With the war at its peak, Negan attacks Alexandria, destroying its defenses. On the brink of defeat, Rick offers Negan a truce. Tricking Negan, Rick slashes Negan's throat and calls for the war between Alexandria, Hilltop, The Kingdom and The Saviors to stop. Negan survives the attack, and is sentenced to life imprisonment by Rick.
Eugene and his team are inside the ammunition factory, startled by the explosions coming from the safe-zone. An Alexandrian named John decides to go outside to urinate, despite Eugene's protests. As he heads out he is swarmed by dozens of roamers, ending up being devoured, prompting Eugene and his team to flee, just to find Negan and The Saviors outside the building, questioning what are they doing out there.
Back at the safe-zone Rick wakes up inside Denise's house, having suffered a mild concussion, and was treated by Harlan Carson, the Hilltop's doctor brought by Maggie, he immediately asks for Denise, being told she's in the final stages of the fever caused from the bite. He then reunites with Carl, and finally sees with his own eyes the aftermath of the attack.
Half of the houses were destroyed or burnt down, but, the gates and walls are still intact. Nicholas approaches Rick telling he'll leave with Maggie back to Hilltop with his wife and son, as he considers the safe-zone unsafe now. Instead of interjecting, Rick complies and announces that he won't force anyone to stay, as he'll leave himself.
Meanwhile, Heath sits next to an unconscious Denise saying how much they've been fighting, questioning what is the point, and that he wished they'd spent more time together. He then realizes Denise has passed away, and back away just as Michonne enters the room, he says he can't put her down, and Michonne offers herself to be the one to do it.
A burial is held for the deceased. Later, Rick and Andrea are seen packing up their things, Rick stares at the phone he took from a house in the aftermath of the prison, the very phone he used to have pretend-talks with his deceased wife Lori. Andrea then asks if there's something else he wants to bring, to which he replies "no" and leaves the phone behind. Shortly, all survivors leave Alexandria.
At The Sanctuary, Negan has Eugene hostage and orders him to start producing ammunition for The Saviors, after being denied Negan threatens to sever Eugene's genital off, or "ironing" his face and killing several more Alexandrians until Eugene complies. He then finishes up saying he doesn't want to do any of that, but, ends up adding that he "[I] do stuff I don't like all the fucking time." He then leaves Eugene locked in a room alone to rethink the offer.
While Negan and Carson head on out, Dwight tells Eugene that he's allied with Rick, but, Eugene doesn't believe him. Carson had told Dwight that he heard everything he had to say and tells him he's willing to join their resistance movement, and is able to gather other people on it too.
Survivors settle in to Hilltop, and start to guard it. Ezekiel and Maggie make their way up there, too. While Jesus is reading a book, a resident named Alex turns out to be Jesus boyfriend and comes in to snuggle with him. Later, while Rick greets Earl Sutton and asks him if he can build something for his hand, Ezekiel's people from Kingdom arrive to Hilltop.
Negan introduces to his fellow Saviors "modified weapons", where he tells everyone to smudge their weapons on a roamer, saying that whatever is on them, assumingly saying that at the slightest touch will cause a deadly fever to set in.
Maggie and her group return, so Maggie may discuss what to do next. Jesus mentioned that there is another small town right down the street. Rick intends to have a third of their people down there, so they may attack if Negan does at a certain point. Even if the Hilltop falls, Rick would want all of their people to head down there.
Outside the Hilltop, Negan and the Saviors are looking over the Hilltop. Negan looks back at his men and says "We attack at sundown." He gives his men orders, who are more than prepared and ready to attack. Negan instructs his men to rest up for the final battle and to not let him down, Dwight glares at him as he walks past. Meanwhile, back at The Sanctuary, as Negan and The Saviors prepare their attack on Hilltop, Carson frees Eugene, and his crew, and starts to lead them out of The Sanctuary. As they figure out an escape plan, they are discovered and approached by Mark and Amber. The duo assure them that they won't tell and inform Carson they want to come with him.
While enjoying the time in Hilltop, Maggie and Andrea discuss Maggie's new leadership role when a man offers them food. Andrea declines, but, Maggie gladly accepts. Andrea admits that she never thought that Maggie would ever be in the position that she is in. She explains further that she never saw herself, face all cut up, living with a gun by her side. "The things we've lost... It makes us stronger." she adds.
