Issue 17 is the seventeenth issue of Image Comics' The Walking Dead and the fifth part of Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars. It was originally published on April 6, 2005. The deluxe colored version was released on June 16, 2021.
Lori finds Rick sitting outside despairing. She inquires, and Rick reveals he blames himself for Rachel and Susie's deaths, as he's the one that convinced Hershel to come live at the prison. Lori believes the notion preposterous, as with all the dead roaming around now that it's warm there is no telling what the situation's like on the farm, and adds that they have no time for Rick to blame himself. Rick apologizes, revealing that he hasn't slept since Chris and Julie died. Lori agrees that he needs to rest and goes on to ask where Rick had been yesterday. Rick reveals he went back to the camp to dig up Shane and shoot him.
Hershel sits motionless in his cell and starts saying he's sorry. This infuriates Billy, who screams at his father, blaming him for Rachel and Susie's deaths
Andrew goes to visit Dexter and asks if he's okay. Dexter declines, as he feels like a prisoner again. Andrew offers to get Dexter anything he needs. Dexter believes Rick's group to be crazy, so traumatized by the outside world they thought the prisoners were living the high life locked in the cafeteria. Now, Dexter claims, they are killing each other and blaming it on them. He instructs Andrew to find a way into A-block, where the guards stored riot gear and weapons. Andrew says they can bust out of the prison in a blaze of glory and Dexter agrees, stressing that this needs to happen before Rick's group decides to kill them all. He asks if Andrew can get in there and Andrew confirms.
Dale instructs Glenn and Axel in dispatching walkers piled up on the fence, something they need to do if they don't want the sheer mass of the undead to knock the fence down. He takes a knife and points it against a walker's head through the fence, then jams the knife into its skull using a hammer, though he fails to pull out the knife once the walker's corpse falls. Dale thinks he needs to think of another plan, but Glenn thinks he might be on to something with his original idea, and suggests nailing the blades through small pieces of wood so they wouldn't fall through the fence. Dale likes the idea, though Axel still wonders why they can't just hold onto the knife tighter.
Tyreese and Carol are cleaning the basketball court. Ty thinks it's going to be really nice but Carol says what would really be nice is some privacy, and Tyreese agrees. Carol points out Allen is watching Sophia and spots a clean spot on the floor. She proceeds to take her clothes off, and the two have sex on the floor.
Carl and Sophia are talking about Allen. Sophia doesn't like him and says he scares her. Carl agrees, saying that Allen used to be nice but now he's just weird. Switching the subject, he awkwardly tells Sophia he changed his mind and wants to be her boyfriend after all, as he thinks she's pretty. Sophia, overjoyed to hear this, kisses Carl on the cheek, much to his annoyance.
Suddenly, Andrea runs out into the yard screaming for help, with Thomas hot on her trail. Rick tackles Thomas and beats him severely, breaking his own hand in the process and mashing Thomas' face into a bloody pulp. Lori tries to stop him but to no avail. Eventually, Tyreese pulls Rick off Thomas. Glenn asks if Thomas is dead and Rick replies that he isn't, yet. Lori asks what he means by that and Rick bitterly asks her if she would have him just let Thomas go, hoping the next time he kills it's someone they don't know. He points out that Lori was pretty angry with Dexter when she thought he killed the girls. Rick stresses that they have to stop Thomas from ever killing again. Lori is disgusted with Rick's authoritarian tone, and firmly believes that no killing means no killing no matter what. She stresses that if they kill Thomas, they are no better than he is. She claims that exile is almost a worse punishment than death with the added benefit of not having any blood on their hands. She also suggests locking him up in the prison. Andrea furiously declines these suggestions, not willing to sleep in the prison knowing he could get out again and not willing to throw him to the zombies unless they can watch him get devoured. She points out what he did to her (referring to the scar he made on her face) as well as the girls. Tyreese claims that in any case they need to establish rules for this sort of thing, as they haven't done so yet. To this, Rick presents a simple law; You kill, you die. Dale agrees, Patricia cries that Thomas was so nice and Lori furiously asks Rick if he's just making the decision for all of them. Rick is confident in doing so, as the group put him in charge for a reason. Lori calls Rick a prick, telling him he's her husband, not her father, causing Rick to snap and tell Lori to "shut the fuck up". With Lori going back inside, Rick reaffirms his stance and declares they will hang Thomas tomorrow.
- Rick Grimes
- Lori Grimes
- Carl Grimes
- Maggie Greene
- Hershel Greene
- Billy Greene
- Thomas Richards
- Rick establishes his new rule, "You kill. You die."
- This is the issue in which Andrea gets her trademark scar, with Thomas slashing her cheek and slicing off a part of her earlobe in the process.
- Thomas was originally going to lock himself with Andrea in a cell at the start of the issue.
- Rick was going to talk to Lori about Shane more.
- Andrea was originally going to lose her entire ear to Thomas' attack.
- Rick was going to hit Lori when she tried to stop him from beating Thomas.
- April 2005 Comic Book Sales Figures - Ranked #117 Overall