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- "I never married--I never had kids. Didn't speak to my parents anymore. I was all alone. Only person I thought I'd have to look after was myself. I saw people losing their minds over watching their loved ones die--not me, I thought. I don't sleep well--last night, you guys didn't sleep well because a crashed helicopter doesn't make for comfortable bedding--but it didn't matter to me. I can't close my eyes without seeing those kids--crying out for their moms--for me--as their guts spilled out on the floor... Knowing I couldn't do anything but run."
- —Martinez telling the group about his past.[src]
Caesar Ramón Martínez, simply known as Martínez (Couple misprints with the name "Rodríguez") is a character first encountered in Issue 27 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead as well as a main character in the novel series. He is a fence guard in Woodbury, and one of the most trusted man of The Governor. Martinez helps Rick, Glenn, Michonne, Stevens, and Alice escape Woodbury. He served as an antagonist of Volume 5: The Best Defense and Volume 6: This Sorrowful Life.
Martínez was a man who was formerly a gym teacher, and a children football coach before the outbreak. He divorced and never had kids, and he was not on speaking terms with his parents. His school had been designated as a "safe zone" once the outbreak began, and it was soon home to many of the children and parents that lived in the town. He played basketball with the students before the "biters" overtook the school. Once the zombies overran the school, they killed most of the people inside, while the others (including Caesar) ran for safety; an action he would always regret.
Sometime after the school was overtaken, Martínez stumbled upon Woodbury, He did not like the current forced leader Gene Gavin. When Brian Blake killed Gene, Martinez was right by his side helping him retake control of Woodbury. Once Brian became the leader of Woodbury, Martínez became very loyal to him, helping out as his second-in-command and going on search parties for supplies and finding new citizens. Taking people in like Lilly Caul, Bob Stookey, and Joshua Lee Hamilton. He looked and cared for the people of Woodbury on several occasions breaking up fights and even helping fellow citizens like Lilly and Joshua fight off roamers. He did become wary of The Governor's actions even saying to Stevens that The Governor is "going to push this town off a cliff". He soon set up a plan with Lilly Caul, Stevens, Alice and, four of his most loyal men: Swede, Taggert, Stevie, and Broyles. The plot involved a kidnapping during the arena fights, where The Governor would be loaded into a truck and brought out into the woods where they could execute him. However, The Governor catches on at the last second, causing a loud noise and two of The Governor's close men to follow. The Governor's men were also captured, and escaped their bonds in the middle of the drive into the woods. Eventually both groups are led into a Mexican stand-off in the back of the van, only broken by a horde of zombies attacking their vans. After losing all of his men, both groups decide they need to work together, and need The Governor alive, much to Lilly's anger.
In the end, The Governor makes a compromise to end the bartering system, much to a humanitarian applause by Woodbury. After the announcement, The Governor makes Lilly and all of her surviving insurrectionists chop up dead bodies (probably as zombie food/bait) as punishment and an act of fair dominance, reminding them he could have killed them easily, even accepting Martinez back into his inner circle, while under her breath Lilly cursed The Governor.
He was the guard who allowed Rick, Glenn, and Michonne into the town. While on a trip to see Stevens, he saw that The Governor had sliced Rick's hand off, and realized that The Governor was a monster. He then devised a plan to help Rick and party escape, and fight their way back to The Prison which had become temporarily overrun. However, it is later revealed he did all this under The Governor's orders, to infiltrate the prison - find its location, strengths and weaknesses - then leave and report back to him.
- Rick Grimes (Alive)
While Tyreese and Axel were burning zombies, Martinez snuck out of the prison to inform the citizens of Woodbury of the location of the prison. However, during his run back to Woodbury, he was run over by Rick in Dale's RV who had seen through his facade and had been chasing him down the entirety of the way. Martinez admitted to being sent by The Governor, but, said that he planned only to bring the good citizens back to the prison, and not The Governor or his men. Rick, however, strangled him to death, saying that Martínez doesn't know what people are capable of. Martínez's murder made Rick think that he was just as brutal as The Governor.
- Lilly Caul (Zombified)
After returning from the failed prison attacks, Lilly puts zombified heads down, among them Martínez.
This list shows the victims Caesar has killed:
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people.
- "You selfish piece of shit. You've got the--room--the supplies for everybody in Woodbury--the whole damn town! Everyone."
- —Caesar to Rick.[src]
Martínez appeared to Rick and others he as though he was on their side, and assisted them in escaping Woodbury, as ordered by The Governor to show him where the Prison was located. Rick was suspicious of him throughout the journey back, but, he began to trust Martínez. Throughout their journey to the prison, Rick is the most distant from Martínez until their arrival, finding the prison overrun. After the onslaught and aftermath, the survivors introduce the new people to one another. Rick wanted to introduce Martínez to Carl only to realize he had escaped. Coming to terms with his suspicions, Rick leaves once again to pursue Martínez in the RV. He catches up to the running man and disables him with the speeding vehicle before having one final confrontation. Martínez reveals he had been more interested in leading his fellow citizens to the prison for a safer life rather than follow The Governor's initial orders, though Rick does not care to hear it anymore after everything he and his people went through. His final acknowledgement upon his death at the hands of Rick is that Rick is just as twisted as The Governor himself.
It is revealed that Martínez and Stevens were really good friends. When Stevens was killed whilst escaping Woodbury, Martinez was visibly upset.
Martínez was one of the people who helped The Governor overthrow Gene Gavin and became one of his best friends and soon proved his loyalty. However, Martínez grew concerned with his friend's behavior once he became leader and got involved in several of Stevens and Lilly's plots to undermine or remove him from power. However, The Governor forgave him and let him back into his inner circle. When Rick's group arrived, The Governor asked Martínez to help them escape so he could find the prison and report back to him its location. Whether or not Martínez had a change of heart is left uncertain, he is caught by Rick - and later killed - returning to Woodbury, but, despite The Governor's orders he claimed he was only going to gather the good people there and leave behind The Governor and his men, the truth of this is left ambiguous, but, Rick chooses not to believe him and murders Martínez. As The Governor recovered from his own mutilations, Caesar's reanimated body was recovered and the head severed to be used as a symbol for the Woodbury citizens to see that the prison survivors were the insane ones. This act is the most contributing factor in The Governor's plan to lead Woodbury's assault on the prison.
It is revealed during the novel, The Road To Woodbury, that Alice had a crush on Martínez.
Martínez helps Lilly in their plan to kidnap and kill The Governor, along with his men, Bruce and Gabe. However, their plan goes awry when a zombie horde interrupts the plan. After returning from the prison, Lilly finds Martínez zombified head in a fish tank and shoots him to put him to rest.
- Robert Kirkman has stated that Martínez was meant to be homosexual, but this plot line was not pursued further.
- Kirkman also mentioned he was planning to overwrite Martínez's story, which would've included not killing him. This was due to him being the first Hispanic character in the comics, which could've received condemnation from fans.
- He was mistakenly called "Rodríguez" on two separate occasions in Woodbury, first by Glenn and then by Stevens. This is similar to a typo encountered in Issue 93, where Jesus was willing to take the group to Kenneth, who in fact was Gregory.
- Martinez' second name was revealed in the novel The Fall of the Governor.