Andrea admits that it's not like those things are worth enduring and tries to convince Maggie to find someone else to keep her happy, "You lost your Dale... Maybe you got a Rick out there." Maggie appreciates what she is trying to do, but, explains that she will live her life alone for the rest of her life.
As the soldiers eat, Carl is approached by Sophia who asks if he recognizes her. Carl makes a snarky remark to her and she replies that she no longer wants to talk with him anymore and that she has more, nicer friends now. She gathers her meal and walks off, leaving a regretful Carl alone.
Rick is surprised by the amount of food being given to the soldiers. Andrea explains that the Hilltop had little to give and the meal was going to be small, but, luckily The Kingdom survivors brought most, if not all, of their supplies with them to the Hilltop. Rick replies that it's good they did as they might stay for a while, she asks him if they plan to be at the Hilltop for good. Rick responds as he eats that they most likely won't and that after Negan is dealt with that they will return to their community and start rebuilding.
Andrea responds that it is good to see him confident again, to which he replies that he just can't ever see how Negan can defeat them, looking out at his troops eating and laughing with one another, enjoying themselves while it lasts.
Kal yells out that the Saviors have reached the gate and to get ready. As Negan, with his men, approach the wall, he demands to speak with Rick. Kal warns him that the war does not have to escalate any further if they leave and that if they don't, they will not live. Negan blows back that "the adults need to talk", but, Kal roars back that right now he is talking with him.
An annoyed Negan tells his men to shoot him, and they kill Kal with a single head shot. Negan demands once more that he will have everyone on the wall killed and things will get ugly if he does not come out. Eduardo, taking cover behind the wall, yells out that they don't know who he is talking about, much to Negan's annoyance.
The Saviors starts to muck their weapons against the chained roamers that they have brought. After that, Negan commands his men to drive a truck inside, but, the Hilltop survivors start to shoot back. The Saviors begin swarming inside the Hilltop as the firefight continues.
Rick orders the survivors to retreat and protect the house as the carnage escalates, a fellow Kingdom soldier is stabbed in the stomach by a Savior, but, is saved by Michonne and taken in to get checked up on by Harlan. Rick instructs Nicholas and Aaron to follow him to try and box the wave of Saviors in.
Out in the front lines, Negan and Dwight discover themselves behind Rick, Nicholas, and Aaron. Negan gloats and commands Dwight to shoot Rick, Dwight is hesitant, but, fires his crossbow, shooting Rick in the stomach. Aaron notices Negan and Dwight and begins firing at them as the two Saviors take cover.
Negan smiles and tells Dwight that, without Rick, the survivors' effort will be pointless.
Eugene, Carson, and the others are en route back to the Hilltop in a van stolen from Sanctuary. Carson notes that it's getting too dark to see, and Eugene has him turn the lights on. Eugene spots a Savior guard atop a nearby building just in time; the van's engine block is shot out, but, there are no fatalities. Eugene tells the others he has a plan. At the Hilltop, Nicholas helps Rick up and they begin their retreat towards the house. A Savior attacks, but, Jesus dropkicks him in the face. Just as Rick and Nicholas climb the stairs to the house, two more Saviors run up from behind them; Nicholas is slashed across the back. As the other is about to stab Rick, Carl emerges from the house and shoots both Saviors down. Gregory and Carl get Rick and Nicholas inside as the Saviors charge the front door.
Negan shouts that a door won't stop them. He doesn't notice Michonne and Ezekiel sneaking to the cars behind the Saviors to turn on their lights. When the lights come on, Andrea and the sharpshooters upstairs open up on the Saviors below, killing seven or eight of them. Negan orders a retreat and his forces fall back.
The Savior guard who shot at Eugene and his crew is still watching the van. The van's horn has been jammed into the on position to draw roamers towards it. Eugene comes up behind the Savior and notes, "Carson here tells me your name is Donnie," before shoving him off the ledge to his death. He then tells the others that they'll rest up and return to the Hilltop at sunrise.
