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"We become them!" exclaims a beat-up Rick Grimes. "You think we hide behind walls to protect us from the walking dead! Don't you get it? We are the walking dead!" As much as I've hated Robert Kirkman's inability to tell a great story, I have to admit it that the six issues collected in the fourth volume of The Walking Dead series is the best thus far. We're finally hitting the primal instinct, the savage within all the characters that had laid dormant until the last panels feature Rick's realization and damning all hopes out of the everyone's mind. Unlike his television alter ego - though you can see it peeking through with the mid-season finale when he guns down the child-zombie - the comic series Rick knows what lays in wait. He's accepted that the world order that we've grown accustomed to is over. There isn't much of any hope left and all that there is left to do is survive.
Any zombie enthusiast will tell you that zombies are only plays a small horror percentage in the story. Most of the horror comes not from the flesh eating creatures, but from humanity. Or the fall of it. The reason why The Walking Dead bothered me so much is that it never shone through. Sure, with Shane going mental in the first book and Hershel's damning naivete have pushed the story through, it was never enough to actually do much of anything. And like any plot device, it was quickly extinguished. Snubbed out.
With Rick's fall - or delightenment (as oppose to enlightenment) at the tail-end of issue #24, the actual horror can begin - I just hope that Kirkman can continue it with such grace.
Until next time, keep on huntin'.