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After the murder of Douglas' wife, Rick and his people begin to step up as the leaders of the Alexandria community against the wishes of many residents. But, the people of Alexandria have a much bigger problem that they must deal with together when they discover they are surrounded by a massive herd of roamers.
The story begins with Rick looking out the front gate of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. He and Andrea talk about the recent assault to Alexandria and soon Aaron arrives, with Eric on a horse, yelling that he has been stabbed. Rick and Andrea help them find Denise Cloyd, who is with Heath, both scantily clad. Later, Heath explains to Andrea that he and the Doctor are in a relationship. While Eric is being fixed, Aaron tells Rick that an unknown woman stabbed Eric and stole their horse. Later, Aaron begins to explain the loss of one of the horses to Maggie, but she interrupts and forgives him. Aaron goes to speak with Douglas about his decision to put Rick in control of Alexandria. When he informs Douglas that he won't bring any more people to Alexandria, Douglas reveals that, in fact, he is afraid.
Rick sees that Eric is better and Andrea is driven by Tobin to the tower, because now it is more important than ever to keep an eye out for anything approaching the walls. Morgan apologizes to Michonne for the fact that he can't deal with his wife's death. Carl is pleased with the assault because now everyone realizes that they're still in danger. Snow begins to fall outside of the safe-zone.
Abraham rallies a group to take out the zombies outside the walls that were attracted by the gunshots from the previous shoot out. They split up into two groups to take out the zombies on both sides, but when they gather back at the front, they discover that a massive herd of the beasts have arrived. One of the zombies bites Bruce, and Abraham kills him in mercy. He and Holly dispute over this, and it ends with her forgiving him, hinting towards an affair.
Rick reunites the community and makes a speech about increasing security. He also suggests consolidating people inside fewer houses to conserve the solar grid during the winter. Michonne invites Morgan to join her night patrol, and also removes her katana from retirement.
Rick gives Carl a new gun and later that night, Jessie and Ron go to Rick's house and ask to sleep there for one night. Ron confronts Carl about Rick killing his father and Carl responds that he and his dad killed only those that they had to. Jessie admits that she admires Rick for his courage and selflessness. Rick goes on his patrol, and retires to bed afterwards. Jessie then enters his room and kisses him passionately. In the next issue, Rick answers to her kiss.
Meanwhile, Glenn has woken up, but, tells Maggie to go back to sleep. Also Michonne and Morgan are awake, and Morgan says he deserves to be happy. Michonne becomes insulting and says he's not the only one who has lost somebody. She tells him how Tyreese died, and says it is horrible that Duane died. As she goes get some water, she tells him that he has to move on.
Rick and Jessie have sex, and Rick leaves her to sleep. As he leaves, Rick assures Jessie that Ron did not hear them. He goes by his room, to the phone he's been using. He says "Lori... You're not even real", and leaves.
Outside, Rick discovers the fence is beginning to give way as zombies are attempting to get in. Tobin is holding the fence, while Rick tries to think of what to do. Glenn says he, Heath and Spencer Monroe are going to bring water and supplies to Andrea, and along the way they will also attempt to lure some zombies away from the fences.
Glenn's group successfully makes it to the building's roof, where Andrea is. The fence is now breached, and zombies have begun to enter the safe zone. Tobin tells Holly to get some people, while he holds them off. Holly runs to Rick's apartment, and tells them that the zombies have gotten inside. Rick tells Jessie and others to stay there, and tells Holly to get some other survivors. Rick runs to help Tobin, only to discover that he's been entirely eaten by zombies. Morgan comes to help Rick, who asks him where the others are. Morgan says he doesn't know, and notes that there are too many of them. Suddenly, Morgan gets bitten in the arm, and falls down.
In the next issue, Issue 82, Rick forces Morgan to get on his feet. He gets up, and Michonne arrives. Rick tells her they have to take his arm off, and Michonne cuts it off instantly. Morgan is about to black out, and Abraham arrives with a group of survivors to help them. Abraham tells them to get Morgan to safety, and Rick says they have to get him to Rick's house.
Glenn, Andrea, Heath, and Spencer notice the zombies pouring into the town, and Glenn comes to the realization out loud that they are doomed. Abraham and the rest start killing off the zombies, and realize with horror that there are not enough people and too many zombies.
