By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back to Typing on The Dead, Bleeding Cool's Walking Dead recap column. After last month's issue was heavily geared toward being a total brawl-fest, this month takes a step back into heavy drama and character interaction. This month The Walking Dead felt a little bit like a basic cable primetime drama series, with everything from light swearing to hospital scream offs. So as always, *SPOILER WARNING* for the remainder of the article.
The Walking Dead #135 by Robert Kirkman & Charles Adlard
A beaten Sophia reaches out for Maggie exclaiming that Carl saved her, but collapses before she reaches her. Maggie catches Sophia as she falls and calls for Doc Carson, a group helps Maggie collect Sophia as Jesus is left to care for the prisoner he'd captured last issue. As Jesus looks over the Whisperer, he finally realizes that his zombie attacker is wearing a false face, and takes it to get cleaned up.
We switch back to Sophia who's now getting care for her injuries, Alex the nurse looks her over and tells Maggie that she took a good beating but probably only has a concussion. He tells Maggie that Doc Carson is busy with Darius, but will check her over as soon as he's done. A worried Carl hovers over Sophia, but Maggie tells him not to worry and that she's glad he was there to protect her. But no sooner do the two find a moment of peace than another set of injuries walk through the door.
The families of the boys that attacked Carl and Sophia have stretchered in their kids, exclaiming that Carl tried to murder them. Tammy, the mother of one of the boys even goes so far as to call Carl a monster. Carl tells them that he was only trying to stop them and that they attacked Sophia, to which Maggie agrees. Tammy disagrees and tells Maggie that the boys were scared of Sophia and only defending themselves, punctuating the point with her best Maury Povich.
Carl tells them that's not what happened, but one of the boys' fathers gets in his face, calling him a menace, accusing him of being ready to attack them right now, and saying that Carl's too dangerous to be running around free. Carl again tries to assert that he was trying to save Sophia, as Maggie looks like she's had a revelation.
In a much unexpected scene we meet Jesus's captured Whisperer, a beautiful young girl. She asks Jesus what he wants, he replies that he wants to know about her, starting with her name, she simply replies Lydia. Jesus then holds up the stitched mask and asks about her bizarre fashion. Lydia replies that the skin makes the dead leave them alone, helps them travel, and offers protection for them and the dead. Jesus confused by the answer asks her why, Lydia explains that all that's left for them in the world is for us to live and them to not, explaining further that they live together or they don't live at all. She tells Jesus that he hasn't learned yet, but he'll see, that he'll learn or die, because that's what, "we are taught."
Back at the hospital, the boys Carl beat are being treated. The parents complain that their boys were treated after Sophia and Carl. Maggie tells the parents that Carl's injuries are consistent with his version of the events and had a wound that was still bleeding. Tammy takes exception and yells that her son's eyeball almost popped out. Maggie calmly calls it an exaggeration and assures them that Carl will be punished, but asserts that the beating they got wasn't much worse than what Sophia suffered. The mother again interjects and tells Maggie that what started all this was Sophia attacking the boys a few days prior and that she brought the beating on herself. Maggie decides that the conversation is over, and tells the families they need to back off. One of the fathers steps up to Maggie and tells her that she doesn't scare him and they'll be compensated for the boys suffering.
Carl, not happy with the man attempting to bully Maggie, tells them if he hadn't stepped in the boys would've hurt Sophia much worse and he won't apologize for saving her. While doing so, he shows signs that he's been hanging out with Negan.
The now enraged father slams Carl up against the wall, while Maggie screams that he put him down. She separates the two and tells the families that they'll be notified of when they can see the boys. They tell Maggie that it's not over, but she disagrees telling them it is.
Returning to Jesus' interrogation, we find out Lydia is only 16, Jesus ponders that if Lydia's group is sending children out in the field that there can't be many of them. Lydia responds that children don't exist anymore, and the illusion of safety wasn't a luxury they could afford. Frustrated with Jesus's line of questioning, Lydia asks why she was spared, given first aid, and been kept alive, Jesus reminds her that he's asking the questions. Jesus asks why they attacked his people, but Lydia's distracted by Carl and Maggie walking by. Carl wants to know why Jesus has a girl tied to a chair, Maggie tells him she intends to find out but needs to deal with him first. Carl asks if she's really going to lock him up for defending Sophia, admitting he may have gone too far, but reiterates that the boys were trying to kill her. Maggie is visibly torn by the situation and asks Carl to trust her telling him it's for his own protection. Carl tells her he's not scared of retaliation and Maggie tells him she knows he's not. Maggie tells Carl that his attack against the boys is counter to what his father is trying to establish in their new world, and although she's grateful he saved Sophia, he did try to kill the two boys and they no longer kill to survive. Maggie drives the point home that the dead don't grow up to be productive members of the community, locking Carl into think about what happened.
