Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date:July 5, 2016
As Negan settles in to rest, he observes two male members of The Whisperers attempting to rape a female Whisperer. Issue 156 reminds readers that Negan has his own sense of twisted morality as he defends the female Whisperer from the rapists. The pairing of Negan and Alpha would have been an enormous threat to all neighboring settlements but here it is established that their morals do not align. Alpha stops Negan from defending the vulnerable female Whisperer with the intent that if she isn’t strong enough to fend for herself, she has no place in their group. In earlier issues, Alpha made this belief clear when she allowed her own daughter, Lydia to be raped by the men in their group. Since Lydia wasn’t strong enough to fight them off or deal with it to become stronger, Alpha expelled her own daughter from The Whisperer’s settlement and demanded that she live with Rick’s group.
This interaction causes a very philosophical dialogue between Negan and Alpha, where she has this “survival of the fittest” mentality and he believes helping defenseless victims is what separates him from being an animal. Readers are given a glimpse of Negan’s past that contributed to his cold-hearted mentality, as he mentions losing a loved one. While the climax of issue 156 was satisfying, the best part of this issue was taking a small step into Negan’s demented head. Negan’s expression of morality breaks the seemingly ruthless leader Alpha into admitting she isn’t as strong as she makes herself out to be, and she misses her daughter. The subtle facial expressions capture so much emotion as both of these powerful villains open up to one another. The last time Alpha was seen crying, she killed the witness. The tears pouring down her face this time around also ended up blood-soaked.
Once a comic book reaches 100 or more issues it ‘s difficult to keep things fresh; the triumphs and tribulations tend to become dry. Somehow Kirkman always manages to throw in an engaging twist and issue 156 was another game changer. This issue reminds readers of why Negan is a beloved and memorable character, despite being the villain. While the climax did close a door, it still left so many possible outcomes that can come of this situation. Negan sets the unpredictable status quo for The Walking Dead, making every upcoming issue a must read.
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