- "We are animals, Negan. Civilization is a myth. That is the truth this world has taught us. We have not risen above our baser instincts... that is what always has and always will drive us. That... ugliness you saw back there? Don't look away... stare into it... see what we are. That is the only way to free yourself."
- —Alpha to Negan.[src]
"Alpha" is a main character and an antagonist first encountered in Issue 132 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead. She is the leader of a large survivor group known as The Whisperers and is the mother of Lydia. She served as the primary antagonist of the series from Volume 22: A New Beginning to Volume 26: Call To Arms.
Alpha is shown to be a cunning, cruel and savage woman who is a strong leader to those in her group. She appears to take great pride in her leadership abilities and seems to enjoy the position of power. She gives the impression of no longer possessing any emotions or affection, as shown when she coldly rejected her own daughter's attempt to embrace her, telling her to call her "Alpha" instead of mother.
She emotionally and physically abused her daughter by allowing others to rape and abuse her. Despite this she does show care for her child, when she asked Rick to protect her after she is disowned for being weak, tearing up in secret. Later she breaks down, revealing she truly misses her daughter and hoped by giving her away she would become stronger.
Despite that, Alpha's savageness is very evident, being almost completely remorseless, killing not just for survival but as a message towards her enemies and those who defy her. She is highly intelligent, using her people to contain one of the largest herds ever encountered by the survivors.
Very little is known about Alpha's life before or as the outbreak began. She had a daughter named Lydia. It is possible she lived in the area around D.C.
Alpha survived the initial stages of the outbreak, after which time she and her daughter either joined or formed a group of many survivors that eventually evolved to become the Whisperers. She eventually became their leader. Based on what she said to another Whisperer, she may have fought for her place as leader several times before.
After Dante attacks the Whisperers who killed Doug and the other Hilltop guard, he goes to check to see how they had attacked him. Later, Alpha comes up behind him and aims her shotgun at him.
Alpha holds Dante at gunpoint, explaining that these are the Whisperers' lands, and his people will learn to fear them.
Alpha is then seen at the gates of the Hilltop. She introduces herself along with her army to Maggie. Alpha removes her mask and shows her face, claiming to mean no harm. She claims to only want her daughter, Lydia. In exchange, she will give back Ken and Dante, who are unharmed.
The trade proceeds, with Ken and Dante returning to the Hilltop and Lydia goes back with the Whisperers. Lydia thanks her mother for saving her, but she replies that Lydia should call her Alpha like everybody else. Alpha, Lydia, and the Whisperers depart into the forest.
Alpha is then seen marching in the woods, with her daughter beside her and the entire Whisperer army. Alpha says that Lydia should stay in the center because she doesn't have a skin suit and they'll have to craft another one, to which Lydia replies she tried to tend to her suit as best as she could. Seemingly unknown to her, she's being followed by Carl.
When the boy stops to rest, Alpha approaches him, asking why he followed them. Carl responds he wanted to make sure Lydia is safe, and makes it clear that it was his decision to do so, and the Hilltop has nothing to do with it. After a brief conversation, Carl is allowed to travel with them to their camp. While travelling to their camp, Alpha tells Carl that they don't have camps and instead live how they were intended to live (Without shelter, instead huddling together for warmth). They then arrive to a large group of people, disguised in the same costumes with camp fires, livestock and other necessities.
Soon, Alpha approaches Carl, and, after noticing the latter's aggression, reminds him that he's still a captive. She announces that there is no other way, and that she must learn more about Carl's people.
Later on, Alpha manages to sneak inside Alexandria-Safe Zone to learn more about the communities.. She meets Earl Sutton who was asking about her work (machetes and spears she is showing off at her tent). He asks her how long ago she joined the communities, to which she responds that she joined them very recently.
Alpha manages to get back to the Whisperers' camp, where Rick Grimes is already there to save his son. She then approaches and says that she isn't impressed upon seeing Rick after all of the things she had heard about him. Rick tells him that he does not appreciate being held captive and that he would like to leave with Carl. Alpha says that she wishes he was never held captive. Alpha is holding a blood-stained machete.
Alpha says that she encountered some trouble on the road home and that it was unavoidable. Rick asks her what she has done and if she has hurt Andrea or Michonne before being punched by a Whisperer. Rick says that he will remember this as he wipes blood from his mouth. Alpha tells one of her people to go clean the machete and then tells Rick that he is in no position to threaten her and needs to be broken of the habit of threats. She tells Rick that the two of them will be going for a walk as Rick shouts that he will not leave Carl. Alpha threatens to kill Carl if Rick does not comply, forcing him to cooperate.
