Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Michonne and Aaron’s scouting mission comes at a halt when they encounter Beta, the second in command of the whisperers and his people. Aaron is stabbed and Michonne was left to slash the whisperers all by herself with her samurai sword. When Beta has Michonne down on the ground, Dwight and his people are sent by Rick to come to the rescue. Dwight and his soldiers shoot their way through the whisperers and Beta retreats. The whisperers use knives as weapons but their main weapon is using walkers, so it is clear that Rick’s group has a superior battle arsenal. The design of the battle in this issue made it hard for readers to distinguish between the whisperers and the walkers. Michonne retreats to the Hilltop on her horse with Aaron who is bleeding out and keeps her sword ready on hand just in case he dies and turns into a walker. She arrives to the Hilltop begging for aid but Aaron is no longer breathing, so readers wonder if he will survive.
The issue explores Rick’s current malignant mentality as his girlfriend Andrea brings to his attention that he is becoming more and more like Negan. Instead of taking a moment to process his behavior and decisions, he insists that he is doing everything for the better of his group. Will this be a downfall for Rick as a leader? Is his role as the protagonist starting to shift and become blurred?
I was slightly thrown off when this issue decides to briefly focus on the relationship between Carl and his girlfriend Lydia. She is very creepily staring at him while he is asleep and ensures him it was just in admiration. This inclusion seemed a bit tangential to the rest of the issue and I wonder what the intention and purpose was behind this.
The Negan and Alpha dynamic is the most thrilling section of this issue as he extensively flirts with her. She explicitly tells Negan that she isn’t amused by him and she is clearly not charmed by his pretension and profane language. Beta interrupts their rendezvous and confronts Negan on his lie. Beta is sure that Negan was aware of the whisperers prior to arriving and he wasn’t just simply looking for a place to stay. Beta immediately connects the arrival of Michonne, Aaron, Dwight and his crew to be related to Negan’s presence. Appearing much taller than Negan, Beta lifts him up and grabs him but is asked to stand down by Alpha. Negan pretends that he lied to them out of fear and proceeds to explain his history. Alpha gathers that he is trying to ally with the whisperers to get revenge on the group that held him in a cell and Negan admits that it has crossed his mind. Alpha asks why Negan came here and Negan answers that he thinks he has a hell of a lot to offer her.
The issue ends with Dwight telling his soldiers that the whispers are aware that they have passed their border, and this is the beginning of war. While Rick’s group seems to have stronger fighters and firearms than the whisperers who wield knives, the biggest threat to Rick’s group is the hoard of walkers that whisperers have quarried and ready to release toward Rick’s settlements.
Overall this issue of The Walking Dead didn’t bring anything new to the table like the previous issues and had a much slower pace. There were no twists or climatic conflicts, but rather served as a bridge to a bigger story. It definitely left us wanting more but I am sure we will see things unfold within the next two issues.
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