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In Volume 12, Rick Grimes and his group run across a seemingly trustworthy man named Aaron who escorts them to a large, walled-off community of suvivors called the Alexandria Safe-Zone led by a man named Douglas Monroe. It is a welcomed change for the weary survivors, but, they soon suspect that it may be too good to be true.
A few weeks later...
Rick notices a small town, but, it is littered with zombies. He orders Carl to be quiet and to stay back. They have to change direction, and Rick says they haven't talked for a while. He asks why Carl killed Ben. Carl says that it needed to be done. He starts to cry, and says that Ben was his friend, and he didn't want to kill him, but, he had to. They both start to cry and Rick apologizes to Carl.
While the rest of the group are chatting, Rick and Carl come back, hoping that they have found something better than meatloaf. Glenn asks if they are serious, as his group found barely anything. Almost all of their food was rotten or opened. Rick says they still have food, like the rice they found last week. Carl says someone else can eat his oatmeal.
Rick asks when Eugene last checked the radio. Eugene responds with "a day or two" ago, and they have to conserve the battery. Rick reminds him that they're within the vicinity of Washington, D.C. He wants to use the radio, but, Eugene tells him not to. Rick attempts to grab the radio, but, gets into a scuffle with Eugene over it, and ends up dropping the radio and it breaks open. Rick notices that there's no battery inside, and Eugene confesses that it ran out a couple of weeks ago, and he didn't want to worry anyone. Rick asks if there ever was a battery, and when Eugene confesses that there wasn't, Abraham blows up and kicks him in stomach.
As Rosita attempts to stop him, Abraham asks if Eugene actually worked for the government. Eugene confesses that he was only a high school science teacher, simply using science basics to perform the handful of impressive feats that he has while in the group. Abraham yells that he has no clue what they have been through to keep Eugene alive, and people have died for him. Eugene starts to cry, and says he knows he's not useful or strong. He's just a science teacher who's a good liar and didn't have a lot of options, and apologizes.
Later, Abraham tells Rick he's angry, but, not at Eugene. He tells him, many people have died because of him. Rick understands how he feels, but, reminds him many people are also alive because of them. Rick asks what they should do now, and he suggests to keep heading to Washington, D.C., as they still need food. Suddenly, a stranger walks into the camp, stopping the conversation, and asks for the leader of the group. A stranger, identified as Aaron, has discovered Rick and Abraham. He wants to talk to their leader, and promises he does not have bad intentions. Rick asks if he has been watching them, and Aaron admits to this. Rick punches him in the face, knocking him out. Abraham questions this act. Rick responds that although the stranger didn't have a gun, he informed Abraham of The Governor, as an example of what can happen when encountering a colony of survivors. Rick orders Abraham to assist in tying Aaron up.
Aaron awakens, and Rick confirms that he is the leader. He asks for his name, and Rick responds, and telling him that he's asking the questions. He wants to know what Aaron's up to, and says he doesn't hold anything against him. Rick appreciates that, and asks how many people are in his community. Aaron states around thirty-four, and Rick is surprised. Aaron tells them about their Safe-Zone, and Rick asks why he's here. Aaron says he's kind of a recruiter, and their people need more to join their community. Suddenly, zombies show up, exiting the forest.
One of the zombies is about to grab Sophia, but, Carl shoots it. Andrea tells everybody to be careful, and more zombies show up from the forests. Rick orders everybody to get in the truck. Michonne recommends Morgan go too, but, he says he's able to protect himself. Aaron tells somebody to untie him, as the zombies are almost reaching him. Glenn is up for it, muttering that Aaron better not be a bad guy. They kill all the zombies. Rick notices Glenn has given a gun to Aaron. Rick asks if he really had to give that gun to him. Glenn notes it was kind of in the moment.
Aaron says they don't have to worry, and hands the gun back to Glenn. He asks what they think about the situation, and if they will leave with him. Rick asks why they have to hurry, and Aaron notes humorously that maybe he cares more about Rick's friends than he does. Rick says it's getting late, and that they should sleep in the vehicles. Michonne disagrees, and says it's not safe in those, and that Aaron is nothing like The Governor. She says that if nobody else wants to go, she's at least going with him. With that endorsement by the person who hated The Governor the most, Eugene, Carl, Sophia, Rosita, Morgan, Maggie, and the others agree to head off to the Safe-Zone with Aaron, and Carl asks if Rick is going. Rick agrees and they vote to leave the next morning.
