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The Whisperers are a mysterious group of survivors who disguise themselves with roamer skin to blend in with them and not get noticed. They are first introduced in Issue 130. They served as the primary antagonistic group of the series from Volume 22: A New Beginning to Volume 27: The Whisperer War.
After Alpha and Beta's deaths, the group collapses.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Post-Apocalypse
- 3 Members
- 4 Killed Victims
- 5 Deaths
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Trivia
The Whisperers are a primitivist society that shun civilization and humanity. They view humans as animals who always pretended they weren't and see the apocalypse as a chance to course-correct this. Like many mammalian species, they have a pack order, with an Alpha as their leader, a Beta as their second-in-command etc. The leader is expected to be the strongest among them, regardless of gender (though it is implied that the current Alpha only keeps her position because the Beta is unwilling to challenge her). They also don't use names, shunning their previous identities. Because they view themselves as animals, the Whisperers see rape as a social construct, so women and girls in the group are offered no protection from sexual assault and are instead expected to defend themselves. This is so ingrained in Whisperer society that, sometimes, not even victims of these sexual assaults consider it rape.
The Whisperers are nomads, never staying in one place for more than a few days. While they don't have a base per se, they do have a general area in which they operate. The Whisperers are fiercely territorial and will normally attack intruders on sight if they deem them a threat. If the intruders don't seem like they're a part of a larger group, the Whisperers might try to recruit them, though they will still kill them if they refuse. Instead of searching for shelter behind walls, they disguise themselves as zombies by wearing their skins. This allows them to travel in herds, and even steer them. They also practice limited agriculture, as several cows as well as horses can be seen in their camp, though they mostly rely on hunting and gathering.
Their exact numbers are unknown, though a view of their camp shows there are well over 150 members. Dante, who was captured by them and kept in a tent, claims that it sounded like there were thousands, though most of these sounds likely came from walkers. The Whisperers primarily rely on melee weapons (mostly knives) and bows in combat, with there being only two recorded instances of Whisperers wielding firearms. Their most powerful weapon, though, is the massive herd they've created over the years by accumulating zombies. While they mostly utilize smaller herds when attacking, they are capable of unleashing thousands of zombies in larger conflicts. In both cases, they will camouflage themselves inside the herd and attack survivors when they least expect it, making them a very dangerous foe.
According to Lydia, the Whisperers started out as a rather large group that grew even more over time by smaller groups joining it. Gradually, they adapted to live and move among zombies as they regressed into a more primitive organization, thinking it necessary to survive.
The Whisperers are first seen following Marco and Ken. Later, Marco tells his fellow survivors that the undead are whispering to him, and his cohorts do not take him seriously. Later, after a search party is sent to look for Ken, Whisperers ambush Dante and two more men of the search party. They brutally stab the two men to death and keep Dante hostage.
They are later seen following Paul Monroe and his scouting party, who are searching for a mysteriously missing patrolman. Fearing the unknown, they begin to head back but are attacked by the Whisperers. Two men are brutally killed and another is severely injured. Though surrounded, Paul manages to beat the odds and kills all but one, who he keeps as a hostage. After the skirmish, Paul heads off to the Hilltop Colony where he brings Darius to be healed and where he brings the incapacitated Whisperer to be interrogated.
At the Hilltop, Paul unmasks the wounded Whisperer who is revealed to be a 16 year old girl. The girl introduces herself as Lydia and answers all of Paul's questions straight forward. She tells Paul that the Whisperers do not harm the undead and, instead, live among them. Carl Grimes is then placed into a cell next to hers as Maggie Greene brings Paul out to alert the others of the "talking dead". Lydia grins as she begins to have a conversation with Carl.
Soon enough, Carl and Lydia begin to form a bond which results in Carl convincing Maggie to untie her and later gives her his hat to boost her confidence as she becomes scared of what may happen to her. Maggie and Paul consult with Marco about what he saw and heard exactly and inform him that he was not crazy.
Meanwhile, two Whisperers keep watch over the Hilltop as they hide in the bushes outside their walls. One of them comments that Alpha is coming and that Lydia is strong enough to take care of herself.
When Alpha arrives with a large force, she speaks with Maggie, proposing a trade: Dante and Ken for Lydia, her daughter. She accepts the deal and the Whisperers leave Hilltop, being secretly followed by Carl Grimes.
Carl is found out, however, and is taken in by the group at the command of Alpha. They continue to travel deep in the woods and through fields before finally coming across their camp. There are dozens of Whisperers, tending livestock, making skin suits and preparing food, among other tasks.