Maggie proceeds back to Jesus' interrogation, but unfortunately he's not getting much out of the captive Lydia. Maggie tells Jesus that Darius is going to live, but finds out that Jesus lost some men in the field. She tries to give her condolences, but is a bit shaken when she sees the Whisperer's skin mask.
Maggie picks up on the dead talking and realizes immediately that her other men in the field are in danger. Maggie and Jesus run off leaving Lydia by herself, but she can hear someone in the cell next to her. After hearing Carl sigh, she asks if he did something bad, following up by telling him her name. Carl's taken back by the conversation and tells her his name, leaving Lydia with a sly grin.
We return to the beaten boy's parents, who're still enraged by their children being attacked. One of the fathers tells the others that Carl is too dangerous to remain in the Hilltop and he has to go. Tammy tells him it'll never happen as Maggie and Ricks families survived together before they sheltered in Alexandria. Tammy goes on to say that she'll never throw Carl out and Maggie isn't fit to be in charge. The other father chimes in and says that Maggie left Dante's search party to die and isn't sending help after them. They continue on about how to deal with Maggie and get a suggestion from the Hilltops former leader Gregory, "We could always just kill her."
This was another issue where we had to get some story progress out of the way. With last month being a series of fight sequences and minor story points, this issue we finally edged closer to some big drama at the Hilltop. The parents of the beaten boys were predictably awful, it reminded me of that whole parental attitude of, "My kid wouldn't do that!" They were content to blame Carl and Sophia, despite the fact that evidence supported Carl's version of the events. It's natural for a parent to feel defensive, but they didn't want to accept that their children were anything but victims. It's no surprise that Carl refused to back down either, the scrappy teenage Cyclops had a rough childhood and has been dealing with awful adults most of his life. I really thought it was interesting when he pulled out the profanity. It really showed that maybe his talks with Negan left more of an impression than he realized. It all left me wondering if Carl might be coming around to Negan's way of thinking, especially since he was locked up for doing what he thinks was right.
The big surprise of the issue was Lydia. Who would've thought that underneath a zombie skin mask would be a pretty girl? Regardless, we didn't find out much about the Whisperers, except she referred quite a bit to learning and being taught. It's leading me to believe that the Whisperers are some sort of religious group and despite what Jesus thinks I bet they'll be larger than anyone expects. She also immediately took notice of Carl, but did she see him as a means of escape, or is the young Grimes just a ladies man? Between Sophia, Anna, and potentially Lydia, Carl is a teenage heartthrob in the zombie apocalypse.
The Greene family is having a hell of a time with the fallout of the Sophia's attack. I'd said last month that this would lead to some questioning Maggie's leadership and it looks like I was right. Even though it looks like only 4 or 5 people are currently in the "We Hate Maggie Greene Party" we don't know how much sway these families have, of course with Gregory offering his advice that may not matter. It seems ever the politician, Gregory was in the right place at the right time to capitalize on tragedy. I'd be willing to bet that Gregory doesn't really plan to kill Maggie, but is willing to sow discontent throughout the Hilltop to further his agenda.
This month felt like we got a lot of setup for future conflict, from Maggie's fight with the other families and Gregory to the inevitable face off with the Whisperers. We witnessed one interrogation this month, and I'm sure we'll soon be finding out how the Whisperers intend on getting information out of Dante very soon.
That's all for this month, Sweet Release! is on break until January, but I wrote about video game toys a couple weeks ago, so maybe check that out. You should also go read the revived, Live From The Comic Shop, that our very own Christine Marie does every Wednesday from Conquest Comics in Bayville New Jersey.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from the New Jersey coast who's favorite monster in the Wolfman. Tell him your favorite monster on Twitter @John_Laryngitis.