In the morning, Rick and Andrea are talking. Rick wants to know if she has something against Aaron, but, she doesn't. Andrea talks about losing her family, how she fell in love, and adopted Ben and Billy. She states that Rick and rest are the only people she has, and she'll follow them straight to hell. Suddenly, the van stops, and they spot a man with a "crawler".
Rick gets out of the car, and aims his gun at the man. Aaron announces that he's part of his group. Rick asks why he didn't mention that before. Aaron reminds him of how they talked about trust, and introduces his partner, Eric. Andrea says she'll kill them if one more person pops out. Aaron promises there's no one else. Rick asks how they managed to spy on them, and Eric introduces his sonic detector. Rick says they all should load up their equipment to the truck, including weapons, which they'll get back when they arrive. Aaron attempts to assure Rick about Eric, and Abraham tells everyone to pile in.
Eric calls out to Aaron before leaving, and asks Aaron not to stay out overnight anymore. Aaron agrees and states that these people are great. Rick stops Abraham and says it scares him that he trusts Aaron. He asks if they should trust him, and Abraham says before Eugene, he easily recognized a liar. Rick gives Abraham an order, if their new allies try anything, to shoot them in the head - and if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Rick has made Abraham promise to shoot Aaron and Eric if they display any suspicious behavior. Abraham accepts his plan and Rick gets back into the car. Andrea wonders why he's so strict about allowing new people into their group. Rick wonders the same, and Andrea thinks that makes him a good leader.
At night, Abraham says Aaron is a good man, and that there's nothing to worry about. Rick wants to believe it, but the incident with The Governor is making him extremely prudent. In the morning, the group loads their truck with more supplies. Carl is happy about the Twinkies that they have found. Rick says that there might be more of them in the Safe-Zone. Andrea says they're getting close.
Rick asks why they suddenly stopped, and Aaron responds it's safer to go around, so people could take a peek. They look down from the bridge they're on and see the road is filled with zombies. Rick asks if the place is secured, and Aaron tells him there's nothing to worry about. A flare is fired into the sky, and Aaron says the supply runners might be in trouble.
Aaron asks if Eric saw the flare, and he did. They're about to pick the runners up, and Rick says he doesn't want to let them out of his sight. Eric stays with others, and Rick, Aaron, and Abraham are going to get the survivors with their truck. The downtown is filled with zombies, and Aaron tells them the stop has to be quick so they don't get too swarmed. Aaron recognizes two of the runners, Heath and Scott, and Scott is lying on the ground, incapacitated.
Aaron runs to them, and asks what had happened. Heath informs him that Scott missed a jump and landed very badly on his leg. Heath asks who the new people are and Aaron introduces them. Rick asks what kind of chance Scott has if his leg is infected. Heath says Rick has Alexander Davidson written all over him. Aaron tells Rick to ignore him and says they have three doctors in their community, one of which is a surgeon. Zombies begin to approach them, and Abraham tells everybody to help Scott into the van.
Aaron tells Abraham and Heath to drive motorcycles and he, Scott, and Rick will be in the van. Zombies are reaching the truck until a little squad, led by man named Tobin, shoot the zombies. Heath is happy to see them. In the van, Aaron tries to convince Rick that they're good people. Tobin tells his squad to follow the others. They manage to escape.
Carl is wondering what is taking so long for them to come back. Andrea says it's been almost two hours and not to worry right when they return. Abraham informs Andrea about Scott's leg and that the choice of joining these people has long passed, and Eric promises to Heath to let everybody know about his leg. Everyone begins to leave, and Aaron informs them it will be only an hour.
They finally arrive to the Alexandria Safe-Zone's gates, and Aaron tells Rick he has made it. Everyone, especially Carl, is excited about it. Carl asks his Dad if he sees what's in there. Rick has a satisfied grin on his face.
