Issue 24 is the twenty-fourth issue of Image Comics' The Walking Dead and the sixth and final part of Volume 4: The Heart's Desire. It was originally published on November 24, 2005. The deluxe colored version was released October 6, 2021.
Rick finally reawakens after 26 hours of being unconscious. Carol, who is sitting beside his bed, asks if he's waking up. Rick, unsure of his current state, believes he is, and asks how Carol herself is doing. Rick attempts to make a joke about the zombies to Carol, who doesn't get the joke, and is in disbelief that he actually made a joke. Suddenly, Carol kisses Rick. Rick is shocked by Carol's action and questions her why she kissed him. She tells him that she had heard how he stood up for her with Tyreese and that it meant a lot to her. Carol then assures Rick that she won't tell Lori about the kiss. Rick informs Carol that he will tell Lori about it, and that he values Carol as a friend, nothing more. Carol then leaves to go retrieve Sophia from Andrea and Dale, who had been watching after her for Carol.
After Rick finally gets up, Dale comes to see him. He lets Rick know that they've all decided that the pressure is getting to him and that he can't be their leader anymore, with which Rick agrees. Dale also tells him that they formed a committee, consisting of himself, Rick, Tyreese and Hershel. Rick is surprised there are no women on the committee, but Dale tells him they all voted for them to be in charge. Rick asks if everyone thinks he's crazy, to which Dale replies that he doesn't know, though he adds that many people are scarred of Rick's behavior.
Carol goes to inform Carl that Rick has woken up, and asks him if he was worried. "Nope. My dad's real tough. I wasn't worried at all." Carl says to Carol.
Out in the courtyard, everybody is working in Hershel's garden when Rick arrives to see them. While everyone lookes at Rick worried, Rick informs them that he had accepted Dale's proposal, and agrees that he shouldn't be making all of the decisions. He adds that he had heard some things being said about him. Tyreese tells him that, while they all appreciate everything he's done for them, he went too far when he killed Dexter. Rick is furious that the group thinks he's crazy for killing Dexter. He assures them that, while he knows what he did was technically wrong, things have changed. Tyreese argues than they can't simply abandon their humanity, and Rick agrees. He tells the group that he killed Dexter to protect them all, as the latter wanted to kick them out of the prison. He concedes that he should have come clean immediately, but he thought the group might prefer not to know how savage they'll need to be. Rick tells them that the world has changed and that they have to change with it. He asks if the survivors are still hoping to be rescued, then tells them to abandon such hopes, as things are never going back to the way they used to be. He goes on to tell them they can either come to terms with that fact, or they can continue hoping and pretending, which will eventually lead to their deaths. He proclaims that they will change and still be humane, though they have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to keep themselves safe. He goes on to denounce his old rule of "you kill-you die", as nowadays the exact opposite seems to be true. Rick goes on to acknowledge he may have gone a little crazy, but so has the world. He tells them that, while he's perfectly happy with not being the leader anymore, he will still do whatever it takes to keep them safe, as the life they have now at the prison is all they will ever have. Tyreese informs Rick that they have been trying to reestablish life as it was, but they don't want to become savages, to which Rick ironically replies that he's the only sane person in the group. Rick argues that they became savages the minute they decided to kill their first zombie. He tells the group how they're living surrounded by the dead, on borrowed time. He goes on to say that they don't live behind walls to protect them from the walking dead and concludes by saying: "WE ARE THE WALKING DEAD!".
- Rick Grimes
- Lori Grimes
- Carl Grimes
- Maggie Greene
- Hershel Greene
- Billy Greene
- This issue's cover is the last cover drawn by Tony Moore.
- Rick's famous 'We Are The Walking Dead' speech is given in this issue.
- The issue was originally going to end with Lori revealing to someone her baby was not Rick's.
- The Walking Dead #24 Review, Ain't It Cool News, Ambush Bug, (November 23, 2005).