The Best ‘Walking Dead’ Story Is Not Either Of The Shows Or The Comics

The Best ‘Walking Dead’ Story Is Not Either Of The Shows Or The Comics
Image Credit: Telltale Games
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“The Walking Dead” series by Telltale Games is definitely the best of any of the ‘Walking Dead’ properties.

The final season of the critically acclaimed “Walking Dead” series by Telltale Games has just released its first episode. What better time to dive into where it ranks within Walking Dead land than now.

**Editor’s Note – Since writing this piece there has been a major update concerning “The Walking Dead” Telltale series. The update is at the end of the article.

Let’s Not Kid Ourselves, The Shows Are Not Nearly As Good As They Should Be…

Image Credit: AMC

When “The Walking Dead” television show began, I watched it. The first season was pretty good, and the second season great. The third season started out well enough, but halfway through I felt it began to drag. Story lines that should’ve been covered in one or two episodes were dragged out for half a season.

“If they had just stuck to the comics!” an old coworker of mine kept telling me. I ended up sticking the show out until midway through season four before giving up, feeling like the show-runners didn’t at all respect their audience.

A year and a half later “Fear the Walking Dead” began. The show wasn’t so much a spinoff as it was a show that took place in the same world. Eventually, there would be character crossover, but not at the beginning.

“Fear…” is good, and I initially enjoyed it for being stylistically different than the original show, but it didn’t grip me enough to keep me interested past the first season. Now and then I’ll catch a random episode just to check in, and it does suck me in for the hour, but not enough to compel me to start back where I left off.

The Comics Are Great But…

Image Credit: Image Comics

“The Walking Dead” comics are great. They really are.

For years I’d heard from others and from articles that “The Walking Dead” comic books are vastly superior to the shows. But I wasn’t into comics, so I never paid much attention. I’m not a comic book guy, wasn’t when I was a kid, and probably won’t ever be one, but I cannot say enough about how great issues 1-174 are.

In late-2017, after years of hearing how good the comics were, I finally set to reading at least the first few issues — and from there I was hooked. I ended up burning through the entire series, to the then most recent issue in the span of less than a month.

If you’re someone like me who has pretty much given up on the shows but still likes The Walking Dead concept, then I would highly recommend the comics, even if you’ve never before read a comic in your life.

That all said, since issue 174 I’ve found the comic to be rapidly losing steam. The creator and lead writer, Robert Kirkman, in a 2014 Reddit AMA said he wanted to go until at least issue 300, but it’s difficult for me to see the story going on that long without a lot of filler and drag.

That is why the comics are great, but definitely not the best Walking Dead story.

“The Walking Dead” By ‘Telltale Games’ Is By Far The Best Of The Bunch…

Image Credit: Telltale Games

About The Telltale Games And The Style Of Games They Make

Game company, Telltale Games, creates games that feature a “Choose Your Own Adventure” format. A player plays as a feature character and chooses dialog and action throughout the game. These choices can lead to different characters living or dying, different paths being taken, and different endings.

The format lends itself particularly to “The Walking Dead” because in the land of walkers there are always pressure-filled decisions to be made.

Why The Series is Great

**Note – This section below might contain some light spoilers for those who consider themselves the ‘thinking type.’

2 + 2 = Damn this math!

I love a complete robust story that has structure, a clear direction, no filler, and understands the value of wrapping up. There’s a general consensus that “Breaking Bad” is one of the greatest shows ever. Why? Because it had structure, a clear direction, didn’t add in any time-filling bullshit, and knew the value in wrapping up neatly.

The Telltale “Walking Dead” team seems to truly understand these concepts.

The first entry in the four game series, cleverly titled, “Season One,” features the playable character, Lee: a man that takes guardianship of a seven-year-old girl, Clementine, who is looking for her parents. Lee doesn’t know much about raising kids but does his best for Clem as her surrogate father, teaching her how to be tough and survive in the new dystopian world.

By “Season Four” Clementine is in her late teens and a surrogate parent to her own little buddy. This inverse flipping of the script sets up a depth of storytelling as good as any of the best shows on television.

Clementine’s journey from helpless child to strong independent badass woman features a plethora of rich, interesting characters, and very tight, focused, emotional storytelling. The compelling story has from the beginning aways plowed full steam ahead, and now comes full-circle. That is why the Telltale series is the best of the bunch.

Image Credit: Telltale Games

Telltale traditionally releases their games in “Episodes.” Here is the schedule for “The Final Season.”

Episode 1, “Done Running,” comes out on August 14th.

Episode 2, “Suffer the Children,” arrives on September 25th.

Episode 3, “Broken Toys,” is out on November 6th.

Episode 4, “Take Us Back,” will conclude Clementine’s story on December 18th.

The game is available on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

MAJOR UPDATE!

TELLTALE GAMES IS ON LIFE SUPPORT

When I wrote this piece “The Walking Dead: The Final Season” had just released the first of its four playable episodes, and I planned on publishing this article during October, as part of a month of Halloween themed articles. During the in-between, the fate of “The Final Season” has dramatically changed.

On September 21, 2018, Telltale announced that it was working towards closing down, and laid off roughly 250 of its employees while retaining about 25 people to complete a “Minecraft” game for Netflix.

It is believed that Episode 2 will be released on September 25th, but after that, all bets are off. It has been reported that the remainder of “The Walking Dead: The Final Season” has been canceled.

As of now, I’d say the best-case scenario would be that another game studio picks the game up and completes it, or the story is possibly finished in comic book form. Clementine’s journey deserves to be finished in some shape or form.

While I initially stated that the Clementine story was the greatest “Walking Dead” property due to it’s ‘completeness’ which now most likely won’t be the case, I still stand by it being the best of the bunch. The first three seasons are strong on their own and the first episode of “The Final Season” very much builds upon the existing story while leading towards an ending.

For more on this story click on the “been reported” link above.

(Please check out the two links directly below)

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Steven Richard

Steven Richard is the publisher here at Unruly Stowaway. He has written a memoir which will be released one day.

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