|This article is about the Comic Series volume. You may be looking for the Assault episode.|
While Rick Grimes and his group continue on their way to Washington, D.C., they start to suspect they are being stalked by someone in the woods. Suddenly, Dale is kidnapped in the night and Rick, Abraham, Michonne, and Andrea set out to find this new threat and stop them. But, these survivors may finally see their humanity torn to the last shred with the actions they take to protect their own.
The story begins with the survivors finding a van with mattresses in the back. The van still works, and Andrea is extremely excited and calls dibs on sleeping in the van that night. While on watch, Rick receives a "call" from his wife, who tells him that they should speak about Carl, but, he puts the phone down immediately.
The following morning, the twins are nowhere to be seen. Andrea heads into the forest to find them, and stumbles upon the body of Billy, who has been killed by Ben. However, Ben says they shouldn't worry because he didn't destroy the brain and that Billy will come back. Andrea is completely shocked and doesn't say anything. She embraces Ben after he hugs her. The group attempts to decide what they should do with Ben. Abraham suggests that they need to kill Ben as they can't help him or keep him locked up. Andrea storms off angrily, and Dale says that they should be ashamed of themselves. Rick agrees with Abraham, not seeing another option, but, no one is willing to kill him. All of a sudden, a priest, Gabriel Stokes, approaches the group while they are discussing what to do with Ben. The group immediately believes that Gabriel is working for someone who wants to harm them, but, Gabriel continues to say that he has been alone in his church since the beginning of the outbreak. He offers the group temporary sanctuary inside if they can offer him food.
In the night, Carl sneaks out of the tent, opens the van, and fatally shoots Ben. He sneaks back to the tent without anyone noticing, except for Morgan, who keeps it to himself. The group buries Ben and Billy the next morning. The group loads up and departs for the church, unaware that there are people watching them from the woods who decide to follow them. Carl gets into trouble after calling Dale a cry baby for mourning them even though they were never really his kids. He runs off before he is suddenly attacked by zombies emerging from the woods. After all the zombies are killed, they hear Dale screaming for help. He tells the group that a zombie only managed to rip his shirt. Carl tells Rick later that Dale is weak and they would be better off without him in the group. When Andrea goes into the woods to pee, she suddenly sees figures watching her and screams for help, though the group dismisses it as an animal. While everyone else is sleeping, Dale wanders off into the woods to die as he was actually bitten, but, didn't tell anybody. In the woods, Dale is knocked unconscious by someone and carried away by two men. In the morning, Andrea goes into a panic and the group begins to search the woods. A zombie surprises Abraham, but, falls to the ground and isn't able to stand up. Eugene notes that the zombie is interesting because of his lack of strength. They decide to spend the night after arriving at Gabriel's church. Andrea goes outside for some air, and once again has a premonition that somebody is watching her. Rick interrogates Gabriel, claiming that his story is completely false. Gabriel confesses how he survived by locking his friends and congregation outside of the church to avoid dying of starvation, and believes that God sent the group to him so that he could be punished. In a neighborhood, Dale wakes up to find his leg being eaten by the group that captured him.
The leader, Chris, explains that they are surviving by killing other survivors and eating them. Dale begins laughing hysterically, and reveals to them that he was bitten. The hunters force themselves to throw up after exclaiming that the meat is tainted. Andrea confesses to Rick how much she regrets not telling Dale how she truly felt about him. The next morning, outside the church, the survivors find Dale, thrown onto the ground, unconscious. They go out to get him, but, when going back, Glenn is shot through his leg by a hunter. They manage to get inside and treat Dale and Glenn. When Dale wakes up, he describes where he was held to the group. They later begin searching close residential areas (guided by Gabriel), and eventually stumble upon The Hunters. Originally, only Rick confronts them, unarmed. They begin talking, and one of them begins explaining why they are doing what they're doing. They believe it is the only way they will survive, as they are terrible hunters. They then confess that they also ate the children that were with them. When they decide to kill Rick, Ricks mimics a pistol with his hand, and Andrea shoots from a bush, injuring one of the hunter's ears, and shoots Chris's finger off. They then spend the night killing and torturing the hunters as Gabriel looks on in horror. The survivors return to the church the next morning, feeling extreme remorse for what they did. A dying Dale thanks Rick for keeping the group alive this long, and for giving him the time he had with Andrea and the twins. That night, Dale dies in his sleep and is shot by a remorseful Andrea.
After they bury Dale's body in the church graveyard, Rick begins talking with whom he believes to be Abraham about the horrible things they did to the Hunters. It turns out, however, to be Carl, who then tearfully confesses to shooting Ben.
- This volume has the forth most named deaths in the series with 9 named character deaths, followed by Volume 20: All Out War - Part One with 10 named character deaths, Volume 24: Life And Death with 13, and Volume 8: Made To Suffer with 27 named character deaths.
- Chris is the twelfth main character to die.
- Dale is the thirteenth main character to die.
- "Fear The Hunters" is the first title referring to a person (or people) who are directly named in the title. For example, "Miles Behind Us" or "Here We Remain" would be indirect, where as "[Fear] The Hunters" would be direct.
- The only other title to do this is "The Whisperer War", which directly names the group The Whisperers.
- This is the first story arc in the series whose title appears in the issues.