|A Larger World|
In this arc Rick and his group realize they're not the only survivors of the zombie apocalypse, and they encounter a new, and larger world, Hilltop Colony, along with its recruiter, Paul Monroe, and possibly more than 200 survivors. In this volume, Rick is hoping to restart a civilized and peaceful life. Also, this volume is named to The Saviors, a group of people, brutal and murderous, led by Negan, and are the main enemies of the Hilltop community, and as of Volume 17, the new enemies of Rick and the community of Alexandria.
The following events take place after a few weeks Carl Grimes has woken up from his coma and Nicholas gives up on the thought of taking over the Alexandria Safe-Zone from Rick Grimes. The story arc begins when Glenn, Maggie, Eugene Porter, Rosita Espinosa, Aaron, Eric, and Heath are looking for supplies in the city nearby, when the Safe-Zone is running out of food.
Rick and others are complaining about the food problem, and reveals it's been almost two years after the zombie apocalypse began. Carl and Sophia are spending time in the couch, and Sophia tells Carl she isn't afraid anymore. She knows her parents are dead and it makes her feel happy when she pretends Glenn and Maggie to be her parents. Andrea tells Rick, he needs her. Rick says the relationship would never work, and everyone he has loved has died. Andrea stops finally talking to Dale's hat pretending he's still alive.
Glenn's squad gets back from the journey for food. Aaron is worried about Eric's bottle of alcohol he found. Lastly Aaron still forgives the bottle.
Carl is reading a book in his bed, and Rick comes in. Rick recommends him switch the lamp off, because it's taking too much power. Rick asks does Carl's "eye" hurt. Carl says it's not an eye anymore, it's just a "hole" in his face. Rick understands his son's situation, but reminds him there's no reason to be snabby to him. Carl says Rick doesn't know anything, and Carl yells to him he doesn't know how gross is it to see himself in the mirror. Rick apologizes Carl, and agrees with him. Meanwhile, someone is watching Alexandria Safe-Zone through binoculars.
The unnamed overseer takes a flare gun out of his pocket.
Carl wakes up, and tells his father he had a nightmare. In the dream he kills a kid, which is possibly a reference of him killing Ben. Rick doesn't get any sleep and goes to Olivia's house for coffee. Coffee has unfortunately ran out and Glenn's group didn't manage to bring any with them. Abraham is going outside, and tells Rick he's taking Michonne with him only.
Abraham and Michonne leave Safe-Zone. Michonne tells Abraham she's lonely, and Abraham says she can come to his and Holly's place whenever she wants. After killing a couple zombies, the armed overseer shows himself. Michonne puts her katana in front of overseer's face, which doesn't please him. After a minor fight, overseer appears to be good self-defender, and takes Abraham as a hostile, and tells Michonne to get their leader, Rick.
Rick arrives and overseer introduces as Paul Monroe, commonly called Jesus. Paul tells he is from a community called Hilltop Colony, and lives there within 200 survivors or possibly more. Paul is surprised that Rick and his people thought they were the only living ones left in the new world. Paul explains to Rick that their community would like to trade and communicate with other communities. Paul is ready to lead the group to Gregory (incorrectly named as "Kenneth" in this conversation), leader of Hilltop. Rick offers his hand to Paul, but pulls him down from the car he was standing and kicks him in the face until he blacks out. The group takes him to Safe-Zone and ties him up.
Rick gives the other residents various instructions for protecting the zone from possible attacks. Andrea asks Rick what if the group are going to get mad about them keeping Paul tied up. Rick doesn't answer, and goes to talk to Paul. As he tries to convince his people are not dangerous, Rick says he doesn't believe him. Rick, Michonne and Abraham go to see the town themselves. Rick says if the people are bad, they're going to take everything they have and leave them for dead.
In the zone, Carl is checked by Denise. Carl asks who the man is in the backroom, but Denise only answers he is kept here for safety. Carl knows he is a prisoner, and leaves. Carl goes to see the man, and Paul tells him to come in. Paul introduces himself to Carl, and says he's going to tell anything he wants to know to Carl.
