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The Walking Dead: Book Nine is the ninth hardcover collection book of Image Comics' The Walking Dead that includes issues 97-108, otherwise Volume 17: Something To Fear and Volume 18: What Comes After.
Abraham goes to see Eugene, who begins planning to create more bullets for everyone. Abraham asks how Rosita is doing. Eugene tells him that she's fine and she doesn't want to see him, implying that they are in a relationship. After Abraham leaves, Rosita tells Eugene that she and him are not together. Eugene admits he was just trying to mess with Abraham.
Meanwhile, Heath is keeping watch for any zombies at the gate. Abraham hopes Rick and others will be back soon. On the way to Alexandria Safe-Zone, Rick and his squad hear a motorcycle from behind their van; a squad of Saviors are following them. An unnamed member tells them to stop their vehicle. After noticing that they aren't from Hilltop, the man claims that they "must give a different tribute" to Negan and demands that they give up all their supplies as opposed to just half. Rick assumes the one talking is Negan; the Savior claims everyone in their group are "Negan". Rick doesn't grant his command and has Michonne and Andrea kill three members of his group, still leaving the one speaking alive. Rick tells him to report back to Negan and tells him to stop harassing the Hilltop Colony. As the savior leaves, Carl says he remembers his father murdered one of the Marauders with a knife before Rick tells him to get back in the van.
Rick holds a meeting and tells everyone what happened outside. Rick says they have to put some people in danger in order to defeat the Saviors, but not to make an army. He asks that if anyone objects to the plan, they are free to speak their mind; no one objects to the plan. Later, in Rick's house, Andrea talks to him about starting a relationship and says that she is happy Rick stopped being a coward.
The next morning, Abraham and Eugene leave the Safe-Zone without telling anyone, in order to find some ammunition. They are watched by three unnamed men, assumed to be Saviors.
Abraham tells Eugene that he's noticed that the latter has lost some weight, possibly to attract Rosita. Eugene says she sees it, but doesn't believe that he has a chance with her. Abraham says he just needs to be less unusual than other guys to get her to like him. He also says that although he still has some feelings for Rosita, he just wants her to be happy whether he is with her or not. Then, Dwight, one of the Saviors, shoots an arrow into Abraham's head, killing him. Eugene grabs Abraham's gun, but is taken as a hostage by Dwight and three other Saviors. Dwight says that if Rick and the others had not killed their friends along the way back from the Hilltop, they wouldn't have killed Abraham. One of the Saviors tells Dwight that Eugene is not in a situation of power; they still decide to use him as a bargaining chip and has him lead them back to Alexandria.
Meanwhile Carl goes to Rick's room and finds him along with Andrea, indicating that Rick and Andrea had sex. Carl then says Rick does not have to say anything about sex, Rick replies and says that it would be uncomfortable for both him and Carl. Then the two hear Abraham's machine gun and Rick goes to see why and who was shooting and tells Carl to stay at home. Dwight appears outside the Alexandria gates and demands Rick let him in with a large group of saviors. Rick asks Dwight, what the response was to his message he gave to the Savior on the road. Dwight says that Negan did not take kindly to the message and once again demands Rick open the gate or they will kill Eugene. Eugene then bites Dwight in the crotch, injuring him. One of the other Saviors try to get at Eugene but Rick shoots him and tells Dwight to leave or they will all die. Refusing, Dwight tells the others to attack; one Savior tries to kill Rick's group using the machine gun they took from Abraham but gets shot in the head by Andrea. She then instructs the others to make a line against the wall so they can pick off the Saviors. Dwight then instructs the remaining Saviors to flee to reduce further casualties.
Rick tells Andrea to accompany him to kill Dwight and the Saviors who survived. While Rick and Andrea are pursuing the saviors, they are surprised to see the corpse of Abraham. Rick says that there's "no fucking way they're going to escape." While still pursuing the Saviors, Rick and Andrea get cut off by a group of zombies, Andrea is going to kill them when Rick tells her to save the ammunition. The two then turn back, taking the body of Abraham so it can be buried back at the community. Andrea enlists the help of someone to take the body of Abraham; Glenn and Heath arrive to help her. Holly becomes distraught when she sees Abraham's corpse. Glenn asks Andrea if Abraham needs to be shot in the head so he won't come back as a walker, but she tells him that the arrow impaled him through the brain and that he will not reanimate. Andrea then asks Rick what they should do, and Rick says, "I don't know."
