Too Far Gone: new Walking Dead collection asks whether survivors can ever be "normal" again

Too Far Gone is Robert Kirkman and company's thirteenth collection of Walking Dead comics, and the long-running zombie/horror/adventure comic continues to fascinate, engross and scare me.

Once again, our plucky survivors have found an oasis in the killing fields of America where biters threaten all that live. But this time, it's not a fortress to hide themselves in, nor a post-apocalyptic tyranny run by heavily armed, sadistic megalomaniacs. Rather, they find themselves in what seems to be version 2.0 of the nice, gate-guarded suburb, a fenced-in, solar-powered town that is trying for a new normal amid the carnage.

This gives the creators a whole new set of tools for smashing apart their poor, maltreated characters: can they ever face civilization again after all the killing, betrayals, and hard choices they had to make on the road? Can they trust the good will of the residents of this sleepy hamlet? And, most importantly, when things go wrong, do you become a marauder, or do you help your neighbors?

The dramatic answers to questions like these are the lifeblood of apocalyptic fiction, and how you answer them says a lot about your theories of human nature (we are beasts, reined in by civilization; we are fundamentally good; we can trust our friends; we can't trust anyone) and Kirkman doesn't have any easy answers. Which is why Walking Dead remains my favorite zombie story of all time, and why I'm looking forward to the fourteenth collection.

The Walking Dead: Too Far Gone