Rick gets back and notices Carl is talking with Paul. Rick tells Carl to leave. Rick informs Paul he is going to have to lead Rick and some others to Hilltop, and if he tries something he will be shot. Andrea tells to Rick he needs her, and she is not going to get herself killed.
Rick, Michonne, Andrea, Glenn and Paul start to head north. Paul is tied up in the back of their van. After getting dark, the group holes up in a gas-station. Rick tells Paul to get up, and notices that Carl is in the same van. Rick is threatening to shoot Paul if he is moves a muscle. Carl gets out of the van, and Paul convinces he didn't do anything to the boy. Carl says he didn't want to stay behind, and Glenn asks if they have to drive him back to safe-zone. Rick isn't able to say anything, but he isn't satisfied.
A bunch of zombies are reaching the group. Paul tries to escape, but in fact, he's helping the group by kicking the zombies down, so others can "brain" them. After they beat the zombies, everyone has to sleep in the van. Paul says it's only a half day trip to his home from the gas station.
Next morning Paul tells Andrea to pull over so he can "go to little boys room". Rick pulls down his pants, and Paul shows his hands, which are untied. Paul could have free himself at every time, but he was testing Rick - who passed the test. Both start to earn each other trust, and Paul welcomes everyone to Hilltop Colony.
Rick isn't ready to go inside, and he thinks they're outnumbered.
Paul however convinces Rick that if he wanted to kill him would have done in the van. Carl convinces his father that Jesus and his people are not bad, Rick finally agrees and along with Paul and the others decide to walk to the Hilltop Colony. At the entrance there are two guards called Kal and Eduardo they did not want to pass Rick and the others as these were armed until Paul tells them to answer the door until they come finally.
Paul, once in shows to others the Hilltop community, then goes to the Barrington house where Gregory tells Paul that he wants to talk to Rick. Then Wesley, a Hilltop resident, informs Gregory that Ethan, another resident, had returned to Hilltop. Gregory asks Ethan where Andy and David are but Ethan replies saying that Negan had killed them and says he has of Crystal hostage and he will release her if Ethan delivered a "message" to Gregory, Ethan whispers the "message" to Gregory. Ethan then stabs Gregory, Rick then attacks Ethan and slices his throat. Once this was done, all of the Hilltop residents stared at Rick in shock and Rick simply replies, "What".
Paul explains to Rick the whole story. Ethan was sent by The Saviors, a large group of nasty and mean people. They are led by man named Negan. As the Saviors kill every zombie nearby Hilltop, they require half of Hilltops supplies. Carl asks if they kill all the Saviors, they could get half of Hilltops supplies.
Then Rick comes across a group of people who were cremating Ethan. In that group is one of the citizens of Hilltop called Samuel who does not like anything to visit the funeral of Ethan. Samuel gets angry and hits Rick in the eye. Paul intervened to say that Ethan attacked Rick, and it was just a coward who deserved to die.The next day Glenn sees Rick with the swollen eye and asks that happened. Rick told him what happened at the funeral. After, Glenn tells Rick that Hilltop is a pretty good community where people are very united. Andrea then wakes up and asks if Glenn and Rick lost something. Rick tells her nothing in particular, and Andrea then hugs and kisses him on the cheek. Then Kal calls saying that Rick wants to talk to Gregory. Gregory tells Rick that agrees with the plan to face off against Negan.
Then the group begins to drop supplies in the van. Paul finally says goodbye to the group and tells Rick that the day they are faced with Negan would go with Kal and others more. Then Andrea and Michonne disagree with helping people in Hilltop. Michonne tells Rick that people paid tribute to murderers. Andrea tells him that they were so frightened that when Ethan attacked Gregory they did not know what to do and said these people are pathetic. As leaving the Hilltop Colony, Rick states their people can finally start living.