Sometime later, Glenn, Heath and Nicholas are seen fighting zombies behind their car barrier just outside of the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
Andrea walks into Rick's home and they discuss the situation with The Saviors. Carl walks in on Rick and Andrea hugging, without them knowing, and backs out of the room and smiles.
Glenn is telling Maggie about how he wants to leave the Alexandria Safe-Zone and move to the Hilltop Colony. Sophia exits the kitchen so Glenn and Maggie can discuss the topic alone. Glenn explains that it is much safer for the baby that Maggie is having. Maggie shouts at Glenn but then hugs him. While hugging she explains that she just doesn't know what to do.
The citizens of the Alexandria Safe-Zone mourn for Abraham Ford in the church with a service by Gabriel. Many of the group members are crying. When Rosita tries to talk to Holly, she snaps at Rosita while crying over Abraham's covered body.
Rick, as well many other survivors, are about to leave the Alexandria Safe-Zone and travel to the Hilltop Colony. Rick tells Andrea to stay so that she can watch the Safe-Zone to keep it safe.
After Rick tells Andrea that she has to stay behind and protect the survivors, a band containing Rick, Carl, Michonne, Heath, Glenn, Maggie, and Sophia leave the Safe-Zone and head for the Hilltop Colony. All the while, three saviors are watching from a nearby building and say that they will attack at dawn.
The same three Saviors are complaining about the plan to attack at dawn, wondering why they can't attack now. One of them says that he is going to get a man named Paul, whose group is the farthest away.
The Alexandria Safe-Zone citizens are seen praying for their lives. Spencer reveals to Andrea that he's happy for her and Rick. Eugene is seen mourning over Abraham's grave, while Gabriel is in the church, praying. Aaron and Eric are preparing for the Saviors, making an inventory over the Safe Zone's guns.
On the road, Michonne worries that the group will not make it to the Hilltop Colony in time. Glenn is still optimistic about it. They stop the van for the night.
Michonne and Rick are talking nearby the van. Rick thanks Michonne for everything, and says they'll have to be on the road by dawn. Rick then says goodbye to Glenn, and states that he is happy for him. Rick then begins his shift on keeping guard. A group of Saviors sneak up on the group and subdue Rick by surprise. They line up all the survivors from the van (Rick, Carl, Glenn, Maggie, Sophia, Michonne and Heath), kneeling them down. Then, Negan appears and tells how he wants revenge for the saviors that the survivors killed. Without an agreement from Rick, Negan makes a deal; Everything that belongs to the Alexandria Safe-Zone, now belongs to The Saviors. He introduces his weapon of choice; Lucille, a baseball bat covered in barbed wire. After a long talk about who he should kill using Lucille, he finally picks his victim at random: Glenn. Maggie panics, as Glenn tries to talk Negan out of it. Negan ignores him and begins to crush Glenn's skull with Lucille. Everyone cries, glaring at Negan. After Negan finishes killing Glenn, Rick states, "I'll kill you. Not today, not tomorrow, but I will kill you." Negan tells them the Saviors will be back in one week to collect half of everything in Alexandria, then turns around and leaves with his men, leaving the survivors with Glenn's body.
Maggie begins hitting Rick, calling him a coward, but stops as Carl points a gun at her and tells her to stop hurting his father. Sophia bites and tackles Carl.
The group continues to the Hilltop, where they tell Paul Monroe and Gregory about what happened. Glenn is buried there, and Maggie and Sophia stay behind as the group and Jesus return to the Alexandria Safe-Zone. They return to find several crashed vehicles and dead bodies outside of the Safe-Zone. Nicholas tells Rick that the Saviors attacked that morning, but none of the Alexandria residents were killed. They killed about a dozen Saviors, and the remaining Saviors retreated without entering the Safe-Zone. Andrea says that it's not even the best part, taking Rick to a house. Inside, she reveals a tied-up Dwight and asks if he could be useful.