The survivors have been taken into a walled-in, zombie-free community. Aaron, a recruiter for the walled-off community, informs Rick that their leader, Douglas Monroe, will interview each member of Rick's group in turn. Aaron then goes to tell the populace that they've discovered new arrivals.
Rick passes on to Abraham that they're all going to be interviewed and he thinks it's strange. Abraham says everything is going to be different from now on. Rick then notices a group of children playing, but he particularly notices a child with a black eye.
Aaron attempts to cheer Rick up by telling him Carl will make new friends here. Rick agrees and is surprised to see the children so happy, since that is something he has not seen in quite some time. Aaron explains that they're trying to live the life they had before and tells him that Douglas is ready to see him. Aaron shows him Douglas' house, and Rick proceeds into it.
Douglas welcomes Rick into his home, introduces himself, and the two sit down for a chat. Douglas informs Rick of a very morbid story about a father that was on some sort of hallucinogen and proceeded to eat his own son's eyeballs. Douglas explains that the reason he told that horrific story was because he wanted to remind Rick that there was evil in the world, even before the dead started walking. Rick learns a little about the origins of the town and Douglas himself. There was some sort of power struggle and some fairly heinous activities which were stopped. Lastly, Douglas welcomes Rick and his group to the Safe-Zone.
Outside, Rick recommends Andrea to go in and see Douglas. She enters the house, and Aaron informs Rick that the members of his group are all taking showers. Suddenly, Rick realizes he can't see Carl anywhere. Aaron calms him down, and tells him Carl is playing with the other children along with Sophia. Rick calms down, and changes the topic to the showers. Andrea introduces herself to Douglas. Douglas asks what her job was before the apocalypse, and she says she was a file clerk at a lawyer's office. She mentions she is good with a gun. Douglas asks if she is single, as it supposedly helps them to plan the housing.
While Rick's shaving his grizzly facial hair, a woman named Olivia knocks on his door. She brings some clothes to him and informs him that she can cut his hair if he would like her to. While having a haircut, Rick asks how this is all possible, and Olivia tells him a man named Alexander Davidson started to build the fence. Also, the area is run by an isolated solar power grid. Rick thinks that it is amazing, but Olivia says it doesn't work like it was supposed to. Rick still thinks this is great, compared to where they just came from.
Abraham and Maggie praise Rick's haircut, Rosita is inside talking to Douglas, and Michonne tells Rick they're about to go on some kind of tour around the Safe-Zone. Rick goes to see Carl, who tells him that everything is great. Rick asks the blacked-eyed boy, named Ron, what happened to his face. He says a ball hit him in the face, and Rick says it makes him look tough. Rick leaves and tells Carl to have fun. Suddenly, an older woman runs towards Rick, apologizing. Rick asks who she is, and Aaron tells him that she is Douglas' wife, Regina.
Regina rushes into her house, where Douglas and Heath are in the middle of a conversation. She's mad about the new arrivals, and wants Douglas to tell her immediately what he knows about them. He tells her they're good people, and they have nothing to worry about and that they need them all, Rick especially. Heath says he might turn out to be another Davidson, which enrages Douglas. Douglas grabs Heath and tells him he never wants to hear that man's name ever again, after what he made them do.
Outside, a confrontation has erupted between Carl and another boy named Mikey over Carl's gun. After Carl refused to let Mikey see his gun, Mikey pushed Carl. Rick arrives just after Carl knocks down Mikey in retaliation. Rick understands Carl's actions, but tells him to restrain himself with the other kids. Carl apologizes, but Mikey rejects his apology and runs to tell his father, Nicholas.
Afterwards, Douglas checks in on Rick and compliments him on settling in so quickly. Douglas readies the group for a tour of the community, but tells them they must sequester their weapons in the armory while they live in the community.
Nicholas arrives with Mikey and is immediately hostile and confrontational towards Rick. Nicholas is further incensed when he finds out Rick is Carl's father and that Carl has a gun. However, Rick remains calm and successfully placates Nicholas with diplomacy.
Douglas shows the group the armory and clarifies that even though their weapons will be stored and locked, the weapons will still be their individual property. Michonne wants to keep her katana out of sentiment, to which Douglas initially refuses, but Olivia persuades him so that Michonne is allowed to keep it as a memento inside her house.
