Life in the zombie-infested world of ‘The Walking Dead’ has been too idyllic lately, but there have been threats bubbling under the surface: a suspicious new group of survivors have been taken in, but these battle weary travelers aren’t quick to trust Rick and his crew (my how the tables have turned); Negan is still locked away in Rick’s basement, but is attempting to manipulate anyone to escape; and now a new threat, the Whispers.

Previously, Dante and his group went out on a typical supply run, only to be overtaken by walkers… or are they?  The Whispers are actually humans covered in walker blood and wearing flesh masks to blend in.  They pose as walkers but attack other humans with knives.  It’s not clear what their purpose is yet.

But searching for Dante and his crew, Jesus and his friends are attacked by them.  One was killed, but Jesus, as we’ve seen in the past is not one to be underestimated.  As he and his surviving ally Darius fight them off, Jesus slowly analyzes the situation– walkers who wield knives, cry out in pain, speak and even refer to each other by names?  That’s a new one.

But his “narration” of the battle seems to suck a lot of energy out of what could have been an exciting scene, making it feel more like a boring slideshow presentation.

Elsewhere– the Hilltop to be exact– we also suddenly realize that things may not be as peaceful and happy in Carl-ville either, as he and Sophia are attacked by two young thugs and his darker side re-emerges.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that this book went from a breakneck pace of the first several years to a glacial crawl for the past two or three.  This is really the first really interesting development since Negan’s introduction and actually seems to throwback to the first few years, where you never know what to expect.  Calm peaceful ‘Walking Dead’ is no fun.  I get it’s the calm before the storm, but could the storm just get here already?

Obviously, if you’re a regular reader of the comics, you have to buy this issue just to keep up with the story, but it’s not the most thrilling installment.  This used to be a book I HAD to read in trade format because each issue ended in such a shocking cliffhanger that I just couldn’t wait a whole month to see resolved.  Sadly, I no longer feel that way.




Written by Robert Kirkman
Art and Cover by Charlie Adlard