A Look at The Walking Dead #158- “The Whisperer War: Part 2 of 6”

Time for part two of the war.

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The second issue of The Whisperer War has a lot going on, but Kirkman manages to balance it all out by giving us a look at the many communities. But the main focus is still the war with the Whisperers.

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And he still manages to tug at the heartstrings by taking away another main character. Gabriel’s death might seem out of nowhere, especially since he’s stepped up to become a part of the army. And I agree, but at the same time, at least he got some development instead of remaining in the background.

It still sucks that he’s gone because, with Glenn dead, I think Gabriel was one of the few remaining characters that maintained his principles instead of becoming molded by this new world.

Glenn remained optimistic and held onto his humanity, while people like Rick give into their dark urges, doing whatever it takes to survive by any means necessary. To Rick, killing is just another way of life, though he’s seeking a better way now. But Gabriel kept his faith and served the community well. He will be missed. But damn, what a gruesome way to die.

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Moving along with the issue, we see what’s left of the Saviors basically telling the other communities to go fuck themselves. And this shows, I feel, how little the Saviors wanted to help in the first place. They followed Dwight because he took charge and offered another way to lead. He’s done that, but how he’s working under Rick.

If the Saviors were against Rick before, there’s no need for them to be for him now that Dwight isn’t there to lead them. It feels like there’s a power vacuum within the group. They’re adamant about not helping, but some realize that the Whisperers could just as easily come to their community as they could to another location. And they didn’t need to go as far as taking the horse.

So I’m curious to see what becomes of the Saviors because it’s only a matter of time before this war reaches them.

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Briefly in Alexandria, we get Rick catching up with Eugene, who doesn’t yet reveal that he’s been in communication with someone else on the radio. I wager that Eugene is weighing his options and contemplating how to best reveal this. You know people wouldn’t be too pleased if Eugene gave away any critical information about the community.

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Over at the Kingdom, we still have William and Zachary talking about helping out with the war, with Zachary still not wanting to aid the other communities. We’ll get back to the Kingdom in a second.

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Negan still doesn’t get a weapon, and I get that. I did enjoy his talk with Dwight over Sherry and this further emphasizes how Negan offers, at least to the women, protection, not necessarily coercion. He’s giving the women a shot at a better live than scavenging and fighting for good. That’s it. Sherry was one of those women who took that option.

But even once Rick locked Negan up, Sherry still didn’t remain with Dwight. As twisted as this sounds, Negan has a point. He’s not making the women stay with him- they’re free to go whenever they please. But life would be much simpler under him. And under him, too. I doubt Dwight still holds this against Negan, but for the sake of the conversation, Negan had a good argument.

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So the battle with the Whisperers begins with humans hiding among the walkers, which is no easy task, I’m betting. Negan soon gets his hand on a weapon, but just when it looks like Dwight’s group will be overrun, reinforcements from the Kingdom arrive.

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And this is what I like: even though folks like Zachary don’t want to aid in the war, this battle is about more than crushing the Whisperers.

Ezekiel led the Kingdom with great power and presence. He became an unfortunate casualty, but even before he chose to help Rick take down Negan and the Saviors, he was well-trusted within his community. To not at least attempt to avenge his death would be disrespectful, so I love how the Kingdom backup arrives not just for their community, but to avenge their fallen leader.

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We briefly revisit the Hilltop and I’m curious where this story is going to take Maggie and Dante, since she’s paying so much attention to him. Meanwhile, you’ve got Lydia telling Carl that even if he spots the Whisperers arriving, it won’t matter.

I agree with Lydia. The number we see at the battle in this issue is nothing compared to the roamer herd that Alpha showed Rick in issue #143. If they arrive in full force, the Hilltop could be overrun due to the sheer number.

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Back at the battle, we get Michonne and Jesus arriving to help out in a moment that feels very reminiscent of Littlefinger arriving with his army in “Battle of the Bastards” on Game of Thrones.

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They charge in to lend much needed support. Charlie Adlard’s artwork of Michonne and Jesus rushing towards the battle just makes me eager to see how this will all play out on the show.

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Then we wrap things up with Negan confronting Beta. And Kirkman ends the issue in a way that is 100 percent Negan. Though Negan just killed Alpha. Would Kirkman put the Whisperers in even further disarray by offing Beta? Or maybe there’s a Gamma lined up to take Beta’s place? Either way, a great issue from start to finish.

We say our goodbyes to Father Gabriel, but now await the rest of the Whisperer War ahead in issue #159.

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