After the battle, Michonne and Jesus clean up the roamers that have made it through the hole in the Hilltop's fence. They find a knife coated with dried blood and take it to Dr. Carson, who realizes that the Saviors' melee weapons are contaminated with residue from roamers and that whoever has been injured by them (Nicholas, Richard, and Arnold) is going to die. Notably, Rick isn't suffering from a severe fever like Nicholas and the others; his wound seems to have been relatively minor (and non-infected).
Back at their camp in the woods near the Hilltop, Dwight talks about moving their camp and Negan gloats to Dwight about their approaching victory.
Negan and Dwight are talking about their victory, but, a Savior informs them Carson has escaped with Eugene. Negan tells him not to worry about it, and they will be back for them.
Paul and Michonne have got themselves in trouble as they attempt to take out the undead in and around the Hilltop; in an attempt to move one of The Kingdom's buses in front of the broken wall. As Paul distracts the roamers to him, Michonne escapes and Eugene, with the other survivors, appear. The two devise a plan to take out the roamers as Paul leads them on.
In the Hilltop mansion, Nicholas is slowly dying as his wife and son stay by his side. He comments that he is sorry for letting them down to which Paula comforts him, telling him he is the reason that they are still and they will get by and continue to survive. Mikey leaves the room as Rick, Andrea, and Carl wait outside.
Andrea tells Rick to rest as he tries to go over to Mikey to comfort him. Rick tells Andrea that he is fine just as Paula walks out to Mickey. Nicholas has died from his wounds and Paula informs their son about it. Harlan and his assistants begin collecting his body as Carl tries to console with Mikey. He warns him of what he will be told about losing someone and adds, "Don't listen to them. Hold onto it. Remember it... Don't let yourself forget it. It's too easy to lose."
Rick gathers a group and announces that he is not sick and how Dwight must have shot him with a clean bolt, solidifying him as an ally. He asks for a group to cover him while he goes to meet with Dwight.
Negan arrives to Hilltop's gates, and asks for their newly elected leader, believing that Rick is dead. He is surprised to see him alive as he crawls over the bus, and looks at Dwight. Rick tells him not to look at him, and to look at Rick. Rick asks Negan why he is fighting his people, and Negan responds he is trying to save lives. Rick tells him he must be the stupidest person alive, and explains to him that they can cooperate with Rick's people, to make a barter system, to stop fighting, to start living and be better.
Negan slowly starts to believe his actions have been wrong all along and agrees with Rick. Rick then slashes Negan's throat with a knife, responding, "Good".
Rick then announces to the remaining Saviors they can either still fight him or leave. Rick states the war is over, and they have a doctor who can still save Negan, and proves that the knife wasn't infected. Negan then brutally assaults Rick whilst Jesus and the back-up crew start to slaughter The Saviors from behind. As Rick and Negan fight, Negan manages to break Rick's leg before passing out. Dwight grabs Lucille and tells the Saviors to stop shooting and listen to him, and commands them to leave under his order. The remaining Saviors stop and Harlan is able to reach Rick and Negan. Rick tells him to heal Negan first. Andrea, Carl and Maggie aren't satisfied with Rick's decision, but, Rick tells them they are better than Negan, so they won't kill him. Rick then gets up and tells his people they can finally live their lives without war. Later on, Rick finds Carl in Negan's room, where Negan is being chained, and reveals that Negan will be punished. Rick then tells Carl to leave, as Negan wakes up. Negan asks what happens now, and Rick informs him they are going to thrive without him to prove Negan was wrong all along about their success in this new world. Rick informs Negan that he will be locked up in a cell for the remainder of his life.
- Denise Cloyd
- Kingdom Survivor 1
- Richard (Off-Panel)
- Arnold (Off-Panel)
- Marcus (Off-Panel)
- Several Hilltop Colony survivors
- Numerous counts of Saviors.
- All of the issues in this volume were released biweekly (2 issues a month), opposed to the norm of 1.
- This was the first volume to be composed entirely of issues released biweekly (Volume 20: All Out War - Part One almost achieved this feat. All, but 2, were released twice a month).
- This was originally supposed to be the last volume to have Stefano Gaudiano and Dave Stewart involved in the artwork, but, both eventually became permanent members as of this volume.
- This volume has one of the highest death tolls, with 51 deaths.