This review was fuckin’ tough to write. I mean that. I don’t mean just the usual typing and re-typing a section as you try to nuance a gag or make a point, although that was certainly part of it. No, what it entailed was something of a personal whirlwind akin to the opening of Apocalypse Now, but with less booze and more crying. Sometimes I would pause to reflect on how the fuck I got myself into this state over something so simple, because, really, the actual review was a breeze to write. It was what followed that was the problem.

When Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman announced their desire to resume the story of the Marvel Transformers comic, I have to confess I was curious, but I wasn’t burning to have it with never-ending desire. It did seem odd. Bin Generation 2? That odd beast of a comic with 75% more violent death and one of the most intriguing additions to Furman’s version of the mythology? Also, I’d not long finished catching up with Furman’s IDW run. A decidedly mixed bag that almost dips a toe into becoming brutally sublime when the cancellation kicks in and the steadily increasing pace that marked each limited series suddenly sees the last two issues ramp up into a fucking furious pace. Plot points not so much nailed as roadkilled. A tenuous reminder of the energies of past. Maybe he had the old ways in him, but I for one wasn’t sure.

Click here to find out just how sure of his own regression/regenration one adult can be! In glorious technicolour!

I’m not going to talk much about zombies, I’m afraid. Zombies aren’t the problem.

Post credits Walking Dead opens on Andrew Lincoln’s Sheriff’s Deputy chomping on hamburgers with his partner, Shane, played by Jon Bernthal, and shooting the shit about their marriages. Both men badmouth their wives, Shane makes some huge and rather unpleasant generalisations about women, and Lincoln goes on to describe his wife as cruel and a bad mother. What Darabont seems to be going for is Tarantino, what he comes up with is charmless dialogue peppered with misogyny. Unfortunately the show goes on like that.

All the female characters are either shit-talked, absent, evil zombies/bad mothers, and/or reckless. Men? They’re gun wielding, authoritarian, tough and very much in charge. There’s a scene late on where Shane tells off his wife for wanting to help other people, accuses her of jeopardizing the life of their child, and not only does she come round to his way of thinking, she also decides that this is in fact a very sexy moment*.

Whether the show continues in this vein or not remains to be seen. There’s a lot of room for it to paint a picture of women as human beings. It’s also worth bearing in mind that while Lincoln describes his wife as a bad mother, the possibility that he will be plagued by guilt for being absent when the zombies came leaves the door open for a more thorough examination of masculinity and the male role. So at this very early stage I’m willing to give Walking Dead the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that there is precisely one scene where the show demonstrates what could be construed as a positive view of women doesn’t bode well.

There’s no doubt that Darabont can direct, the plot is strong, and the show does understand what’s nasty about zombies, but we’ve come to expect compelling dialogue and a nuanced approach to gender politics from our quality US dramas. So far Walking Dead exhibits little of either.

*ADDENDUM: It’s been noted in the comments that I have mistaken Rick’s family for Shane’s (thanks, Basque). While I’m embarrassed by my lack of perceptiveness I have to say that adding infidelity to the list of sins committed by women doesn’t exactly weaken my case.