Dwight yells to them that they will all be killed when Negan shows up. Andrea punches him in the face and tells him to shut up. Rick stops her and she tells him that he killed Abraham, attempted to kill Eugene and was going to kill them all. She threatens to ruin his other eye if he keeps running his mouth. She wants to talk, to which Rick replies, "Not here."
Andrea and Rick are back at the house when she asks him what the hell that was. He tells her they killed Glenn and she tells him all the more reason to kill the Saviors. He tells Andrea about how they were attacked on the road at about the same time the Alexandria Safe-Zone was attacked. Rick is afraid because of how low on ammo they really are and tells her he is open to suggestions. He doesn't want to piss off Dwight more then they already have.
Paul and Heath are talking about how the Hilltop is a much better community than Alexandria. Jesus apologizes about Glenn and tells him he will try to help them go after Negan.
Rick tells Carl that Jesus is staying in a vacant house. Carl asks if Andrea has Dwight in the infirmary and tells Rick to kill Negan to show him they're "NOT to be fucked with." Rick replies that he doesn't know and that they are all mad about Glenn. Carl tells Rick they have to do something. That night, Rick and Andrea are talking about Glenn. He tells her that Glenn and Maggie were a symbol of hope to Rick. Rick is blaming himself for the death of Glenn. She yells at him that he can't blame himself and it is not his fault. She says that maybe he would have picked her instead if she had been there. The walls held because of the defenses, not because of Andrea. It is not his fault when someone dies, it is his fault when the rest of them live. He then says that they aren't prepared and that he can't protect anyone from this. He won't let anybody else die because they've come too far and he doesn't think he can fight Negan.
After Rick's plan is set in motion, Paul is seen following Dwight. Paul kills a zombie and it tumbles off a bridge. In the process, Dwight nearly spots Paul. However, Dwight carries on his walking, while unknowingly being followed by Paul.
Andrea is about to move out of Rick's house because she isn't satisfied with his decision of letting Dwight go free. Rick stops her at the last minute and tells her about his plan, about how he is letting The Saviors think that they are scared so they can strike back. Andrea wonders why Rick didn't tell her earlier, and he says he didn't want anyone to know.
Negan is seen outside the gates of the Alexandria Safe-Zone with the other Saviors. Negan and his men are clearing the gates of roamers, when Negan notices Rick, hesitating to open the gate for The Saviors. He eventually allows them inside.
Negan enters the Alexandria Safe-Zone, mocks Glenn's death, and orders Rick to hold onto his bat, "Lucille". Negan is surprised to find that the Alexandria Safe-Zone has plenty of houses and notices that many of them are vacant. Negan makes a comment to Rick, mocking the fact that the ration's tracker is "a fat lady". Negan says that he doesn't want to take food, for now, because the Safe-Zone is low and if he took their food, they wouldn't be able to survive. However, he informs Rick that he and his men will take some other supplies. He then orders Rick to show him around the Safe-Zone, while his men go and gather the supplies.
While Negan is leaving the armory, Carl shows up and says, "You should all go home, before you learn just how dangerous we all are."
Rick tells Carl to go home, but Negan tells him not to be so rude and not to interrupt their conversation. Negan asks Carl if this was a threat and Carl stays silent. Negan tells him to do what his father told him to do and go home. While the Saviors are taking the supplies to their trucks, Heath urgently runs out towards Rick, informing him that Denise needs help.
At the infirmary, Denise is aiming a gun at one of the Saviors who is taking medical supplies. Negan tells Denise not to misunderstand his associate, but she replies that all the the morphine, Oxycontin, and anything that can be abused are taken by the Saviors; all they are left with is aspirin, penicillin, and cold medicine. Negan says that his man only took half of the supplies from the medicine stockpile, as was promised. Rick tells Denise to put the gun down and let the Saviors take the medicine. Denise tells Rick that they need that medicine in case something serious happens to any of them, like what happened to Carl. Rick attempts negotiating with Negan into leaving the medicine, but Negan objects, saying, "Your big walls are all the medicine you need."
