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- "I'm better now. I've been in my own head, full of my self, full of shit, for a little bit, but it was only because of my grief. Still I want you to know that's over. I can fight. I have to fight. My people depend on me. And I don't want anyone to suffer the kind of loss I have. That's worth fighting for... Fighting though this for. For I'm better than this. What you've seen the last few days... That's not me. Not really. I don't even know how you put up with me. You're strong... Stronger than I could ever be. I don't want you to lose respect for me because I was weak. This was just a practice run. I'll do better tomorrow... When you're awake."
- —Ezekiel to Michonne.[src]
Ezekiel, or "King" Ezekiel as called by the Kingdom residents, is a character first encountered in Issue 108 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead. He is the leader of the Kingdom and owner of his pet tiger Shiva. He has a strong hatred for Negan and the Saviors, which caused Paul Monroe to bring Rick Grimes to him in the hopes of collaborating to defeat them.
Ezekiel is an eccentric, affable, and somewhat flamboyant older man. He is charismatic and possesses an aura of wisdom. He is perceived by many as arrogant due to his theatrics as the "king" of his people, and Ezekiel admits such views to be somewhat true.
Ezekiel is very confident in his presence. He generally keeps a cool head and a friendly demeanor, reveling in the respect others have for him. However, he is revealed to be relatively insecure, as seen during the All-Out War and his post-timeskip relations with Michonne. This insecurity juxtaposes his outward appearance, and he wishes for his "subjects" not to see him as weak. He is very optimistic, but he takes failures very hard.
Not much is known about Ezekiel's life prior to or as the outbreak began. It is stated in Issue 110 that Ezekiel was a zookeeper and he knew Shiva since she was born. It is speculated that he lived in or near Washington, D.C., where he states he also had a theater background. Ezekiel later reveals that his father died when he was young and his mother never earned the right to that title.
Ezekiel (referred to as "King Ezekiel" by his fellow citizens) is the leader of a community known as "The Kingdom". At some point, Ezekiel met and formed a friendship with Paul Monroe who invited his community to join a trading network that includes the Hilltop community Paul belongs to. He later discovered the Saviors were threatening and harassing the other communities in the trade network in exchange for supplies and possibly saw how vicious their leader, Negan really was (despite the truce offered by the Saviors.) He bided his time and waited for the opportune moment to strike back against "this tyrant." The opportunity Ezekiel was waiting for finally came when Paul brought Rick Grimes to meet him and passed on the information that they had regarding the Saviors' strength and the location of their main base of operations.
Ezekiel forms an alliance between Rick, Paul, and Dwight to take down Negan and the Saviors. At first, Ezekiel acts like an adviser, telling Rick and Paul that they should first focus on overtaking the Saviors outposts in the area. Doing so will give them a foothold and can cause them to whittle away their numbers gradually, while they move on closer to the foundry. When asked by Rick if he's made contact with Dwight, Ezekiel says that they must be patient before Dwight can reveal himself. During one of Rick's trips to the Kingdom, he brings along several residents from Alexandria, including Michonne Hawthorne, who catches Ezekiel's interest. Initially Michonne scorns him, leading to them crossing swords against one another. Later that night, however, the two share some of their past and each lightly flirt with the other.
Ezekiel is later seen leading his forces towards Alexandria. They are able to get there in time to save Rick and several other members of Alexandria. When Negan escapes, Rick wants to follow them but Ezekiel reminds him that they are still outnumbered by the Saviors. He is later seen inside Alexandria talking to Paul, who comments that he thought Ezekiel had abandoned him; Ezekiel says that he had to get his men close without being spotted and that there's much to discuss. Like Negan and Paul, Ezekiel is impressed with Alexandria and comments to Rick that he "vastly undersold this community" and that it is "spectacular... definitely worth fighting for."
Ezekiel is seen sleeping with Michonne in her house in Alexandria. Michonne informs Ezekiel that this meant nothing and that it has the potential to eventually be something. Ezekiel informs her that he can work with potential and heads downstairs to check on Shiva. He finds Michonne making coffee and informs her that Shiva was very well behaved and "she shit in your tub." Michonne asks him if he is being serious and he says he is, however they are interrupted by the Kingdom's head of security Richard, who informs Ezekiel that the buses are stationed outside the gates as he requested. Ezekiel tells Richard to inform Rick and the others immediately.
He is later seen meeting with Rick, Andrea, Paul and Kal in Father Gabriel's church. They discuss the plans for the upcoming war for one final time before deciding to depart for the Sanctuary. While on the road to The Sanctuary the group decides to stop one mile from Sanctuary to fully prepare for the upcoming conflict. Ezekiel finds Rick and Paul talking and when he approaches Rick asks him if his men know to lookout for snipers. Ezekiel says they are prepared and Rick walks off declaring that it is time to get into position.
Ezekiel alongside over one hundred men from Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom arrive outside the gates of Sanctuary. They are immediately confronted by Negan, who informs them that he is not scared of their forces. Rick offers Negan a chance for surrender, however after reveling that Gregory and the Hilltop have sided with the Saviors eight men from the Hilltop leave Rick's force to depart back to Hilltop. However Rick does not back down and says his offer of surrender still stands. Negan tells Rick he does not accept and Savior snipers open fire on Ezekiel and the rest of the force. Ezekiel quickly moves into cover behind a bus and orders one of his men to take out a Savior snipers on the roof. He does so and Ezekiel's men continue to take down more Savior snipers. After a few minutes of gunfire a large herd of zombies approaches the Sanctuary having been drawn by the battle's noise. Ezekiel quickly orders everyone onto buses, he is interrupted by Michonne who asks Ezekiel what he was waiting for. He replies by saying that he was waiting for her and they both quickly escape into one of the buses.