Later, Carl witnesses several Whisperers preparing a new suit for Lydia. Lydia says that they don't use their real names because Alpha feels that they are worthless in the new world, and unnecessary to survive. Carl proposes escaping with her, reasoning that her people are crazy, but as she begins to decline, Alpha arrives, she takes off her mask to speak to Carl, who responds that Rick didn't keep him and the others alive with "Halloween masks". Alpha says that she hoped by showing him how they lived that he would tell his people to leave the Whisperers alone, but now thinks she must learn more about his people.
Meanwhile, at Alexandria, Rick learns of Carl's disappearance and sets out into Whisperer territory on horseback, and takes Andrea, Michonne, and Dante with him. A short time later, Alpha arrives at the community as the fare festivities get started, disguised as a new resident. On the road, Rick and co. are surrounded by over a dozen Whisperers, who offer to take Rick alone to see his son, while the others stay behind.
At the Whisperers' camp, Carl demands to know where Alpha has been gone all day, just as a group of Whisperers along with Rick. The two debate what to do next and Carl outright refuses to leave without Lydia, saying that she is the only one who looks at him like he is normal in spite of his facial injury and that he's going to hold onto his relationship with her. Alpha returns from Alexandria and confronts Rick, brandishing a bloody machete, commenting that she "encountered some trouble on the road". Rick rages at her, wondering if any of his people were harmed, but is punched by a nearby Whisperer. Alpha takes him on a walk alone, threatening to kill Carl if he refuses. She leads him at gunpoint to a multi-story building, and once on top, shows him a colossal horde of zombies numbering in the thousands. There, she makes it clear to him that her threat to destroy all he has built, everyone he knows and loves, is not an empty threat.
Alpha goes on to explain to Rick how his way of life "[i]s a joke", and a "shrine to a long dead world". The Whisperers' way of life is to embrace their inner natural instincts, and live as animals. They live a life of freedom and no longer live as humans or any ways they once lived before the apocalypse. They have devolved to where emotions are only for the weak and not for the strong. Alpha explains how animals need a leader, an alpha. She is merely in charge until someone takes her place.
They return to the camp. Carl still refuses to leave without Lydia. Lydia then confesses that Alpha doesn't protect her and she wishes to live with Carl, Rick, and their people, who can protect her. This infuriates Alpha, causing her to strike Lydia. Alpha orders Rick and Carl to leave and to take Lydia with them, as she is no longer allowed to live with the Whisperers. Alpha lastly says she "marked the border" when they cross the border they are no longer allowed to come back again or else she will send her massive hoard into theirs. Rick and company soon find out the border Alpha alluded to is marked with pikes. Before Rick's encounter with Alpha, she killed twelve members from Alexandria, Hilltop, the Kingdom, and the Sanctuary. Decapitated them, and put their heads on pikes.
The Whisperers are not seen for a while till when Negan comes cross their territory, even though he claims he is just passing through he is secretly looking for them. Negan is impressed with their human skin suits and how it's nearly impossible to tell them apart from regular walkers. Shortly after Beta, who is second in command of the Whisperers approaches. Beta is not amused by Negan's jokes and how the world is no longer for the loud, and only those who "whisper". Beta and the group agree to take Negan to Alpha. When Negan first sees Alpha he proclaims "I am in love."
That same night Aaron and Michonne, who are looking for Negan for breaking our of Alexandria's jail cell, are ambushed by Beta and other Whisperers. Beta, figures out they are looking for Negan, stabs Aaron in the stomach, telling them they broke the agreement to stay out of their territory. Before Beta can kill Aaron, Dwight and several members of the Militia arrive and kill several Whisperers, but Beta escapes.
Beta confronts Negan about lying to him earlier that in fact he knew who they were and he was indeed looking for them. Negan admits this to be true, before Beta can kill Negan, Alpha stops him. Negan then confesses that he might be able to help them.
Alpha allows Negan to live and lets him stay among the Whisperers despite Beta's disapproval, but he follows Alpha's rules. Over the next few days Negan lives and learns the ways of the Whisperers. Over time Alpha is impressed by Negan and starts to respect him for one evening inviting him to eat dinner with her, this makes Beta jealous. That night before going to sleep Negan spots two male Whisperers attempting to rape a female Whisperer. He stops them and violently beats them, before being knocked down by Beta. Alpha explains that helping the female when she did not ask for help is not their way will only make her weak. An angered Negan is then sent away to sleep by himself outside the camp.
Later Alpha visits Negan and says that even though he has proven himself, she feels that he does not belong with them. The two argue over the Whisperer way of living and Negan tells Alpha that she is only the leader because Beta protects her from everyone else. Alpha rejects this idea, but Negan proves it to be true and points out that pretending to be strong by rejecting emotions like compassion or sadness is not how a group should operate. Alpha then admits that perhaps Negan does belong with them. Negan responds by slashing her throat with his knife, saying he doesn't want to be with them. He comforts Alpha while she's bleeding to death and proceeds to decapitate her. After he is done, Negan holds her head, saying: "Wait until Rick gets a look at you..."
