Zeb Larson reviews The Walking Dead #143…
Every time that Rick Grimes starts to think he’s secure, something comes along to rattle his cage and cause that feeling of safety to crumble. We always knew that the Whisperers were dangerous, but now we see that they have a unique trump card that Rick can’t match. And of course, there’s the little fact that his son is running with a dangerous crowd. At least at this moment, Rick is kinda screwed, backed up against a wall with an opponent who has the upper hand, while his son is pushing him away for exactly that opponent. I will be discussing spoilers in this review, so consider yourself forewarned.
Back at the fair, Ezekiel and Pete catch up and discuss Michonne’s return. With a little bit of coaxing, Pete convinces Ezekiel to go looking for Michonne. Maggie and Jesus talk about telling Rick what happened to Gregory, and Maggie agrees to come clean. Rick’s group stumbles across a Whisperer sentry, and after some tense negotiations Rick is taken alone to see Carl. It’s not the happy reunion that Rick hoped for, and Carl refuses to leave the Whisperers. According to Carl, Lydia is the only person he’s met who can look at him without flinching. Rick grudgingly accepts when Alpha returns, and she takes Rick to see her secret weapon: a barely-contained mob of thousands of walkers, which she claims she will unleash if Rick continues to pressure the Whisperers.
In the post-apocalypse, a horde of zombies that size might as well be a tactical nuke. It’s the logical step in the Whisperers’ view of themselves: walkers are something to adapt to, and they’ve adapted to use them not just as camouflage, but as a weapon. We’ve got the perfect spark to set everything off, with Ezekiel racing to see Michonne. It’s not hard to imagine that once he sees her surrounded by what appear to be walkers, he’ll incite some incident. The next issue is the arc’s finale, so it would make for an apropos ending.
The rest of the issue that doesn’t focus on Rick and company is brief, receiving no more than a page or two. Some of the dialogue is a little clunky: “The world is my father, and I’ve got its looks” is one of those things that sounds better in your head than out loud. They feel like little reminders that there’s a fragile life that Rick has built that is on the verge of being swept away by yet another war. Nothing of terrible significance happens apart from Ezekiel running off, but it’s not the point. The peace and relative bliss of the last sixteen issues is about to come to an end, and these scenes that were reminiscent of ordinary life pre-apocalypse will likely come to an end. Perhaps everything can be averted next issue, but it doesn’t look good.