Rick is now at the gun-point by Alpha as they walk. The duo pass an overgrown gas station and a freeway. Rick asks her that if she planned on killing him that she could have saved them both a lot of time. Alpha states that although she is willing to kill Rick, she has no desire to. Alpha tells Rick to stop talking and to keep his voice down. Rick then asks Alpha where she is taking him as Alpha points to a building ahead of them.
Alpha and Rick approach a four-story building with a small water tower on top. Alpha tells Rick that the building is clear and the two go all the way to the roof of the building. Alpha tells Rick to go to the edge and look. She tells Rick that she wants him to see that she will destroy everything he has built in this world, everyone he has loved in this world, and that this is not an empty threat. Rick then looks over the edge with Alpha to see a massive herd below.
After showing Rick the massive horde of Roamers, Alpha takes him off the building and takes him back to the Whisperers camp. Rick asks Alpha what she wants from him, she replies he has nothing to offer her. She proceeds to mock Ricks "fake" way of life and say how they are like children playing pretend. "You've built a shrine to world long dead," Alpha says how her people are the ones who live truly and live a life of freedom. Rick then questions her about her ideology about the Whisperers being free despite them referring to their leader as "Alpha" and having to sleep in the cold and wear dead human skin.
As Alpha and Rick returned to the Whisperers camp, Rick tells Carl that they can leave peacefully however Carl refuses to leave Lydia. He tells Rick that the Whisperers rape Lydia and Alpha allows it and he confronts Alpha about it. Alpha claims that Rape is a power of the natural world and making it excusable. Lydia breaks down telling what has happened to her and Alpha is disgusted by her show of emotion and strikes her in the face calling her weak. She preaches how in order to survive in the new world one needs to be strong and she too breaks down. Rick separates them and Alpha whispers to him that they can provide the safety to Lydia that she could not. She then disowns Lydia and tells her to go with Rick and Carl. Alpha informs Rick that she has marked a border that separates them and the Whisperers and that they are not to cross that border or her horde will cross into their side. Rick takes Carl and Lydia and they leave.
Alpha wanders into the forest and stops, propping up against a tree she begins to cry until she is greeted by a fellow Whisperer. The Whisperer understands that Alpha is upset for sending Lydia away but thinks she did the right thing, since Lydia wasn't strong enough to be part of their group. Alpha worries that he thinks her weak for showing emotions. He assures her she won't have to worry about him but urges her to make sure no else will know. She agrees and swiftly cuts his throat. Another Whisperer witnesses the end of the confrontation and asks what happened. She tells him that the other Whisperer had tried to challenge her for her position. She wipes her knife clean and they walk away, leaving the body to be processed by the land.
As he arrives at the Whisperer's camp, Negan jovially talks about the type of skin suit he would like after joining them, as he is taken to Alpha. Alpha demands to know who he is, Negan introduces himself, then declares that he is in love.
Alpha proceeds to interrogate Negan as to who he is and what his business is within her lands, while constantly having to reject Negan's advances toward her, which she deems "annoying". When Beta intervenes in their conversation, revealing Negan's lie about his affiliation with the Alexandria Safe-Zone and its allies and about being an escaped prisoner, Alpha declines Beta's request to kill Negan. Alpha asks Negan if he's afraid of dying then asks why he came to them. Negan pleasantly suggested he had a "hell of a lot" to offer her and the Whisperers.
Beta questions Alpha, saying that Negan is breaking all the rules they abide by. Alpha roughly asks Beta if he challenging her. Beta immediately drops to one knee and apologizes. Alpha forgives him and tells him to leave. Negan mockingly bends his knee, asking if Alpha accepts him as apart of the Whisperers. She does, but when Negan asks, says he cannot have a "skin suit" until he earns it. Later, Negan is attacked by two walkers and pinned down. Alpha tells him that he has earned his knife back and gives it to him, allowing him to kill the walkers.
After witnessing the attempted rape of a young Whisperer, Negan questions Alpha's leadership of the Whisperers. He calls her an animal, to which she agrees. She tells him that this is nature and it is the only way people will get stronger. She replies that she has to be strong for the Whisperers, and then admits that she let her daughter be raped. She tells Negan that she is not strong. Negan opens up to her, but then tells her that "It's all a game, Alpha... And you're not fucking winning". She says that maybe Negan does belong with them. Negan replies that maybe he does... and proceeds to slit Alpha's throat and cut her head off, saying he doesn't want to be with them.
Beta finds Alpha's headless corpse and mourns her loss. Some other Whisperers arrive and note that Negan isn't there to claim his title. Beta says he would never allow him to become the alpha, that he did not intend to claim the title himself. He doesn't want there to be another alpha ever—they will be guided by her words. He informs them that they will kill everyone.
Later, Negan presents Alpha's decapitated and zombified head to Rick and Andrea.
