Story by: Robert Kirkman
Art and Lettering by: Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, and Cliff Rathburn
There’s a storm coming in Alexandria, and it’s coming fast. Tension is building among the townspeople, and Rick realizes he can’t keep them from retaliating against Alpha. Although this issue wasn’t jam-packed with exciting moments, it furthered the plot and built up to a very surprising request. We see different sides of several characters, and it’s evident that something big lies ahead for The Walking Dead.
The issue kicks off with 147’s cliffhanger—Lydia is pointing a gun at Andrea and demanding answers. Shockingly, Carl points his gun at Andrea first, and then quickly changes his mind and moves it to Lydia. This altercation and writing seemed a bit forced at first—it should be clear to Lydia that the people of Alexandria would want to use her against her mother and that Andrea and Carl would want to take her to safety. However, Lydia’s naivety and inability to trust Carl and Andrea advance her character. She’s experienced so much death and conflict with the Whisperers and has spent several years adopting their strange norms, all to do well by her mother. Her confusion shows her immaturity and age because she really is just a kid.
The cover art shows Alpha crying, which is a side we have never seen from her. Robert Kirkman has positioned her as a cold, merciless killer—who else would create a boundary line with people’s heads on stakes? But, much like her daughter, her true character comes through—she’s still a mother. The complexity of her character shines through when a nameless Whisperer sees her crying. Although the Whisperer seems genuine enough when he promises her secret is safe with him, she ruthlessly slits his throat without a second thought and tells the others she was challenged. Alpha takes no chances. Her character has many layers—strength, power, and fearlessness but also a hidden sensitivity when it comes to her daughter—and it’ll be exciting to see them all unfold in the coming issues.
In Alexandria, the townspeople want to retaliate against Alpha and use her daughter against her. After seeing so many friends and family members die, it’s not at all surprising their emotions are running wild. As we’ve seen, even Eugene wanted to kill Lydia after Rosita was killed. During the town meeting, they are frustrated and disappointed that Rick sent Lydia to the Hilltop for safety. After a giant kerfuffle ensues, Rick realizes a calm and civil discussion will do no good to ease their nerves or keep them from lashing out. In a surprising (and exciting) desperate move, he looks to the one person who could possibly help him keep the town from falling apart: Negan. It seems Negan may help Rick control the town or figure out a plan to fight the Whisperers. Whatever the motive may be, it’s clear big things are coming, and Negan’s grin says it all.
This month’s issue is no different than any other. Kirkman and Co. keep readers wanting more. As usual, their flawless storytelling through words and pictures are spot on, keeping us engaged and intrigued page to page. Even when the story falls a little flat and cliché, we know Kirkman has expertly planned the plot as characters continue to develop and expand.