Issue 18 is the eighteenth issue of Image Comics' The Walking Dead and the sixth and final part of Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars. It was originally published on April 20, 2005. The deluxe colored version was released on July 7, 2021.
Lori thanks Allen for watching Carl and asks her son if he's okay. Crying, Carl asks if his father is crazy and if he's going to kill him. Lori reassures him that that's not the case, informing Carl that the man Rick attacked was bad and that he killed Rachel and Susie and tried to kill Andrea. Carl asks if he was bad like Shane and Lori confirms that he was a lot like Shane. Carl says that he only killed Shane before he killed anybody and Lori reassures him he did the right thing, with Rick unexpectedly chiming in saying he himself did the right thing as well. Rick asks Allen to give them some privacy, and proceeds to reassure Lori he is not making these decisions lightly. While he concedes that he may not have sounded completely rational outside, he assures her that he was. He explains that group looks to him to keep them safe and he owes it to them to do everything in his power to do so. He implores Lori to see his side of things, as he needs her on his side more than anyone. Lori replies that she doesn't know what she sees anymore, as she finds it hard to think straight, either because of exhaustion or the pregnancy. She knows she's overreacting, but can't seem to stop herself, and adds that she's never had this much stress in her life. She goes on to apologize for her behavior, and agrees that Thomas should be executed.
Dale walks Andrea to their cell so he can patch her up. He says that though Hershel could probably do a better job, he doubts he's in the mood to do anything. Andrea's not in a good mood herself. She asks if Thomas cut her ear and Dale confirms, telling her that her lobe is gone, but she'll still be able to hear. Andrea doesn't care about her hearing, as she doesn't want to look like a freak but Dale reassures her she'll be as beautiful as ever once he cleans her up. Rick comes by to get his hand cleaned up. Dale is shocked at it's appearance, thinking every finger in Rick's hand is broken. He doubts it will heal well or even if Rick will be able to use his hand again, but Rick says he'll worry about that later. Right now he just wants to make sure he doesn't get an infection on top of everything else, adding that he doesn't regret a thing.
Rick goes to Dexter's cell to release him, telling the inmate he's off the hook. Dexter asks if that's all he's going to say, and Rick confirms, asking if Dexter is going to start trouble. Dexter asks if they still have all the guns and Rick replies that they to, though they don't want to use them. Dexter is happy to hear this, and goes on to ask who the actual killer was. Rick informs him it was Thomas the "tax evader". Dexter notes that he didn't know what Thomas was in for, but he knew it wasn't tax evasion, adding that he never trusted him and that he doesn't trust a lot of people now.
Due to Billy's previous remark, Hershel flies into a rage, yelling at his son and beating him at the same time. After he's done, he warns Billy not to talk back to him again. Rick arrives to inform Hershel that they found the culprit. Hershel immediately wants to see him, and Rick obliges.
Dale asks Andrea if she feels any safer in the prison. He expresses his doubts in Rick's leadership, and notes that the death toll hasn't died down. He wonders what would happen if someone more organized wanted to take over the prison, as such an enticing location has to be a target. Andrea asks Dale if he wants to leave, and he replies that he's thinking about it. He proceeds to weigh the pros and cons as Andrea tells him that while she doesn't like the idea of abandoning everyone, she'll go wherever he goes.
Glenn and Tyreese, who were watching Thomas, decide to lock him in the freezer that the inmates had previously been using as a bathroom, in order to "Put the waste with the waste" as Glenn explains. Rick reminds them that the freezer is air tight so he will suffocate, so they remove him and take him to the cell block. As they are doing so, Hershel tells Thomas that he'll let the Lord be his judge and that he forgives him. Rick informs Hershel that they are still going to hang Thomas, but Hershel says that he knows and wants to watch.
After they lock Thomas in a cell, Glenn goes to see Maggie, asking her how she's holding up. She informs Glenn that she doesn't think she's going to love him anymore, not seeing the point in it since he's just going to die like everyone else.
Later, Patricia frees Thomas, believing him to be just a sick man that needs help, but he then attempts to kill her. During the brief struggle, Patricia manages to call for help, and scratches Thomas' face, freeing herself. Patricia is furious, telling Thomas that she was going to help him only for him to grunt obscenities at her. Tyreese points a gun at Thomas, but before he can shoot him, Glenn and Maggie approach from behind, and Maggie unloads six rounds from her pistol into Thomas's back. Maggie confesses to the gathered survivors, "Now I feel a little better", and the survivors proceed to the main gate of the prison.
Hershel requests that Thomas' body be thrown to the zombies to be torn apart and devoured. Lori asks Rick what he's going to do with Patricia, but Rick doesn't see what they can do, as he doesn't think they can beat her into submission or lock her up. They're not animals, after all. Rick says he'll talk to her, when suddenly Dexter, accompanied by Andrew and armed with shotguns from the armory, says there is no need for that, as Patricia is with them now. Dexter then puts the shotgun to Rick's head and tells him to "get the fuck out of his house".
- Rick Grimes
- Lori Grimes
- Carl Grimes
- Maggie Greene
- Hershel Greene
- Billy Greene
- Thomas Richards
- Last appearance of Thomas Richards. (Alive)
- The jacket that Amy wears every time she appears is seen hanging in Dale and Andrea's cell.
- The cover of this issue features the group looking at someone hanging off-screen, presumably from a noose. This is most likely supposed to be Thomas Richards due to Rick's promise to hang him, however, it never actually ended up happening.
- Lori was originally still present in the prison yard for Rick's announcment that they would hang Thomas, and was going to respond with "Like hell you are!"
- The scene right after when Rick goes to visit his family was going to be more heated, with Lori not wanting Rick to see Carl since the latter was too afraid of him.
- There was going to be a scene explaining how Patricia got ahold of the key to Thomas' cell.
- Thomas was originally going to be hanged like was shown on the cover.
- The cliffhanger of the issue was going to be Lori telling Rick she wants a divorce.
- Once this was scrapped, the issue was supposed to end with Dexter and Andrew voluntarily leaving the prison.
- April 2005 Comic Book Sales Figures - Ranked #118 Overall