Issue #155, “Tip of the Spear,” is, in my opinion, very much a precursor to war.
Granted, we’ve been building to this ever since our protagonists first entered Whisperer territory, long before the Whisperers killed 12 people, but with Dwight’s declaration at the end of the issue, we’re right on the cusp of another war. And like “All Out War,” I imagine the citizens will be fired up. Maybe more so in light of the propaganda.
But we’ll get to that in a moment. We start with Michonne holding her own for some time after Aaron has been stabbed by Beta. She doesn’t hold her own for long, but credit where it’s due, Michonne still kicks as much ass as always, even when outnumbered. Despite Beta and the other Whisperers overpowering her, it’s admirable that she still manages to keep them at bay, even if for a moment.
Though Dwight and the others to save the day was another great moment. They managed to put the Whisperers on the defensive, patched up Aaron, and promised Michonne that they’ll continue pursuing the Whisperers.
Granted, they aren’t going to do that because Dwight is looking at the bigger picture. He’s not interested in straight up revenge or escalation because, like Rick, he’s trying to avoid instigating an already growing conflict.
And that’s the opposite of what Rick is doing. He knows that the propaganda is stirring up emotions in the citizens, but as established, he’s counting on that. If anything, it does help take the heat off of him, but also prevents people from wanting to hunt down Carl and Lydia.
So of course Andrea is going to see a bit of Negan in Rick, but hey, if the folks at The Sanctuary were any indication, it’s that they’ll follow someone who is willing to take charge, even if that means putting fear in them. But Rick isn’t burning people’s faces. He’s just trying to redirect everyone’s anger and have them channel it in a positive way. That doesn’t always work, like Paul shooting Marco, but at least there’s no mob after him.
Briefly on Carl and Lydia. Their moment is quick, but it’s just to further build on their bond and show that, presumably, they’ve had a lot of time to fuck. It’s fine that we’re getting them in short bursts for now because the Whisperer conflict is the bigger arc. But I guarantee you that, with war coming, it’s inevitable that they’re dragged back into the thick of it.
Plus, it’s nice that, in the middle of this struggle with the Whisperers, Carl and Lydia have some happiness in their lives. That’s normally never a good sign in The Walking Dead, but for now, they’re both happy, and I like that.
Then you’ve got Negan trying to turn on the charm with Alpha and failing. First off, it’s interesting that Negan talks about not being afraid to die when, at the same time, we’re getting his backstory in small doses. He’s lived a long time and probably wants to go out in a big way, but right now, I am loving him trying to win over Alpha with his good graces. And not only is she revolted, but she slugs him for his shit.
But this further exemplifies how Negan has no fear. He’s in unchartered territory and up against people who wear walker skins. They could kill him at any moment, but he’s too infatuated with the group’s leader and tries to woo her with his language.
I’m loving every second of his interactions with Alpha. Same goes for the rest of the Whisperers, Beta especially, but there’s something more about him trying to win Alpha’s good graces and ends up crossing a line.
I want to step away from Negan to talk a bit about what’s going on at the Hilltop with Maggie. Just before Michonne arrives with Aaron, Maggie talks to Brianna about finding someone to act as a courier. And it makes you think: how have communities not established this by now? If Rick needs to send a message to Maggie or speak with Dwight, he’ll go himself.
But having a courier rushing between communities like the Hermes of The Walking Dead could deliver those swift messages would help speed up communication. At the same time, it also puts that one courier at risk if they’re traveling on their own, but chances are that such an important position would require said courier being armed and able to defend themselves. So having a courier would be a huge boost to the communities.
Back to Negan, though. With Dwight acknowledging that being in Whisperer territory and engaging them in battle is an act of war, Negan is in prime position to push the Whisperers into battle. I don’t put it past him to try and strike back at Rick for imprisoning him. After all, at this point, he knows the ins and outs of Alexandria and he’s already attacked the Safe Zone before. Why not help give Alpha an advantage?
However, keep in mind that the Whisperers were already able to infiltrate Alexandria because no one knows what they look like when unmasked, so really, they may not even need Negan’s help. So here’s to next issue to see whether Alpha takes up Negan on his offer.