At the infirmary, Heath visits a bedridden Scott, who asks about the new group, to which he is slightly wary. Denise Cloyd arrives to check in on both of them. Meanwhile, Douglas ends the tour by showing the group three houses for them to share. Rick divides the group primarily according to families and couples. Rick reluctantly places Eugene Porter with Abraham, but Abraham does not object as he no longer holds a grudge against him. Abraham voices concern that the multiple houses may be a ploy to divide the group, and they agree that everyone will covertly sleep in one house during the first few days. The secrecy behind this plan is short-lived, as Douglas immediately perceives their actions while visiting Rick's house at night while inviting the group for Halloween the next day.
The next day, the community's children happily trick-or-treat throughout the neighborhood as Douglas explains that Halloween is a daytime event to reduce the scariness and admits that they're not entirely sure it's October 31. Carl initially reluctantly participates but quickly loses interests as he doesn't want to let his guard down and adjust to the relaxed state of the community. After Rick takes him home, Douglas assigns the group to occupations to which Rick mostly agrees, with the exception of Andrea, whom Rick suggests as the community's lookout.
Later that night, the group settles into a house, in which most of them are shown in blissful disbelief about their new situation. Andrea talks with Rick about her unease with the complacent air and fragile defenses of the community, to which Rick speculates that if they wanted to, the group could easily take over.
Andrea and Rick are talking about Alexandria, however, they are interrupted when Douglas asks to speak to Andrea in private. He asks her how she is doing, and tells her that if she needs anything at all he is there, he goes on to say that his marriage with Regina is purely political and that he has only stayed with because of Spencer. Andrea says she is not interested in him and walks away, leaving a sad Douglas behind. Rick walks into his house and finds Glenn and Maggie in a heated argument about Glenn being Alexandria's new supply runner in place of Scott.
Andrea tells Rick about Douglas hitting on her and they both laugh it off, however this causes Andrea to think of Dale. Rick sees this and comforts her saying it is okay to be happy and not to let Dale's death drag her down. At that moment, Glenn comes out and apologizes for the noise, Andrea says that them sleeping in one house together is stupid and that the people of Alexandria know that they are doing it. Rick agrees and they all go to sleep.
The next morning Rick is seen walking around the community, he runs into Abraham and Rosita, who asks him if he will be attending the communities party for them. Rick says that he is and that he is glad it will not be held at his place.
The survivors attend the welcoming party and they start meeting the other residents of the Safe-Zone. Glenn gets drunk and Douglas asks Rick to take care of it, he tells Maggie to get him home and he will bring Sophia home later. Michonne gets angry at a few of the women when they start asking her question, she storms out and finds Morgan at his house. They start talking about the people's easy lives and end up sitting in silence together.
Back at Rick's house, Maggie greets him and the kids, she asks if they had a good time, to which Sophia says yes and Carl says no. Maggie asks Rick if anyone suspected them and he says no, going on to say that town drunks must be common. He goes into the back room to see Glenn, who asks him to shut the door in case the kids hear. Rick asks him if he is fine and Glenn says that he made a miraculous recovery. Rick then asks if he found out where the guns are being held. Glenn replies that they are in a locked room and that he thinks he can get in without causing trouble. Rick tells him that they need those weapons in case anything happens.
- Rick Grimes
- Carl Grimes
- Morgan Jones
- Maggie Greene
- Abraham Ford
- Rosita Espinosa
- Eugene Porter
- Gabriel Stokes
- Ron Anderson
- Douglas Monroe
- Regina Monroe
- Denise Cloyd
- Peter Anderson
- Jessie Anderson
- Spencer Monroe
- Alexander Davidson (Mentioned)
- Paula (Mentioned)
- David (Mentioned)
- Alexandria Safe-Zone citizens
- Tyreese (Flashback)
- Brian Blake (Flashback)
- Eugene Cooney (Flashback)
- Mike (Flashback and Zombified)
- Terry (Flashback and Zombified)
- This is the first volume that does not contain any character deaths, alive or zombified.
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