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Issue 156 is the one-hundred and fifty-sixth issue of Image Comics' The Walking Dead and the sixth and final part of Volume 26: Call To Arms. It was published on July 6th, 2016.

Plot

Beta doesn't approve of Negan joining the Whisperers and asserts that he should be killed for trying to deceive Alpha. Beta also doesn't believe Negan understands their ways, but Negan retorts that he wants to learn their ways and wonders how the Whisperers recruit people with so little trust. This angers Beta, who thinks Negan is mocking him. He is about to punch Negan, but Alpha stops him and asks if Beta is finally challenging her after all the time he's spent serving her loyally. Beta denies this, falling to his knees and begging forgiveness. Alpha forgives him and tells him to leave. Negan is impressed and similarly kneels and submits to Alpha's will. She accepts him and tells him to stand, though he throws in another crude joke before doing so. He immediately apologizes, however. Alpha doubts Negan will survive living with the Whisperers. Negan asks if that means he's in, but Alpha explains that it means he can stay with them, as long as he follows the rules, but for how long is up to him. Negan hands her his knife and asks if he will be receiving a skin suit, but Alpha says he has to earn it.

Negan starts by helping out with the chores in the camp. He tries to communicate with the other Whisperers but they ignore him, much to his annoyance. He later kills a boar when accompanying some Whisperers on a hunt and loudly celebrates. He is scolded by Alpha for this at dinner, so he apologizes and explains that he was just excited, as it was his first time shooting a boar with a bow and arrow. He slowly gets accustomed to the Whisperer way of life as another Whisperer instructs him how to behave around zombies. He later walks by two Whisperers skinning a roamer, but is told to move along. While carrying firewood, he is attacked by a roamer. He yells for help, but a Whisperer tells him that he will survive, if he is strong. Continuing to struggle with the roamer, Negan protests that he doesn't even have a weapon, when he is handed his knife back by Alpha, who deems that he's "earned it". He kills the roamer and then another one that arrived in the meantime. He brings them both to the camp to be processed, impressing some of the Whisperers while Beta scoffs, clearly unimpressed.

At dinner, Alpha asks him to join her, and Negan happily accepts as Beta looks at them jealously. Later, he searches for a place to sleep. He tries to get a spot near Alpha, but Beta sends him away, much to his annoyance. As he is walking through the camp, he suddenly hears someone yelling in distress. He rushes to the source of the cries and is shocked to find two male Whisperers attempting to rape a female Whisperer. He throws them off her and starts beating one of them viciously when he is cracked over the head by Beta. Beta claims that Negan interfered with the lives of the two attempted rapists and denied the woman the right to defend herself and prove that she's strong. Negan is outraged to hear this. Alpha says that, while she understands Negan's position, it is simply not their way, causing Negan to snap by exclaiming that maybe it should be. Beta tells Alpha that she cannot allow the insult to go unpunished, and Alpha agrees, making Negan sleep far outside the camp with no protection.

Alpha goes to visit Negan in the middle of the night. She acknowledges that he has proven himself over the last few days and has even earned her respect and trust, yet she fears he doesn't belong with them. Negan angrily states that the Whisperers perhaps need him, as if they allow such vile crimes as rape to go unpunished, they might as well be roamers. Alpha argues that the woman was weak and that if you protect the weak, they never become strong. Negan retorts that protecting the weak is the whole basis of civilization and that, in not doing so, the Whisperers are no better than animals. Alpha doubles down by proclaiming that they are animals and that civilization is a myth. She sees the incidents such as the one that happened at the camp a part of human nature. Negan disagrees, as he thinks that if someone gets pleasure from someone else's pain, that person is a monster and deserves to be put down. He acknowledges he had committed unspeakable crimes, but he always did it for the greater good. Alpha says that in nature only the strong survive, and that if a woman isn't strong enough to fend off the rapists physically, she should find the strength to overcome it emotionally. While saying this, she starts to choke back tears as she remembers her daughter. She is about to leave, but Negan orders her to come back and talk to him. Negan assures her that he does not want to be "Alpha", and tells her that, in time, he could protect her alongside Beta. Alpha protests that Beta doesn't protect her, but Negan asserts that he does and that she needs him to, as she wouldn't last long as Alpha without Beta preventing the other Whisperers from assaulting her. Negan calls her out for being a hypocrite. Alpha starts to cry, remembering how she let her daughter be raped thinking that it would make her strong and reveals that she misses her. Alpha mournfully states that she isn't strong and continues to cry. Negan tries to comfort her by telling her about losing someone close to him and ceasing to feel emotions after the fact, claiming this to be his strength. He goes on to describe how he would do anything to survive, but that he is broken inside and not really living. He claims Alpha and the Whisperers are playing pretend by suppressing their emotions and informs Alpha that she is not winning in this game. Alpha trustingly tells Negan that he may indeed belong with the Whisperers, and he agrees, when he suddenly slits Alpha's throat and informs her that he doesn't want to be there. After cutting off Alpha's head, he holds it up and says: "Wait until Rick gets a look at you...".

Credits

Deaths

Trivia

  • Last appearance of Alpha. (Alive)
  • This issue features the least named characters besides Issue 50. Technically speaking, Negan is the only actually named character who appears in this issue, as most of the Whisperers identify themselves with code names rather than actual given names.
  • This is one of a handful of issues in which Rick Grimes does not make an appearance.
  • It is promised that more of Heath will be seen in Volume 27: The Whisperer War.
  • Kirkman apologizes in the Letter Hacks about the misleading covers (which suggested that Negan and Alpha would be in a relationship) and states that "Negan has other plans".
  • This issue focuses entirely on the Whisperers and even reveals some interesting facts about them such as that they hunt animals for food with weapons and they sleep in sleeping bags and tents.
  • This issue is the first issue that contains no characters introduced in the first compendium.

References

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