Over the years, the group of survivors surrounding Rick Grimes have gone up against some of the most ruthless villains in comic book history. Producers have translated those villains to the screen on AMC's The Walking Dead perfectly, thanks to an incredibly talented cast and crew - but the most dangerous villain of all time is just around the corner. Alpha is the enigmatic leader of the mysterious group known as the Whisperers, and she's finally leaping off the pages of the comics and onto our television screens when TWD throws her into the action in the series's second half of Season 9.
There's a lot about Alpha that makes her the best villain in the series, and it's not simply due to her progression from one Big Bad to the next. Alpha is mysterious, ruthless, and, above all else, a mystery to the group from Alexandria. Much of what is known about her comes straight out of the comics, but now that she's making a transition to the small screen, fans are wondering what she and her crew are all about - and what they've learned is pretty horrific.
SPOILER WARNING: This list involves details from the comics issues #130 to present. The events described below have inspired the events of the television series, so before you read on, be aware this may spoil the issues you haven't read or the episodes of Season 9 you have yet to see.
Becoming a member of a group of walkers isn't the only thing Alpha manages to do by wearing their skins. She finds that if she whispers while among them, they don't take notice of her or the other Whisperers. By walking within their numbers, the Whisperers find a way to guide the reanimated and use them as a blunt instrument in instilling fear and dispatching enemies. The Whisperers aren't the only group of survivors who find a way to use zombies for their own purposes, but they are the ones who master that ability.
The scariest aspect of the Whisperers isn't the zombies - they've stumbled about the world for years at this point in TWD's story. The fact that the Whisperers hide among them and spring up at the last moment with a knife is their real skill. By becoming the undead, they mask themselves from the living, which makes them far more treacherous than any other group of villains Rick and his group have gone up against before. This includes the Governor and Negan, who use the reanimated to incite fear among people.
Survival is the name of the game when the world is overrun by the reanimated. The people in Alexandria figure out how to survive by banding together and working toward a better future, but Alpha goes about it a bit differently. She learned long ago that the only way to survive wasn't to fear the zombies but to use them. Blend in with them and join their numbers as they move across the landscape. Slay and skin them, then wear their leather so it's possible to fit in and survival becomes much easier.
The other survivors learn to enshroud themselves with viscera and blood to mask themselves, but only as a last resort. Doing so as a way of life is contrary to everything Rick and the other survivors are all about. Alpha's unique manner of skinning the zombies and wearing masks made of their leather may be horrific, but it works remarkably well.
When Rick returns to his own territory, he finds that the way is blocked by a new fence marking the line between the lands of the survivors and those of the Whisperers. Spread across the fields are pikes, each with a different head atop them. When Alpha shows up at the fair prior to Rick's arrival in her territory, she captures and slays dozens of people.
The books never listed everyone she slayed or had ordered to be slayed, but the following names were confirmed:
- Tammy Rose
- Rosita Espinosa (and her unborn child)
Ezekiel's passing is likely the most traumatic, seeing as he was the King of the Kingdom and in a relationship with Michonne at the time. Alpha's slaying was meant to teach the survivors her way of life, but all it does is push them to clash.
It takes a certain sort of person to skin a human's body, treat that skin into leather, and wear it as a suit. In a normal society, those people would be considered as stable as Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Wearing a skin-suit is not normal, but when the reanimated walk the Earth... well, it's still extreme. It's not surprising Alpha's followers willingly sacrifice themselves for their cause.
When the Whisperers first stumble upon the survivors, they are a treacherous enemy who instill fear in the living and strike without hesitation. They lumber into the living and slash with their knives, but as soon as they are detected, they are often slain. Heads are chopped off, guts are ripped out, and a lot of people perish. The remaining Whisperers don't run scared when they see their comrades fall - they continue their assault and either march to the end or continue with their mission. Loss of life doesn't sway or even slow their assault, which makes them far more frightening than the zombies could ever be.