In the morning, Beta finds Alpha's headless body while Negan is nowhere to be found. He vows revenge on the communities. Meanwhile, Negan brings Alpha's head to Rick and is recruited into the Militia to help fight the Whisperers.
About a week later, the Whisperers attack in full force utilizing their massive herd. Gabriel spots them from his tower and tries to climb down to warn the Militia, but falls and breaks his leg in the process. He is disemboweled by Beta and devoured by the herd shortly after.
The Whisperers face the Militia in open field, taking the latter by surprise. Initially, it seems like the Militia is getting overwhelmed, but reinforcements arrive from the Kingdom and help turn the tide. Meanwhile, Negan gets into a fight with Beta and injures him severely, though Beta is able to escape. The Whisperers retreat and regroup, while the Militia are forced to retreat as well when they get attacked by another herd.
Beta divides the Whisperer forces while he recuperates. One group heads towards Alexandria while another goes to the Hilltop to retrieve Lydia. Unbeknownst to them, Dwight and some other members of the Militia have infiltrated the Whisperer ranks. While traveling with a large group of Whisperers, the disguised Militia members slaughter them all.
The Whisperers attack the Hilltop at night, raining fire arrows on the community. After a brutal battle the Hilltopers manage to fend off the attack. The Whisperers take heavy loses and retreat. Unfortunately, the Hilltop is nearly burnt to the ground.
After some time, Beta and the surviving Whisperers finally make it to the outskirts of Alexandria. They unleash the massive herd on the community, but opt to stay out of the fighting, thinking the herd is enough to destroy Alexandria.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack on Alexandria, the Whisperers disappear. Once the settlement is liberated, discussions are held about their whereabouts and whether or not to search for any survivors, but internal conflict prevents this.
Weeks later, Jesus and Aaron are traveling to the Hilltop when they are attacked by Beta in the middle of the night. Beta draws in a small group of walkers and evades Jesus' gunfire. He tells them that he doesn't want them to report back on the location of the remaining Whisperers. He indicates that they are attempting to re-build their forces again to prepare for another attack in the future. Beta overpowers and nearly kills Jesus, but is shot and killed by Aaron. The pair proceed to find and sneak into the Whisperer camp where they kill the few remaining members and rescue a family who were being forcefully recruited at the threat of death. With their leadership gone and the vast majority of their members dead, the Whisperers are defunct as a group. In the chaos of the war with the communities, it is possible a few survived and scattered away from the area.
- Charlie's Mother
- Charlie's Father
- Whisperer 6 (Former De-facto Leader)
- Beta (Former De-facto Leader/Second-in-Command)
- Alpha (Former Leader)
- Whisperer 8
- Whisperer 7
- Whisperer 4
- Whisperer 3
- Whisperer 2
- Whisperer 1
- Many other unnamed members
This list shows the victims the Whisperers have killed:
- Nathaniel (Possibly)
- Olivia (Alive)
- Josh (Alive)
- Carson (Alive)
- Tammy Rose (Alive)
- Luke (Alive)
- Erin (Alive)
- Ken (Alive)
- Amber (Alive)
- Larry (Alive)
- Oscar (Alive)
- Rosita Espinosa (Alive)
- Ezekiel (Alive)
- Gabriel Stokes
- Paula (Caused)
- Andrea Grimes (Caused, Alive)
- Rosita's unborn child (Caused)
- A few unnamed Whisperers
- At least 6 unnamed members of the Militia
- Numerous amounts of zombies and unnamed people
- Regarding the process used by the Whisperers, Robert Kirkman wrote:
- "So the Whisperers... clean the skin of the dead, zombie or otherwise. It's essentially human leather at that point. They were seen stretching it out and drying it in recent issues. The skin is processed. It masks their smell, and makes them smell a little dead, which allows them to move among the dead, but the inside of it... very clean and safe. I hope that clears things up."
- In the Letter Hacks for Issue 181, Sean Mackiewicz confirmed that the Whisperers are no more.
- The Whisperer habit of whispering in the presence of zombies seems completely unnecessary, as in Issue 4 Rick and Glenn were able to talk normally while similarly camouflaging themselves from roamers using zombie guts. Rick even states that the roamers don't seem to be able to distinguish between moaning and conversation.
- In "Suffer The Children", James briefly tells Clementine about the Whisperers and the war with the Militia (referencing the events of Volume 27: The Whisperer War). He also reveals that the fighting is the reason he chose to leave the group, not wanting part in it.