As Negan is leaving, he remembers that he left Lucille, his baseball bat, with Rick. He comes back, asking if Rick wanted to keep the bat with him. Negan retrieves the bat from Rick and states, "In case you haven't caught on, I just slid my dick down your throat and you thanked me for it."
Negan and The Saviors depart the Alexandria Safe-Zone with the seized medication. Afterwards, Rick informs Denise that Negan is in command from now on. Rick states that anybody can leave the Safe-Zone if they are not satisfied with the new world order. He says the community should gather up their resources into one place for Negan's next visit.
Rick then goes home to talk to Carl, who does not respond. As Negan and The Saviors are driving back to their base, Carl is hiding under the mattresses that the Saviors took. Carl is under the mattresses with Abraham's rifle.
Meanwhile, Dwight is checking his supplies in a Saviors' outpost when another Savior startles him. The Savior informs Dwight that he has been followed since he left the Alexandria Safe-Zone, and gives orders through a walkie-talkie for another group of Saviors to capture the follower, Paul Monroe. The other group of Saviors then arrive with Paul captured. Dwight arrives with the other Saviors, ordering Paul to be tied up, stating that, "He is more use to us alive. Negan's going to have a lot of questions for you." This suggests that Dwight knows about Paul being sent by Rick and that the Zone is not actually abiding by the Saviors' demands.
The Saviors take Paul to their base, a factory surrounded by a wall of mutilated and chained zombies. As Dwight goes to get Paul, he discovers that Paul had managed to escape. "Not one word to Negan about any of this", Dwight urges to another Savior, who agrees.
Negan and the rest of The Saviors arrive later with the supplies from the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Negan is surprised to see Dwight alive. "There is always a next time, I suppose," he says, much to the disgust of Dwight. Negan orders the Saviors to unload the supplies from the truck. "I'm going to fuck some of my girls tonight, get it?" asks Negan. Just as they are retrieving the supplies from the truck, Carl is spotted by a Savior. Carl shoots and kills two of them. The other Saviors around Carl surrender immediately as he demands to speak with Negan.
Negan arrives, stating that Carl scares him. Carl fires the rifle again, killing several of the Saviors in the process, until he runs out of ammo. Dwight kicks Carl in the stomach and screams, "You little fuck, --KILL YOU!", but Negan orders Dwight to stop attacking a defenseless child. "Is that any way to treat our new guest?" Negan asks.
Negan helps Carl to his feet. Negan tells Carl he will show him around while he orders the rest of the Saviors to burn the bodies of the dead. Negan nonchalantly tries to start a conversation. Carl blows it off and asks what he is going to do to him. Negan asks that Carl not shatter his image as a badass. He refuses to disclose what will happen because he doesn't want to ruin the surprise. Negan knocks on the door of the building and they enter.
They are greeted by a man who asks Negan if everything is okay as he heard a commotion outside. Negan tells the man he has dealt with it. Savior asks what medicine the Saviors got on the run to Alexandria as someone named Molly has a bad cough. Negan explains they have all kinds of good stuff and the guy can take his pick as he has enough "points", the apparent currency here.
A Savior named Carson appears to greet Negan home and explains there has been a situation with a girl called Amber while he has been away. Negan tells Carson to find a guy named Mark and to keep tabs on him, and he will speak with Amber himself.
There is the building is a foundry of some sort. All the Saviors see Negan approaching with Carl and get on their knees. Negan tells them to carry on their business and then mentions to Carl about them showing him respect.
Negan and Carl enter a room that can only be described as resembling a brothel. There are at least five women in expensive looking lingerie doing various activities. While Negan talks to Amber, another girl, Sherry, interrupts saying Amber knows that she has messed up and for Negan to go easy on her.
Negan tells the girl to calm the down. He points out he has never hit any of them before even if Amber has cheated on him. Negan can tell Carl is impressed with what he sees and can look at all the women as much as he wants, as Alexandria is full of women who dress like "elderly lesbians".
