Previously in the Walking Dead: Negan made his way to the Whisperer camp a few issues ahead of the Whisperer War story arc and professed his love for (desire to bone) Alpha. Zaniness ensues.
The Walking Dead #156 is very notable in that only three characters have significant verbal contributions in the book, and none of them are the core of the book – only Negan, Alpha, and Beta. Pages go by and the reader sees Negan enduring an initiation of sorts as Alpha puts him through the motions of becoming a Whisperer. Please note that yelling wildly after Robin Hooding a boar does not fit into the Whisperer playbook.
I must note that Kirkman et al. seemed to intentionally disguise the depth of the Whisperer army in this issue. Rather than relying on wide shots to portray the formidable foe, the visuals were tight and intimate. Are there 25 whisperers or 1,025? At this point, it’s impossible to say.
After a training montage that would make any child of the 80s smiling, Negan finally gets the insertion he was looking for. The insertion of a knife into the throat of Alpha. What the what? I was shocked. It was like the Karate Kid knifing Mr. Miyagi for fixing his hurt leg.
The issue ends with Negan holding his trophy for “Best Decapitation” wondering what Rick’s reaction will be.
For me, this issue was awesome, not because of the brutal death or the developing rivalry between Negan and Beta, but because we, as the readers, have no idea what Negan is really up to. Consider these questions:
- Did Negan ever intend to join the Whisperers or was this a spy mission?
- Was Negan always planning to kill Alpha or was it her clear lack of power and order that pushed him over the edge?
- Just how pissed is Beta going to be, and who will he be pissed at?
- What is Rick going to say and does Negan want to impress or enrage our absent protagonist?
So many questions with so few answers.
Another stellar aspect of this book was the similarities and differences between All Out War and The Whisperer War. In AOW, the surrender and imprisonment of the leader ended the conflict. It seems that in TWW, the removal of the leader will ignite the opposing side. In both cases, the argument could be made for Negan being the central catalyst by bashing in Glenn’s head and removing Alpha’s. Can Rick and co. come out on top again? I’m not sure, but I know that war is coming.
Consume.Review.Repeat. gives The Walking Dead #156 9.4 SubZero Fatalities out of 10.