The comma following the first was is grammatically appropriate according to Chicago. Rule 6.45: Homonym, applies for ease of reading when two spellled-alike words that have different uses if a slight pause is intended.
The Chicago example closest to the exemplar is: "Whatever is, is good."
Because it wasn't asked, and there's insufficient context to assess, I won't get into the relative/objective pronoun issue, nor the prounoun-subject agreement. Whomever was coming . . . Whatever it was . . .
I'd go with "was-comma-was" as grammatically correct...but the whole of it we see seems awkward...a noise, followed by identification of the source as "who," having identity and intelligence, rather than "what."
Perhaps rephrased as a question, and edited down a little: "The noise grew louder. Was it dangerous?"
Grammatically, you should structure the sentence either singular, singular or plural, plural. "Whoever" can be either singular or plural, but you can't change this mid-sentence. "It" cannot be "they." I'm sure extrinsic can elaborate on this more fluently than I can, but nevertheless, it's true. Therefore, what "was" must remain "was" unless you change your wording, which would be my choice. May I suggest:
"The noise grew louder. Whoever this was, he or she was dangerous."
"The noise grew louder. Whatever it was, it was dangerous."
On a side note, I find it interesting that it seems to be the second half of the sentence in the original version that determines it is "whoever" instead of "whomever".
[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited September 23, 2008).]
In this case the source of the noise has already been identified as a person. And I believe "whomever" is more correct. As for knowing the comma is necessary, thanks a million. Ultimately, though, I decided to rephrase it.
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"Whomever" is for when the pronoun represents a noun that is the object of the sentence. "Was" does not take an object when it's the only verb in the sentence. So "whoever" is correct.
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