The end of the Whisperer War is here. The end of the conflict? Not so much.
Before jumping into issue #162, think back to the ending of All Out War: Negan had been taken down, the communities seemingly had a new ally with the reformed Dwight leading the Saviors, and for the first time in a long time, it appeared that the communities could be at ease without some looming threat outside of the occasional roamer.
Fast forward to today and the ending of The Whisperer War might be the end of The Whisperers trying to overtake the survivors, but they don’t have to do the heavy lifting anymore. You saw the herd that Alpha showed Rick. A string of small victories against The Whisperers is nothing when they still have a massive weapon to unleash.
But we’ll get to that later. We start off with Negan laying Lucille to rest…which is funny and somewhat tragic at the same time. The Lucille that we’ve known since issue #100 has been a staple for so long, so to lose her is a huge deal for Negan. It makes sense that he’d want to bury her.
At the same time, this is his chance to say goodbye to Lucille for real. As “Here’s Negan” has shown us, Negan never got a chance to bury his actual wife, Lucille, so this is a way for him to pay his respects to his wife and the bat for which she’s named. Serious of a moment as this is, I did get a laugh out of Negan hoping that Lucille is in Heaven getting her brains fucked out and in by someone special.
Who thinks that?
William and his entourage from the Kingdom finally arrive at what remains of the Hilltop. While it’s unfortunate they were too late, Maggie is correct to tell William that it’s not his fault. Who could’ve predicted such an attack? Like Maggie says, the Kingdom could’ve been hit. There’s no telling how long it would take reinforcements from other communities to arrive.
But regardless of what’s happened, I like that William isn’t an unwilling leader. He’s out on the frontlines and offering whatever services he can to Maggie. But Maggie is already looking towards the future. I don’t expect the Hilltop to be rebuilt overnight, and with both the Whisperers still out there and the time it would take to remake this community, even without interruption, I’m very curious to see what comes next for the Hilltop.
And it looks like Lydia is here to stay, despite how disturbed she is by what’s happened. As a Whisperer, she and her group would ravage a community and leave. She never had to deal with the aftermath, but now she’s seeing firsthand what her people did and that bothers her. She knows that she’s done terrible things to strangers who didn’t deserve it, and she feels that would make Carl hate her.
But this is Carl Grimes we’re talking about. We can’t count the number of terrible things Rick’s merry band of survivors have done to get to where they are, whether their actions were warranted or unprovoked. Carl knows what it’s like to commit atrocities, even if it’s just to survive, but the point of getting to where they are is to not live like that anymore. You remember where you came from and that makes you a better person.
It’s a nice way for the two to bond in the wake of what they’ve endured and shows that, despite where Lydia came from, she has more in common with Carl and his group than she knew.
This conversation is in stark contrast to what Rick and Andrea discuss, as they acknowledge that killing other human beings is their world now if they’re to survive. While Carl talks of moving past those dark moments to be a better person, you’ve got these two accepting that this is their life and there may be no coming back from this.
By the way, the shooting system used to indicate who is arriving at Alexandria…I get why it’s useful, but it’s brought up here, used when Dwight and company arrive, but when Eugene arrives with the ammunition, someone just yells out that he’s there. My question is do you need both? The gunshots could just alert roamers much more than someone’s voice. Just something on my mind while reading this.
Anyway, Dwight and company return and it is a good feeling when the groups reunite, but the moment is short lived. There’s this false sense of security with Dwight telling Rick what happened. Beta nearly beaten to death, the plan to mix among the Whisperers…it all sounds like Dwight’s group took care of business no problem.
Therein lies the problem: Rick knows better because he’s seen it. I’ve gotta wonder who else knows about the massive roamer herd that Alpha showed Rick. I would assume that Lydia knows of it, but aside from her, does anyone else know that the Whisperers have a trump card with that herd? Not that he would intentionally withhold it, but it would help to keep people aware of what the Whisperers may unleash down the road.
So even if the communities get comfortable after managing to thin out a hundred or so Whisperers and their roamer hordes, they’re always aware in the back of their mind that there’s an even bigger threat on the horizon that would take days to clear.
And that’s just what’s heading their way. Sweet merciful crap, that is a terrifying sight. Rick called the herd “a sea of the dead that roared like an ocean” and it’s an apt description. The scope of this enormous herd, I feel, eclipses what Alexandria endured during No Way Out and it spells impending danger for the survivors.
What’s more, the Whisperers don’t have to lift a finger right now. Their war is over, as Beta says, so now they can just leave the dead to finish what they’ve started. The Whisperers can recuperate and heal while the roamers lay waste to Alexandria. Plus, remember that the Saviors are still out there and waiting to make their comeback, so this conflict will no doubt continue well after this arc.
The Whisperer War is over, but the survivors are nowhere near done with fighting just yet.