After a lengthy conversation about Alpha's leadership of the Whisperers, Alpha says that maybe Negan does belong with the Whisperers. Negan replies that maybe he does... and proceeds to slit Alpha's throat, saying he doesn't want to be with them. He goes further in fully decapitating her before beaming "Wait until Rick gets a look at you...".
Some time later, Negan carries Alpha's head in a bag and takes it to Rick and Andrea. He shows them her now reanimated head to try and win their trust.
This list shows the victims Alpha has killed.
- Olivia (Alive)
- Josh (Alive)
- Carson (Alive)
- Tammy Rose (Alive)
- Luke (Alive)
- Erin (Alive)
- Ken (Alive)
- Amber (Alive)
- Larry (Alive)
- Oscar (Alive)
- Rosita Espinosa (Alive)
- Ezekiel (Alive)
- One unnamed Whisperer
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people.
- "I let them... Have my daughter... I thought it would... Make her stronger... I... Thought there was no other way to live in this world... I... I miss her so much."
- —Alpha to Negan about her daughter[src]
Later on, on the onset of the Whisperer War, Alpha emotionally admits to Negan that she misses her daughter a lot.
- "Maybe you fucking nutcases need me. Because if that's how you do things, you're so fucked in the head you might as well be dead bodies pretending you're still fucking alive. That shit is vile, Alpha. You should be ashamed of yourself. (...) Protecting the weak is the whole fucking basis for civilization. If you're not protecting the weak, you're not civilized. You're fucking animals."
- —Negan to Alpha after witnessing the attempted rape of a Whisperer[src]
Later on, Negan questions Alpha's leadership of the Whisperers. Alpha opens up to Negan about how she let her daughter be raped, thinking it would make her stronger. Negan questions whether Alpha's leadership is in question. He says he isn't interested in becoming the "new Alpha". She says that maybe Negan does belong with them, to which he replies "maybe...". However, he then takes her by surprise and slits her throat, saying he doesn't want to be there. He then decapitates her and holds her head up, saying "Wait until Rick gets a look at you...", showing he had changed his opinion on Alpha, likely due to viewing her as a monster for allowing her people and daughter to be raped just to maintain her own position and image.
- "I want you to see that when I tell you that I will destroy everything you've built in this world, everything you love, everyone you know, that is not an empty threat"
- —Alpha's threat to Rick if he or the communities continue to interfere in the Whisperer's territories or interests.[src]
After Rick discovers Alpha's display of authority in the form of a border of numerous heads on spikes from the communities, notably Rosita and Ezekiel, Rick has developed a vehemently hostile anger and hatred towards her as he vows to destroy her and the Whisperers for their actions despite her threats of ending everything Rick has struggled to build.
Their relationship ultimately ends when he learns of Alpha's assassination by Negan. Rick then calculates the possible advantages her death could have in destroying the Whisperers under Beta's leadership.
- "You have stood by my side for so long, helping me lead, trusting my judgement... Never have you asserted your dominance over me--When we both know you could at any time. It that time now?"
- —Alpha to Beta[src]
In Issue 156, Alpha and Beta have a disagreement on how to handle Negan. Alpha questions whether Beta is challenging her. Beta, startled, bends to one knee and begs her forgiveness. She does, and they resume their stable relationship.
Alpha and Carl have a bad relationship. Carl points his gun at Alpha when she approaches him and tells him, if he does shoot her either way Carl will die. Carl puts his gun down, Alpha leaves asking him, if he's coming. Alpha later questions Carl about his people. Carl threatens her.
Maggie and Alpha interact once, it is when Maggie gives Lydia back, and Alpha gives back Dante and Ken. Alpha tells Maggie she means no harm to the people living in the communities unless the people continue to invade The Whisperers territory.
Alpha kept Ken as a hostage. Despite the hostility between the two groups, Ken claims that he was well fed and wasn't hurt. Alpha's group even tended to his injured leg. However, she ended up killing him, as his zombified head was seen stuck on a stick after she decapitated him.
Alpha kept Dante as a hostage. Despite the hostility between the two groups, it is known that he was well fed and that he wasn't hurt.
- Alpha is the third recurring antagonist in the Comic Series and the first to be a female.
- Alpha also has the second longest lifespan out of all 3 major antagonists in the comics.
- Alpha being decapitated by Negan is ironic as she now receives the death that she gave to the twelve innocents in issue 144.
- Alpha is also the first major antagonist to be killed by another major antagonist in the comics.
- Alpha is also the first major antagonist to be zombified in the comic series.
- Alpha is the first major antagonist without an actual name as 'Alpha' is the term used for the leader of The Whisperers.
- In the Letter Hacks of Issue 158, Kirkman states that killing Alpha was one of the hardest deaths ever.