It’s been almost a month since the final episode of the first season for the tv series adaptation of this comic book aired on AMC. The Frank Darabont and Gale Anne Hurd produced series became a major hit not just for the channel but also for everyone involved. While the adaptation deviated from the comic’s path at times in the end it helped established the post-apocalyptic world creator Robert Kirkman had been working five years to create. This is a world that is still on-going and, just weeks earlier, released the thirteenth volume of collected issues 73 thru to 78.
The 13th volume is aptly titled, Too Far Gone, as it continues where the previous trade paperback left off and that’s Rick and his group of survivors trying to settle in the safe, walled community in Alexandria, VA. This wasn’t the respite Rick and his group were hoping for, but it is as close to one as they’ll get as their original destination of Washington, DC resembles much of everything else they’ve seen and that’s unsafe devastation.
As Rick gradually gets used to going back as a lawman for the community everyone else do their part in doing the new jobs handpicked for them by the community’s leader Douglas. Through the first half of the volume we see through the point of view of certain character that this safe haven they’ve joined has it’s fair share of secrets and that not everything was as stable as they’ve been led to believe. While some of the revelations the reader will read as the volume unfolds doesn’t bring back images of Woodbury and The Governor, they do show that the underbelly of the Alexandria community is just as rotten but in other ways.
The title of the volume is in regards to Rick as a character and to a small degree the rest of his group. Here they are in a safe place with other survivors who just want to try and get back to living life the way it used to be. The paranoia and mistrust Rick has built within himself after the long journey from his hospital bed to this place has begun to chip away at not just his sanity but his humanity as well. He hasn’t turned the corner to become another Governor, but his actions in regards to trying to safeguard their new found safety does show that Rick and some in his group do not trust all the smiles and well-wishes thrown their way.
Rick knows that as safe as they all might seem now it doesn’t take much for all of it to come crashing down. It’s this looming threat that forces Rick to behave in ways which does have people question if he’s lost it and has he become a danger not just to their new benefactors but to his own people as well. The answer to this question wasn’t clear and remains, like all of Kirkman’s answer to certain moral question throughout the series, ambiguous and left up to the reader to decide if what Rick has done for the safety of his son and the others keep him in the role of hero or villain.
The volume ends in relatively safe conditions, but clues of an ominous consequence at the solution to some of the community’s outside problems may just bring a much bigger one in the next volume.
For those who are fans of the comic book the last two volumes has been slower affairs with quick bursts of action and horror. Like volume 6 and 7 previously, this relative calm before the storm may just bring about another major change to the roster of characters we’ve been following since the battle at the prison. Will we see another major kill-off of characters? Only Kirkman can answer that and it will be another 4-5 months before the next volume hits the streets. It will be a long wait indeed.