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Hershel's Farm box set

Walking Dead
by yo go re

The Greene family survived the zombie outbreak as best they could, maintaining the fences around their farm and allowing a few other survivors to join them in relative safety. To Rick and his band, it seemed like the perfect place to stay... until they found out what was in the barn.

If you only read the comics (or watch the TV show), then you only ever saw Shawn Greene when he was already a zombie - like Penny Blake and Mike and Terry, he was introduced that way. But if you play Telltale Games' Walking Dead game, you meet him much earlier than that, back when he still had all his blood and no cravings for brains. What fun!

Shawn was apparently not a very flashy dresser during life: he's wearing dark brown pants and a lighter brown shirt. Add to that his black hair, black shoes, and pallid skin, and at a glance he looks like a grayscale zombie toy! The short sleeves have to be a nod to the videogame, because he was wearing long sleeves in the book.

In the comic, all we see of Zombie Shawn is his face, shoulders, arms and hands - everything else had to be extrapolated by Art Asylum. He's got a wound over his heart, a patch of skin missing on his left forearm. His left fingers are torn up, he has no lips, spots on his face, and raw skin around his blank white eyes. Nicely, they also painted his neck the brick red "wound" color, so make him look more damaged.

The Barn Zombie has even less screentime than Shawn does! Zombie Shawn appears in four panels in issue 11: the Barn Zombie is only in one. Getting shot in the background. Superstar!

This figure's distinguishing feature is that he's missing an arm. Rather than just leave the arm absent, they designed a replacement that starts off normal at the shoulder, then tapers down to a ruined, stringy mass of meat with a broken bone poking out. How hideous! It's basically what Black Panther's arm would look like, if it weren't bandaged up. He's wearing a white T-shirt and blue overalls that inexplicably turn black at the knees, then get all muddy by the feet. What's with the black?

Clearly the Barn Zombie has been zombie-ing in the barn for quite a while. He's all dried out and desiccated, with the skin on his face pulled taut against the skull. He's bald, and there's a big red wound on his forehead, matching the spot where he gets shot in the comic. The set also includes a second normal arm, in case you don't want him to be permanently "limb different."

Lookout Duty Rick seems to come from the same specific issue of the comic as those two zombies. He's wearing his normal deputy's uniform - black shoes, brown pants, black leather jacket with his badge on the chest, all that. What makes him different is the plaid blanket he's wearing over his shoulders. The events at Hershel's farm take place around Christmas/New Year's, so even in Georgia it's cold and snowy. The night before everything went to hell, Rick was standing guard outside the RV, and wore the blanket to keep him warm. He's wearing his gunbelt, which has a working holster on one side (for the included pistol) and a loop on the other (for Rick's trademark weapon, his axe).

The hair is the same seen on "Prison Rick Grimes" (from the Amazon-exclusive four-pack), and the face is painted just as well as any other Rick, with a neutral expression that works for the scene. If you take the cape off, you can replace it with a red scarf - probably meant to be the one he was wearing when Carl got shot/when Hershel told them to leave. Technically it should be plaid, too, but that was probably too hard to paint on such an uneven surface.

Speaking of plaid, that's how we can tell that the Hershel in this "Hershel's Farm" box set isn't actually from Hershel's Farm. Whoops! While he was shown wearing a plaid shirt in the comics, he never wore it at the farm - he was first seen in it after they got to the prison. But hey, it's not like he stopped to buy new clothes along the way, so, in theory at least, he must have worn this shirt at his farm at some point in his life - we just never saw it. Judging by the rolled fabric painted on the figure's waist, it seems like he's wearing borrowed pants (ones that are too long for him - thus the roll at the top). The plaid pattern goes all the way around the torso, rather than stopping at the corners. It doesn't continue over the top, but they did paint the strip of skin between his chest and his neck.

Hershel doesn't have a distinctive "look" in the comics like he does on the TV show (thanks for making the character identifiable, suspenders!) - he was basically "old guy without hat." As opposed to Dale, who was "old guy with hat." The likeness may not jump out at you, but it still looks like it's supposed to represent Charlie Adlard's artwork.

Since he's a farmer, Hershel includes a pitchfork. How very American Gothic. It's a piece released before, but it's a great choice for this release. The set also includes two rifles and four clear disc bases, to help the figures stand.

This set may not offer the most iconic versions of the characters, but it does have three named charaters, including our only "plain" Hershel. If you're into The Walking Dead, this set is one you'll want to get.

-- 08/22/13

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