As Miles Behind Us opens, police officer and post-apocalyptic hero Rick Grimes is forced to lead his companions out of their camp on the outskirts of Atlanta and onto the open road; tragedy has recently proven that they are not safe without defensible walls. What follows is several vignettes of their search for some place of safety in an increasingly hostile world. Because, inevitably, the zombies are rapidly being supplanted as the most dangerous thing on the horizon. After all, humanity has yet to die out.
Thematically, the story is focussed on reaction. Every decision the survivors make is a reactive one, and with at most one exception each of these decisions ends badly. On the personal level, every character is finally reacting to the new circumstances. Some people are becoming very hard, very fast. Some are getting lost in despair. Some are grasping blindly for love. Some are waist-deep in denial, without even a clue that they’ll eventually drown. And some, even in a world so changed as to be unrecognizable by any reasonable standard, still have secrets too terrible to be released.
On the whole, good book. The art was less good than I remembered (due apparently to a change in artist, so fair enough); the lines are not as clean anymore, which kind of works from a world-gone-bad perspective, but I still kind of prefer to have an easy time telling people apart and following the action. The people, especially, were my biggest problem. Only upon the reread did I really know who everyone was for sure. Mostly though, regardless of the art and despite the goodness otherwise, it was obviously a transition book. We know that some of these people will live to see a brighter day (or at least, we assume we do), but this wasn’t about watching them struggle to succeed so much as about watching all of the terrible things that will happen until they get back on the right track. Necessary, but ultimately (I predict) forgettable in the grand arc of the tale.