During the aftermath of attacking the Sanctuary, Ezekiel splits off from the main army and takes a group out to conquer one of the Savior outposts nearby. To his great shock and dismay, the Saviors lured them inside and mowed down nearly all of them. Richard is among those who are shot and Ezekiel tries to assure him the he'll survive, but Richard dies in Ezekiel's arms. Enraged, he reaches for a shotgun from one of his deceased teammates, but the man has already turned and nearly bites him. Shocked by how quickly he turned, Ezekiel bashes the man's skull in and faces the remaining Saviors. Unbeknownst to them roamers arrive, diverting the Savior's attention and allowing Ezekiel to escape. He loses them in the woods, but trips and falls in a river. Several roamers arrive but Shiva arrives and saves him. He turns towards Shiva but is saddened by the sight he sees; more roamers arrived and surround Shiva who valiantly tries to fight them off, but is unsuccessful. He returns back to Alexandria alone and breaks down to Michonne, explaining everything that had happened. He reveals that although he is seen as a leader, he had never before asked friends to lay down their lives and die for him or a greater good. Michonne comforts him while he ruefully wishing that he was the one who died; he would have been seen as a hero and a sacrifice to rally behind, "but most of all... I wouldn't have lost Shiva."
Still grieving over Shiva and his men's deaths, Ezekiel tells a worried Michonne of his troubles. He tells her that he never really had a family and that his men and Shiva were the closest he would ever get to having one. He goes onto to say that now they are dead, he does not want to go on being leader, saying that he has failed to protect those that looked upon him for guidance. Michonne responds by punching him in the face and a shocked Ezekiel asks why. Michonne tells him that he is being a "pussy" and that families back at The Kingdom are still trusting him to lead. She then walks off angrily leaving Ezekiel to collect his thoughts. When the Saviors begin to bomb Alexandria, Ezekiel advises that he and Michonne run off to safety, but Michonne wants them to stay behind to help out the residents of Alexandria.
As a result of all the casualties suffered thus far, Ezekiel has spiraled into a deep depression. When informed by Rick that they are moving to the Hilltop to plan their next attack, Ezekiel questions how many more need to die and says they've already lost. He further tells Rick that he's through and states that he is heading back to the Kingdom with any survivors he has left. Rick persuades Ezekiel that if they stop now, the Saviors will wipe them out and pleads that he go to the Hilltop with them or at the very least, consider it. Ezekiel reluctantly tells him that he will think it over and Rick tells him that is all he wants to hear.
After the rest of Rick's forces leave for Hilltop, Ezekiel stays behind with Michonne, and his forces, at the ruins of Alexandria. After spending a night there, Ezekiel apologizes to Michonne for his cowardice over the previous days, telling her that his real-self just needed some time, and that he is ready to fight the Saviors again.
Over the next week, Ezekiel, along with his remaining forces from the Kingdom, travel to the Hilltop, making it their new home in an effort to have all available people at one place to combat the Saviors. He later joins a meeting with Rick, and a few other people, to discuss war plans against Negan; Ezekiel saying that he is prepared to do whatever it takes to win.
Ezekiel is seen alongside Michonne, springing to action when the Saviors smash through the Hilltop's main gates. Ezekiel and Michonne quickly take cover behind one of the Hilltop's buildings, Ezekiel saying that the battle for Hilltop can't end up like the one at Alexandria. However, Ezekiel is almost caught off-guard by a lone Savior, who manages to stab one of Ezekiel's fighters, Marcus, through the stomach. Michonne quickly stabs the Savior through the stomach, telling Ezekiel she will get Marcus to the Hilltop infirmary if he can cover her. Ezekiel does so, stepping out from behind cover and opening fire on the Saviors. Soon after, he and Michonne distract the Saviors by turning on their car lights, and then open fires on them along with several other members of the group.
In the aftermath of the battle he, along with Paul, Michonne, Aaron, and others create a team to cover Rick while he negotiates with Negan.
After the confrontation is over and Negan taken into custody, Ezekiel returns to the Kingdom with his people and Michonne.
Ezekiel leads a group of Kingdommers to the coast, where they meet with Rick and his group as they await Michonne and her crew's arrival. He reveals that Michonne had left the Kingdom at one point. Michonne arrives and mostly ignores Ezekiel, which hurts him.
Several days later at the community fair, Ezekiel briefly speaks to Earl Sutton before speaking with Pete, who tells him that he believes the recently left Michonne still has feelings for him. He decides to go after her. Ezekiel is decapitated by Alpha and his head is later discovered by Rick.
Michonne tears up after seeing Ezekiel's zombified head on the pike and attempts to put him down. Though Rick tries to prevent her, she retaliates before breaking down. Andrea takes the knife from her and puts him to rest. His head is later buried at the foot of the pike along with the others.
- Killed By
- Alpha (Alive, Off-Panel)
In order to mark a border between the land belonging to the Whisperers and the communities, Alpha disguises herself and infiltrates the fair to lure people off the fairgrounds. Afterward, she decapitates them and then places their heads on wooden pikes to mark the border, with Ezekiel being among them.
- Andrea Grimes (Zombified)
After finding the border, his zombified head is put down by Andrea.
This list shows the victims Ezekiel has killed:
- Ezekiel is one of the characters Robert Kirkman misses, and regrets killing.
- Robert Kirkman stated in #113's Letter Hacks that he could be the smartest person in the Comic Series.
- Ezekiel's cane is a Shikomizue, a Japanese sword mounting meant to conceal a sword in the guise of a cane.
- Ezekiel is Michonne's second lover to be decapitated.
- Ezekiel is the first and only lover of Michonne that she didn't put down.
- Ezekiel is currently the only character to narrate an Issue of the comics.