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The Governor has finally found the prison and attacks with amazing force. The group is torn over what action to take. While many choose to stay, others leave to fend for themselves. As the body counts rises and more and more damage is done to both sides, things will literally never be the same again for Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors.
This arc begins with an extended flashback to explain what the Woodbury survivors have been doing. After Michonne's mutilation of the The Governor his bodyguards, Bruce Cooper and Gabe, find him after breaking his door. Michonne is able to escape, and Bruce thinks she's dead when she leaves Woodbury. Bruce gets Bob, the town drunk and a former army medic. After a little fight with Bruce, he's ready to patch The Governor up.
A week later, The Governor wakes up. Gabe is with him, and tells the news. The Governor is surprised hearing Bob patched him up. Gabe informs him that Caesar Martinez left with Rick and the others. The Governor knows that, saying it was all his plan to discover the location of the prison, and expects Martinez to return soon. After recovering in his apartment, Bruce comes to tell him they have found Martinez, zombified.
The Governor speaks to the gathered Woodbury people and tells them that the prison survivors are a group of savages who must be destroyed. While they begin searching for the prison, Bruce is fatally shot by the survivors after they raid the guard station. The Governor shoots his friend in the head to prevent reanimation. Gabe finally locates the prison while the survivors are having shooting practice, though the governor plans to wait longer and pull them into a false sense of security. The Governor finally prepares his large army and they leave for the prison in numerous cars, trucks, and also bringing a functioning tank. As the shooting begins, Rick and the others dive for cover while Andrea climbs to the top of the guard tower. The Governor ceases fire to offer surrender to the prison survivors, though he quickly gives up and orders the army to resume firing. Rick quickly runs inside and tells Lori to take Judith and head underground and hide. Andrea begins picking off men from the army. She is however, non-fatally shot in her attempt to shoot; killing many before passing out. The Governor tries to intimidate the group by using his tank to clear away the piled zombies at the gate. Despite superior numbers, the Woodbury army is poorly trained and are forced to fall back as Andrea kills too many of them. Rick's group begins to debate whether they should remain inside the prison or go on the offensive. Before they can decide, Rick emerges from the prison with a bullet wound in his abdomen and collapses. He, Andrea, and a wounded Axel are taken to the prison hospital by Alice.
Dale, Andrea, Billy, Ben, Sophia, Glenn, and Maggie Greene flee the prison in the RV in order to avoid the confrontation they expect from The Governor. Rick gets a blood transfusion from Patricia and starts to recover. Tyreese and Michonne decide to tail The Governor and the townspeople in the hopes that if they kill a few more, it will discourage their attack. Tyreese is captured after killing a couple townspeople and is told that Michonne is dead. The survivors still inside begin to prepare, though many of them believe they will not survive another attack. The Governor returns to the prison with Tyreese as his prisoner. He tells them he has Michonne as well and they must let him in or Tyreese dies, with Tyreese selflessly shouting at the survivors not to let them in. The survivors refuse to let him in and The Governor decapitates Tyreese using Michonne's katana. They leave Tyreese's body in front of the prison gates for the zombies as they flee. The Governor tells the Woodbury people a false story about how Rick and his people killed Tyreese, but, Michonne then shows up right behind him with a gun to his head. Gabe opens fire at Michonne, but, she fires back, clips The Governor, kills one of his men and escapes. The Governor and his army return to the prison and launch another attack. Axel is killed, but, the prison survivors are able to successfully defend themselves. The Woodbury army is further destroyed and demoralized by Billy hurling a grenade into their midst, killing several of them. Gabe tells The Governor that Woodbury's army must regroup, but, The Governor refuses. Gabe is shot and killed by a returning Andrea in the RV. One of The Governor's henchmen drives a truck into the RV, injuring Andrea. As his army seeks to retreat, The Governor orders the IFV to drive over the fences. Rick and his group rush to escape while The Governor and his army invade the prison. Rick rushes into the cell-block, looking for Lori and Judith and eventually finds them with Alice pointing a gun at them. Alice explains that it was a ruse in case The Governor found them.
Rick, along with his family and Alice, attempt to escape to the truck. Meanwhile, Patricia and Billy Greene are shot and killed by the overwhelming number of invading soldiers. Billy's death demoralizes Hershel to give up. Rick gives up their position by yelling for Hershel. The Grimes family attempt to get to the truck under heavy fire while Alice covers them. Alice is quickly gunned down and executed by The Governor. Shortly after, Lori and Judith are both killed by Lilly Caul, who shoots Lori in the back with a scatter gun. Lori falls to the ground, crushing Judith, as Rick watches in horror while attempting to escape with Carl. The Governor orders his men to stop firing at them, as he is certain they will be overwhelmed by the zombies out in the open, and then executes Hershel, who begs to be killed in despair. Lilly is horrified when she realizes that Lori was carrying a baby and calls The Governor a monster. She hits him with her rifle and puts the barrel in his mouth. A horde of zombies, however, break through the hole in the fence and attack the Woodbury army. The Governor gets up, knocks Lilly down, shoots a zombie and urges the group to move into the prison, yelling that they can still rebuild the ruined prison later. As the remnants of the army are overwhelmed, Lilly gets to her feet and shoots The Governor in the head and pushes his corpse into a mass of zombies, buying the Woodbury army time to flee. She then leads the remnants of the army into the prison. They are eventually heard running out of ammo as the prison is overwhelmed by masses upon masses of undead. Rick and Carl narrowly escape the prison and embrace each other after experiencing such devastating losses. The ruined prison burns behind them as zombies approach.
- This volume has the most on panel deaths of any Volume in The Walking Dead, with a minimum of 23 deaths. While Volume 20 has the most deaths overall.
- Tyreese is the fourth main character to die.
- Axel is the fifth main character to die.
- Patricia is the sixth main character to die.
- Billy Greene is the seventh main character to die.
- Alice Warren is the eighth main character to die.
- Lori Grimes is the ninth main character to die.
- Hershel Greene is the tenth main character to die.
- Brian Blake is the eleventh main character to die.
- This volume is the last time the Prison is featured in the comics. The novel series expands on the prison and the remaining Woodbury soldiers' fates.
- The cover of all the Issues within this volume are Red and Black, which officially means that Rick and his group have suffered a major loss via group members and the Prison.
- This also means that the name of the Volume "Made To Suffer" and the background color of each issue means that Rick and his group were all 'made to suffer'.
- On the final page of the volume, in the section titled "More Great Titles from Robert Kirkman and Image Comics", the title for Volume 10 is titled as "The Road Ahead TP"
- This is also printed this way in Volume 4 "The Heart's Desire" and Volume 6, "This Sorrowful Life"
- This volume concludes the first compendium.