy in reading it. No longer anything close to the story of surviving the zombie apocalypse, by the point of The Walking Dead - Book Ten, the villains are all human and the sense of oppression is so overwhelming that there is nothing enjoyable about suffering through reading it.
Menaced by Negan, who has made Rick’s settlement a fiefdom, Rick and his people live in constant fear that Negan and his people will subjugate them with more than just the threat of violence. Tired of having to continue to give Negan the lionshare of their supplies, Rick’s people are pushed to the breaking point. When Negan and his people come through to get their supplies, Rick has to keep his people from attacking Negan. The tensions boil over and Negan is about to kill some of Rick’s people again when Carl shoots Negan’s beloved weapon and decides he is done being a “nice guy.”
Eugene manages to manufacture more ammunition and, so bolstered, Rick leads an attack on Negan’s sanctuary. While Negan refuses to surrender, Rick’s people use the walkers and elements within Negan’s camp to assert pressure upon the local despot. But the plan does not go entirely according to Rick’s designs and he and his people find themselves risking their lives in ways they never had before.
There is nothing enjoyable about The Walking Dead - Book Ten and Negan is hardly a worthwhile villain; he’s just a bully who threatens everyone around him. Given the way he brained Glenn, the people around Alexandria and Hilltop live with reasonable fear. It’s an oppressive situation and in The Walking Dead - Book Ten Rick’s survivors are not surviving, they are being beaten down.
The artwork in The Walking Dead - Book Ten is entirely mediocre. As with many other volumes, there are several characters who look like one another and the sense of action and movement is not well-presented.
On the character front, The Walking Dead - Book Ten is where Rick has, largely, lost his own moral compass. So long ago, The Governor used Walkers as a way to menace his enemies and in The Walking Dead - Book Ten, Rick uses essentially the same tactic. Carl is threatened by Negan and he threatens Negan, which makes it hard to even consider him a child anymore.
The result is a book that makes The Walking Dead unbearable to read.
For other The Walking Dead books, check out my reviews of:
Days Gone Bye
Fear The Hunters
Life Among Them
For other graphic novel reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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