This review will contain some spoilers of Issue #144.
Rick is lead into the Whisperer camp, where he finds Carl safe. But Carl is adamant that he won’t leave without Lydia. Alpha introduces herself, bloody machete in hand, and brings Rick to the top of a nearby building….showing him the horde of walkers she’ll unleash on his people if they don’t stay away.
Wow, what a cliff hanger the last issue left us – the top of a building with nothing but walkers as far as the eye could see, herded like cattle, thanks to the whisperers. I couldn’t wait to read the following issue. Rick had to tackle human monsters like the Governor and Negan, but no one like Alpha. With the Governor and Negan, it was basically man vs man. Civilization (Gov and Negan’s interpretation of one) vs Rick’s. But with Alpha, things are different. The Whisperers have a unique skill in herding the walkers as if they were their own, which gives them a huge advantage against Rick’s group. Alpha could pretty much gather them as she sees fit and sick’em on her enemies.
While Rick is impressed, he doesn’t budge, still doing the ‘old tough guy’ look. When Rick and Alpha come down, they begin to talk and Alpha attempts to explain her ways of living in the post-apocalyptic world. The Whisperers go primal and channel their animal instincts. The simple Alpha and Beta way of life. She is the leader and the Whisperers follow. During the walk to the Whisperer camp, Alpha goes on to say that her group had left no room for weakness and that the only way to survive in the world is through strength. Any sign of weakness was not acceptable. All emotions that did not aid in the survival of the world, was to be cut off.
However, Lydia has seen the ways Rick and his group work and how they help one another, in a more pre-apocalyptic way. Lydia confronts Alpha and wants to go back to Rick’s group, and in the process lashes at Alpha for letting the other whisperers take advantage of her, a concept that even Alpha has cut off as a negative thing, chalking it up to primal instincts. In the end, Alpha sees that Lydia is not fit for the Whisperers world and desires to live in the world before all this happened, and tells Rick to take her back to his, with tears in her eyes.
I really enjoyed the conversation between Rick and Alpha. It appears that Alpha has been playing this role for so long, she is closer and closer to going passed a point of no return. Any sign of weakness, like Lydia calling her mother, appears to bring her back to who she was for a split second, before returning to the role of Alpha. In the final moments of the conversation, Alpha cries, after releasing her daughter to Rick.
I was taken aback by this moment, and had to do a double check to see that Alpha was indeed crying. Robert Kirkman does what he does best and shows that before all this, like all the other characters, she was a human being, who was a mother. As much as she plays the tough Alpha dog role, deep down she still wants what is best for her daughter.
After Alpha releases Rick, Carl and Lydia from the camp, she leaves with the note that she has ‘marked our border’. Rick’s fears, concerning the bloody machete, were valid, as the border was created, but I’ll leave that part for you to read. Eventually, you will hear about it, given that San Diego Comic Con is happening right now and, well, the internet.
While the ending was really gruesome, I don’t think it had the same impact on me as what happened to Glenn. The panel by panel shots were done really well, showing you what was happening in the sunny, grassy fields, back to Alexandria and the festival. All I can say is, the last panel, is paving the way for possibly a bigger war than the All Out War event we had last year. The issue just left with so many, ‘what ifs’ and ‘what is going to happen nows’ that you really can’t tell where this is going to go. Will Rick fight Alpha, or respect the border? Most likely, Rick will fight Alpha in a new war, but at what cost to Alexandria and the fragile civilization they have created?
Rating: 4 out of 5
Great dialogue, shocking turn of events and a big cliffhanger leaving you to want more. If your following The Walking Dead, get this issue now, because it will sell out fast.
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