Walking Dead Makes The Whisperers Scarier Than The Comics

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Caution: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead season 10

The Walking Dead‘s Whisperers are even scarier and more effective on TV than they are in the comic books. In Robert Kirkman’s original The Walking Dead story, the Whisperers arrive in the wake of the landmark All Out War arc against Negan and the Saviors. Alpha’s gang represent a very different threat, more silent and unnerving than the outright might and tyrannical dominance of the Saviors, boasting a creepy, primal twang. The comics feature two major Whisperer flashpoints: the community fair heads-on-pikes incident and the release of Alpha’s giant horde. Aside from these attacks, the real threat of the Whisperers is the mental impact they have on Alexandria and its allied communities, with survivors working themselves into hysteria over the emergence of a new enemy they don’t understand.

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In the live-action AMC adaptation, the Whisperers appeared towards the back end of season 9 after Eugene and Rosita unwittingly stepped foot onto Alpha’s territory. Since then, the two sides have failed to see eye-to-eye, and this conflict culminated in Hilltop taking Alpha‘s daughter as one of their own and the Whisperers responding by beheading a group of minor protagonists then using their dismembered remains to mark out a border not to be crossed. The medium of television already gives The Walking Dead more ways to make the Whisperers creepy. Music, graveyard fog and audible animalistic dialogue are tools that the comic books simply can’t offer, and can make the Whisperers more tangible and threatening than in printed form.

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Related: The Walking Dead Has Now Set Up Negan’s Most Important Story

However, The Walking Dead season 10 has elevated the Whisperers not only by utilizing the sound and visual benefits available on TV, but also in terms of storylines and twists. When the “Whisperer War” comic arc was in progress, many fans were a little displeased by how quickly Alpha was finished off, with the narrative moving swiftly towards the massive zombie herd finale. In the AMC series, however, more time has been afforded to exploring the various facets of the Whisperers before reaching that dramatic endgame, and their potential as villains is finally unleashed.

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Dante Whisperer twist explained from The Walking Dead season 10

Perhaps the best example of this is the Dante twist in The Walking Dead‘s most recent episode. In both versions of the story, Alpha is a far more cerebral, psychological villain than Negan or the Governor. If the brash, chaotic Negan is the Joker, Alpha would be the Riddler – a savage as interested in torturing the mind as she is the body. This trait was only briefly touched upon in the comics, but is being fully realized on TV. Alpha has a mole deep within Alexandria and is waging mental warfare on the communities by throwing small, manageable attacks at them, having Gamma befriend Aaron, and gradually shrinking Alexandria’s borders. Meanwhile, Dante has been deliberately playing on Siddiq’s instability so as to provoke discord within the community, poisoning them from within.

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This calculated messing with people’s heads and asserting control from the inside is certainly a tactic that comic Alpha would’ve used, but was seldom actually demonstrated. Seeing Alpha’s sadistic strategy playing out on screen helps the Whisperers feel like a far greater threat, and a much different threat compared to what the group has faced before. Alpha’s schemes are more twisted on TV; the character isn’t all about beheading and collecting zombies, she’s a master manipulator and Samantha Morton’s incarnation of the character highlights this even better than the source material.

For the viewer, this makes the Whisperers scarier than ever before, without relying on creepy masks or audio effects. Not even the Saviors attempted such a brazen act of infiltration, and The Walking Dead on TV is taking the time to establish Alpha’s psyche at a far deeper level and to explain why she fights in this psychotic manner. The Walking Dead‘s comic changes don’t always land as they should, but the additional time spent on Alpha and the Whisperers is now beginning to pay off.

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More: Walking Dead Explains Why Ezekiel Has Been So Strange Recently

The Walking Dead continues with “The World Before” November 24th on AMC.



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