|The Best Defense|
After the dramatic events of the last volume, Rick Grimes, Glenn, and Michonne leave the prison after attempting to rescue the occupants of a helicopter that had passed over the prison earlier. Their search brings them to a nearby town called Woodbury where a large, well-armed and well-organized group of survivors have taken refuge, led by a man called The Governor. Rick, Glenn, and Michonne quickly learn, at terrible cost to themselves, that they have fallen into the hands of the most dangerous group of people they could have imagined.
While further clearing out A-block, Glenn and Maggie discover The Prison's armory, complete with shotguns and full riot gear. Inspired by the new equipment, the group plans to siphon gasoline out of the remaining cars in the prison parking lot to use to power the generator and Dale's RV. Glenn and Rick head out and soon spot a helicopter in the sky, which immediately crashes. Glenn, Rick and Michonne find the crash site but it is deserted. The only clues are several footprints and tire tracks heading from the wreckage. Rick decides another group that was closer to the site must have taken the survivors, and they decide to follow the tracks.
Back at the prison, Carol continues to act bizarrely toward Lori, finally suggesting a poly-amorous marriage between her, Lori and Rick. Lori refuses and Carol becomes angry, storming off in the process. Dale and Andrea decide to raise Ben and Billy together.
Rick, Glenn, and Michonne eventually end up in the town of Woodbury. They meet a guard, named Caesar Martinez, and find a well-armed and well-organized group of citizens leaving on four clear and walled off city blocks, led by a man known as The Governor. The Governor explains that the National Guardsmen abandoned a nearby station, leaving behind weapons and equipment. The Governor leads the group to an arena surrounded by a ring of leashed zombies, which is used for staging brutal fights between living humans. The Governor tells Rick they feed the zombies people that stumble into Woodbury. Before Rick can respond, Rick is interrogated at gunpoint by The Governor, who wants to know where Rick's camp is. When Rick and the others say they are the only ones, The Governor cuts off Rick's right hand after forcing him onto a table. Michonne tackles The Governor and rips off his left ear with her teeth. Rick is sent to the infirmary for immediate treatment by Dr. Stevens so The Governor can continue to extract information from him. Glenn is locked in solitary confinement, and Michonne is brutally raped and tortured by The Governor.
The next morning, The Governor returns to his home and it is clear that none of the other survivors in the town know of his true nature, as he acts friendly and fatherly toward them. The Governor returns to his home, where he has kept his undead niece restrained and several aquariums with zombie heads inside them (they have replaced television). Later, he talks to Glenn, who has become deranged from his lengthy stay in confinement. He tells Glenn that he plans to question him, but begins by raping and torturing Michonne again, ensuring that Glenn hears her painful cries.
In the infirmary, a conscious Rick talks to Dr. Stevens about The Governor, whose real name is Philip (as a matter of fact, it's actually Brian). Dr. Stevens tells Rick how Phillip emerged as a leader. It became apparent that he was evil but no one challenges him because he kept everyone safe from the zombies. The Governor then enters and manipulates Rick into revealing that there is indeed a nearby camp, and he wants the supplies it has for Woodbury.
Back at the prison, the group begins to worry about Rick, Michonne, and Glenn, who have now been missing for two days. Otis tries to patch things up with Patricia. Lori worries about Rick, and when Carol tries to help, she is roughly turned away, as Lori mistakes her friendly comfort for another romantic approach. Tyreese returns to the prison after searching for the missing survivors and tells the others that he found the car stuck in the mud, but it was the only trace of their presence.
- Rick Grimes
- Lori Grimes
- Carl Grimes
- Hershel Greene
- Maggie Greene
- Billy Greene
- Brian Blake
- Caesar Martinez
- Bruce Allan Cooper
- Dr. Stevens
- Harold Abernathy
- Eugene Cooney
- Bob Stookey
- Penny Blake (Zombified)
- Scott Moon (Zombified)
- This is the first volume in which the issue covers are drawn by Charlie Adlard.
- This is the first volume that does not contain any character deaths, alive or zombified.
- Walking Dead Vol. 5 Review Gruesome, horrific and shocking but still excellent, IGN, Richard George (October 9, 2006).