So this issue happened.
For what had some pretty big moments in it, issue #173, “Final Fight,” didn’t feel as eventful to me as it could and should have been. Is it a good issue? Sure, but given what comes out of this, going right into Beta sneaking up on Jesus and Aaron, it feels like the stakes could’ve been bigger. And what we get at the end of this particular story bit feels like a punchline.
Not that I thought Jesus was going to die in this scenario because we know Jesus is a better fighter than that, Beta or not, but the confrontation is over before it even starts.
The strange thing is that, based on Beta’s words and what we find out later, the Whisperers seemed to be on the verge of a comeback. I don’t know just how many Whisperers have been killed, or maybe some even defected in light of Alpha’s death, but I got the impression that, like with the Saviors, there were more of them than Kirkman was letting us know.
So when Beta tries to kill Jesus and Aaron before either of them can alert the others to his resurgence, I got the sense that maybe Beta was planing for the Whisperers to make another attack on the communities. It’s not impossible. Sherry tried to lead the Saviors into attacking Alexandria when the Whisperers were done, so the Whisperers could do the same.
But then the fight is over when Aaron and Jesus manage to overtake not just him, but some approaching roamers. Beta puts up a good enough fight until Aaron shoots him. The reveal is…underwhelming. It’s someone who used to be rich, famous, and appeared in movies. Aaron and Jesus seem to know who it is, but we as the readers don’t. And it being someone unfamiliar to us doesn’t make the reveal any stronger.
There’s some room for an interesting conversation when the two question why someone with wealth and fame would go from that to wearing the skins of roamers, but we don’t spend any time with it. And when Beta springs back to life screaming ‘No name’ before keeling over and dying for good, it feels like the moment is supposed to be played for laughs. But what should’ve been a big reveal comes off as lukewarm.
But sticking with these two for a second, they happen upon a group of Whisperers, including what I’m guessing is a small family that’s just starting out with the group. At least, they seem hesitant about wearing the skins and giving up their names, so they must be recent recruits. But when Aaron and Jesus take out the others, the family seems all to eager to go where Aaron and Jesus are going.
This is the kind of stuff I wish we saw more of with the Whisperers- their way of life. We got shades of it while seeing it through Carl and Negan’s perspectives, but for the most part, most of the Whisperers they interacted with were well integrated. This looks like fresh meat still getting acclimated to the change, so I would like to see them discuss maybe how the Whisperers came to recruit them.
Over at the Hilltop, Maggie is still obsessed over Negan just being out there, but more than that, the idea that maybe he believes that nothing happened or he did nothing wrong. Now we know that Glenn’s death is still on Negan’s mind, based on his conversation with Rick when they were trapped together, but it’s not at the forefront of his mind. He’s moved past that.
But Maggie, you know, is Glenn’s wife and obviously has more of a reason to be peeved at the notion of Negan just walking around in the world. Since she’s already sent Dante to follow him before, I wouldn’t be surprised if Maggie went out to confront Negan herself.
And keeping at the Hilltop, as this is very brief, we see that Lydia’s not too happy with Carl helping Sophia. Which is strange. Carl has known Sophia much longer than Lydia, but they seem to have just a friendship, nothing romantic about it. And after last issue where Sophia said she’d like to talk with Carl more, of course they’d take any opportunity to catch up when they can.
Now perhaps I’m jumping the gun and Lydia’s face here isn’t one of jealousy. Maybe it’s annoyance at Carl cutting the conversation short, but that’s a major stretch. But I don’t want this to turn into some kind of weird love triangle. This series is above easy drama like that.
Oh, but we do get a great moment over in Alexandria when Laura puts Dwight in his face. Dwight’s still got his beef with Rick, who is still mourning Andrea’s loss, but when he says that everyone is hurting, Laura is right to call him out on his crap. Dwight’s just wallowing in self-pity and his inability to find a place for himself. He didn’t want to lead the Saviors, he doesn’t feel he fits in Alexandria…so what’s left for him?
In addition, he’s still upset about losing Sherry, despite the fact that she, as Laura puts it, fucked him over constantly. It’s a good way for Laura to hopefully snap Dwight back to reality, but also show that she’s not going to be his shoulder to cry on when he needs to sort out his situation. Hopefully he does that.
And then we wrap things up with the group on the road, still making progress, arriving at their destination, but also walking into what appears to be a trap. Or at the very least, the people they’ve run into, if these are the people from Stephanie’s community, may not take kindly to strangers. But hey, who does in this new world? Newcomers come to your community, you’d want them to lower their weapons, too.
This seems to be the meet up point based on what Eugene said, but there is the possibility that they’ve just run into random strangers. Not unlikely when they’re in unfamiliar territory. But we’ll hopefully find out more in issue #174. See you then. A good ending to a decent issue.