Zombies aren’t the real threat in The Walking Dead. They’re slow and dumb… until now. The Walking Dead #130 introduces talking zombies in “There Were Whispers and I was Afraid.”
After losing their horses, patrolmen Marco and Ken hide in a ditch from a herd of walkers that seem to be whispering about where they disappeared to. Marco abandons Ken, who has a broken leg. He runs back the Hilltop colony and relays the news to the others. Maggie and Carl are clearly alarmed but Rick looks rightfully skeptical.
We don’t know if Ken also heard the voices. Marco might just be crazy but that wouldn’t necessarily mean they’re safe. Remember Lizzie and Ben? Another possibility could be that the voices were coming from humans following or even herding the zombies. The Walking Dead #133 cover shows zombies chasing a patrol on horseback with the caption “Impending doom.” The Walking Dead #134 cover shows a zombie tending to a wound apparently inflicted by Jesus, who has an uncharacteristic look of shock for a seasoned fighter. “From whispers to screams” hints the title. Either these smart zombies now feel pain or it’s a person pretending to be zombie. The question remains whether the fake zombies are blending in for protection or herding them for an attack.
This wouldn’t be the first case of talking zombies. The Return of the Living Dead introduced the zombie catchphrase “Brains…” These smart zombies even articulated that they ate brains to stop the pain of being dead. The zombies were so smart that they got the brains to come to them by using radios to request: “Send more paramedics,” and “Send more cops.”