Negan tells Amber that she doesn't have to be scared as her position in Negan's harem is voluntary. If she wants to go back, she CAN go back to Mark and be with him but forfeit all her privileges that come with being Negan's wife. However, the one thing she cannot do is cheat on Negan. He tells her that she has had plenty of time to think about going back to Mark and earning "points" or staying with him. She blurts out that she is staying, and "I love you, Negan". Negan tells Amber that in order for her to stay, she knows what has to happen. He then orders Sherry to find Carson and tell him to prepare the "iron".
Carl and Negan enter his personal quarters, which is very well furnished, and Negan tells him to close the door. Carl asks him if they are all his wives. He answers that he always wanted to have sexual relations with a whole bunch of women and there was no reason to follow any rules anymore. Negan asks Carl if he know what fucking is. Carl says "yeah, kind of-sex stuff". Negan replies that he isn't going there and that it is time to get started.
Negan and Carl take a seat opposite each other, he explains he would like to get to know Carl a bit better. He wants to know how smart the boy is, as any other child Carl's age would have tried to make a break for it by now, where as Carl had stood right at Negan's side the whole time. Carl has killed five or six of his men and thus his actions could not go unpunished.
Negan says he cannot carry on talking to Carl like this while he has the bandage around his face, so he tells Carl to remove the bandage and the hat. Carl declines. Negan threatens him and Carl does what he asks. Carl's un-bandaged face reveals a gruesome eye injury. Negan is delighted. He asks Carl if he's ever looked into a mirror, then comments on how he can see his eye socket and skull. He asks to touch it. Carl doesn't answer and then starts to cry.
Negan apologizes, saying that it's easy to forget that Carl is just a kid and he didn't mean to hurt his feelings but he is interrupted by a Savior knocking at the door. He apologizes and tells Negan that he has brought Lucille as he left it in the truck during the earlier ruckus. Negan tells Carl that all joking aside, he shouldn't cover it up. He may not be a hit with the ladies but no one will mess with him either since he looks so bad ass. Negan takes the bat off the Savior and asks him if the Savior treated Lucille like a lady and "ate her pussy like a lady". The Savior looks confused and scared until Negan exclaims he was just messing with him because baseball bats don't have pussies.
Negan turns back to Carl and tells him that as punishment for Carl gunning down his men he wants something in return for being more than pleasant - he tells Carl to sing him a song. Carl says he doesn't know and Negan calls bullshit on him. Carl starts to sing "You Are My Sunshine" while Negan flexes and swings the bat dangerously close by in the background, telling Carl not to let him distract him from his singing. He finishes and starts to cry. Negan says that was pretty good and that there is nothing more Lucille likes than being sung to, and bashing in heads.
Negan asks if Carl's mother sang that and asked about her current whereabouts. Carl doesn't reply and Negan correctly guesses that she was dead. There is a knock at the door and Carson informs Negan that the iron is ready. Negan tells him to gather everyone and that he will join them shortly.
Down on the foundry floor all the Saviors have gathered. Negan asks Carl to hold Lucille, and he then tells everybody present that what they are about to witness isn't going to be pleasant and didn't even have to happen but he cannot ignore the rules. "Why?" asks Negan. All the Saviors reply in unison "The Rules Keep Us Alive!".
Negan puts a thick glove on while another Savior gets to work on the fire and molten metal in the background. Negan explains that what makes them civilization-what makes them the Saviors-is rules. No matter how small or insignificant they must be followed. When Negan chooses a new wife the process is voluntary, it is an honor to be with him. But it comes at a price-total devotion. But others seem to find this hard to swallow, but it must be swallowed.
Negan grabs a heated Victorian era looking iron. He tells Mark that it is the iron for him and that he is sorry but it is what it is. Negan suddenly lunges at Mark, who is tied to a chair, and holds the red hot iron to the side of his face while he screams in agony. Negan pulls it away and the flesh sticks to it like melted cheese while Mark passes out. Negan says the matter is settled and all is forgiven - Mark will forever bear the shame of his actions on his face and all will know what he has done. I hope we have all learned something today.
During this speech, Dwight and Sherry look longingly at each other and it is evident this has happened before and possibly involving them. Carl gives Negan Lucille back and they head upstairs. Negan says to Carl that was pretty crazy and that he probably thinks Negan is a lunatic. Negan then leads Carl away, contemplating on what to do with him.