Denise patches up an unconscious Morgan's shoulder where he lost his arm, and tells Michonne that she has done all she can and does not know if he will pull through. Michonne calls Morgan a fool and sits sorrowfully beside him.
Rick is about to walk Denise back to her place when Maggie runs into the house, holding Sophia and ordering everyone to hide and keep quiet. Rick looks outside and sees that the zombies have taken over the streets in town and are wandering around everywhere. Meanwhile, Abraham gives up trying and orders everyone to get back to their houses and hide.
Back in Rick's house, Carl is asked to stay with Morgan in case he reanimates. Morgan reveals that he knows he will die, and asks to speak with Carl before he does. He tells Carl that he watched him kill Ben. He reassures him that it was the right thing to do, and praises Carl. He tells Carl of how important this time is for him, growing up and becoming who he will be. He mistakenly calls him Duane, and then cries as Carl cautiously puts his hand on his gun.
Outside the town, Andrea tries to plan out how they will get inside the walls and save the townspeople. Spencer suggests that the two of them leave together and abandon everyone else. Andrea punches him and storms away, ending their brief friendship.
Rick decides that his group will make a run for it until they are outside the walls. Jessie doesn't want to leave the rest of the townspeople behind, but, Rick assures her they will think of a way to help everyone else once they are out, but, for now, they had to think of themselves and their children first.
Michonne sits beside Morgan and apologizes for being so harsh about his difficulty getting over the deaths of his family. She reveals that she cannot open up to people, and locks her emotions away. She tells him how much she cares for him, and asks her to forgive him, but, after no response from Morgan, she realizes that he is dead.
Before the group can get packed up, Maggie tells Rick that she and Sophia are staying behind, because they'll have a better chance for survival. Rick gets an idea to make the escape safer, and pulls in a zombie from outside.
Andrea decides that her group will lure the zombies away from the walls until they're thinned out. Michonne kills Morgan again to keep him from reanimating, and joins the rest downstairs to tell them. Rick starts to chop the zombie to pieces and explains that it will keep them unnoticed because of the smell. Denise refuses to rub the body on herself, so Michonne goes with her to defend her from the roamers. Rick, Jessie, Carl, and Ron, covered in the dead flesh, walk through the crowd of roamers while holding hands. Meanwhile, Douglas steps out of his house with a gun, planning to commit suicide.
On the way through the crowd, Ron panics and draws the attention of a roamer who bites him. Rick orders Jessie to leave him, but she refuses and the zombies overwhelm her as well. Rick turns away while Jessie screams and begs him not to leave her. Rick hesitates, but only after he realizes that she won't let go of Carl's hand. He chops her hand off with his axe and he and Carl run away. Michonne leaves Denise and runs to kill some of the walkers. Douglas decides to help by shooting them. Rick warns him to stop and Denise runs to safety in her house. Douglas is bitten and he begins firing the gun at random until he dies. Rick looks around and sees that Carl has been shot in the face. He collapses and a horrified Rick picks him up and runs for Denise's house.
Denise answers the door and Rick pleads for her to save him. After leaving him there, he runs back out with more energy than ever and he and Michonne continue killing off the dead.
While still in hiding, Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, Aaron, Eric, and others see Rick and Michonne trying to fight off the frenzy and they all decide to go help. With all the help, the fight turns into a battle and the zombies begin to thin out more and more until there are only a few stragglers, to the amazement of everyone. Although exhausted, the town continues to kill them off. Andrea and Glenn make it to the opening in the wall and are stunned at the peoples' success.
Rick sits down beside an unconscious Carl after it all and explains to him what he has realized, that the dead aren't much of a threat when there are so many people working as a team, who can prepare and organize like they did today. He tells Carl that he has discovered a chance for hope after all this time, and that he feels as though they are in a new world. He then pleads for Carl to wake up and experience this new world with him.
- Morgan Jones is the fourteenth main character to die.
- Jessie Anderson is the fifteenth main character to die.
- Douglas Monroe is the sixteenth main character to die.
- This volume holds the second most main character deaths and is tied with Volume 24: Life And Death, with a total of 3: Morgan Jones, Jessie Anderson, and Douglas Monroe.