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The Walking Dead Season 9B Key Art Reveals First Look At The Whisperers' Alpha

Contains spoilers for The Walking Dead season 9, episode 8

Step aside, Walkers — the Whisperers rule and ravage the world now. 

AMC has revealed three pieces key art from season 9B of The Walking Dead. The photos offer the first look at Samantha Morton as Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers, a pack of apocalypse survivors who cloak themselves in zombie skin to blend in with the infected and lurk around mostly undetected. (Fun, extremely normal, not at all weird stuff!) 

Though we've caught snippets of Alpha before (she can be spotted in the teaser for The Walking Dead season 9B), this newly released key art marks the first instance in which we've seen her Walker-skin face mask up close.

Within the Walking Dead comics, the territorial Whisperers view people as animals and outsiders unlike them as major threats, attacking survivors when they're at their weakest and most unprepared by mingling with hordes of Walkers. When the series returns to AMC on Sunday, February 9 for its midseason premiere, viewers will meet Alpha and watch as she and the members of the primitivist society she controls rise to power and become the new antagonistic force bent on bringing down the humans. After murdering Jesus (Tom Payne) in the brutal, bloody midseason finale, the Whisperers will only get stronger and more sinister in the coming episodes as the clusters of survivors grow more vulnerable. 

As AMC explained in the fresh synopsis for the new installment, "The second half of The Walking Dead season 9 finds our groups of survivors, both old and new, continuing to deal with the impact of events that took place during the six years that have passed. Since the disappearance of Rick, many of these characters have become strangers to each other, and in some ways, strangers to themselves. What they do know is that they are in undeniable danger. They will soon realize the world just beyond does not operate as they thought. The group's rules and ways of survival no longer guarantee their safety. A whole new threat has crossed their paths, and they soon discover it's unlike any threat they have encountered or endured before. The group will start to question what they think they see. What may appear to be normal in this post-apocalyptic world could actually be more disturbing and terrifying than when the apocalypse first broke out. All that is certain is the stakes are high and numerous."

If fans weren't already worried about the fate of their favorite characters, the presence of the Whisperers will push them over the edge — which might be just what they need to get re-invested in the series. Plenty of people have already stopped watching the show, and now that Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is no longer a part of the story and with the narrative having jumped ahead six whole years, The Walking Dead's viewership and ratings are at an all-time low. Introducing new forces of evil, raising the stakes, and placing heroes in life-or-death situations may get the series on the right track and rope those who jumped ship back in again. 

To find out what the heck will happen between the humans and the Whisperers and potentially reignite your love for the series, run — don't walk — to your television screen on Sunday, February 10 when The Walking Dead premieres the first episode of season 9B on AMC.