After Negan burnt Mark's face, he is escorted away by Carson and another Savior. Amber is going to go after Mark, but is stopped by Dwight. Sherry helps Amber to get away and is about to ask something from Dwight. Dwight angrily tells her to be quiet.
Carl asks if he can wrap up his head, which Negan denies. Carl angrily curses him as to why, and Negan smiles. He asks Carl if he thought he'd be off the hook just by singing a song to Lucille, and then asks Carl if he has any ideas on what Negan should do. Carl suggests that Negan should jump from a window to save him the trouble of killing Negan. Negan laughs and says he is having a hard time to figure out a suitable punishment for Carl, but he'll eventually think of something.
Meanwhile, Jesus is fighting some zombies and manages to hot-wire a car back to the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Near Alexandria, Rick, Michonne, Andrea and Nicholas are fighting a huge group of zombies in the search for Carl. Rick doesn't want to give up but in the end is convinced to try again tomorrow.
Spencer looks through the gates of the community, and asks a survivor named Erin what they are doing out there. She says that even though she has only ever said things to Rick, he seems to have their best interests in mind and Rick shouldn't be expected to do nothing while his son is missing.
Spencer seems to think Carl's disappearance is a distraction to the community at a time when they don't need it. Erin replies Spencer seems more critical of Rick since he stole his girlfriend. Spencer says she never was. Erin leaves, telling Spencer he is a good man and not to let all this drive him crazy.
Aaron and Eric have an argument over whether to leave the Safe Zone or not. Eric doesn't think it's as safe anymore since the arrival of Negan and The Saviors and that they should maybe be prepared to go at a moment's notice if necessary. Aaron however, wants to stay; he knows the safe-zone is special and they can get through this.
Rick and the others arrive home late and go to bed for a well deserved sleep. Rick is awoken in the dark by Jesus at the foot of his bed. He and Rick go for a talk where Jesus explains he knows where Negan and his men are hiding; Rick then tells him about Carl's disappearance. Jesus explains as he was escaping he heard gunfire from an assault rifle and Rick tells him Abraham's machine gun is missing. Jesus offers to take him there in the morning but Rick wants to go now.
Rick, Andrea, Michonne and Jesus leave in the van for Negan's stronghold. Jesus explains that they have a "killing zone" of zombies as a defensive measure that are either chained up or impaled into the ground. He says getting in could be a problem but Rick says he knows a way.
Rick eventually decides he will just knock, much to the shock of the others. Rick explains that Negan wants them submissive and working for him, not going to war. It will be enough of a 'fuck you' to Negan to show him that Rick knows where he lives and it might catch him off balance enough to give up Carl.
On their way to the Saviors compound they run across Negan and his men in a truck, who explains they were heading to Alexandria and it was mighty convenient to meet Rick and crew. Rick replies that they were headed to see him actually. Negan mentions that its strange that they were heading in the right direction but Rick cuts him off, asking where Carl is.
Negan says that's the reason he was heading over, if he can believe it and that he can't wait for Rick to see what he's done to his little boy.
Out of rage, Rick punches and kicks Negan, demanding to know what he has done to Carl, but after a few seconds of beating, Negan furiously retaliates, grappling Rick. He taunts him saying that he'll be sorry, and reveals that nothing has been done to Carl, and that Negan was just lying to Rick to see him breaking.
Rick then learns that Negan can be reasonable, and they leave. Elsewhere, Eugene finds a location for his ammo-crafting plan.
Later on, Rick tells the community that Negan can be reasonable and that the future is bright, and say that they must work hard for the next Savior pick-up of supplies.
That night, Carl reveals valuable information about the Savior's base, prompting Jesus to tell Rick that it is time for him to meet Ezekiel.
Rick and Jesus are traveling to The Kingdom. Elsewhere, Michonne and Carl are fighting zombies. A zombie almost kills Carl, later, he says he's worthless due his missing eye.
Arriving at The Kingdom, Rick meets Ezekiel, who is planning to attack Negan with the help of one of Negan's men; Dwight.
- Negan is the second villain to appear on the Book covers, the first being The Governor on Book Three.