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Issue 27 is the twenty-seventh issue of Image Comics' The Walking Dead and the third part of Volume 5: The Best Defense. It was originally published on April 15, 2006. The deluxe colored version was released on November 17, 2021.

Plot Synopsis

As Glenn tries to analyze how many people were present at the helicopter crash site, he is accidentally left behind by Rick and Michonne, and rushes to catch up.

Meanwhile, at the prison, Carol has just asked Lori if she and Rick would like to marry her. Lori is stunned, and doesn't know what to say. Carol explains to her that the idea is not as crazy as it sounds, and that the old rules don't apply anymore. Carol assures her they would be very happy together. Lori says that they're just good friends. Carol doesn't understand, so Lori explains that the pair bonded over shared trauma, but don't really know each other all that well, and certainly don't love each other the way Carol thinks. Frustrated, Lori rhetorically asks if Carol really thought Lori would accept her proposal, and how things would work even if she did. She wonders what they would tell their children, and asks Carol if she even thinks about Sophia anymore. Deeply insulted by Lori's remark, Carol takes Sophia and leaves once Dale and Andrea bring her over shortly after. Andrea asks if Carol is okay, but Lori doesn't believe she is anymore. Dale asks if Rick, Glenn, and Michonne are back yet, and Lori confirms they aren't. Outside, Tyreese and Axel are guarding the fences and waiting for Rick, Michonne, and Glenn to arrive back at the prison. Axel asks why they have to, and Tyreese responds that they might come back at any moment, so they need to be ready to open the gate before the group is swarmed. He adds that they need to move further away from the gate in order to not draw any more dead towards the entrance, prompting Axel to move their lawn chairs.

Emerging from the forest, Glenn has sarcastically thanks Rick and Michonne for abandoning him after catching up. Rick apologizes, explaining that they're just excited by the possibility of more survivors being around. Glenn reminds them that it's almost dark, and he would like to get back home. They agree, but they find tire tracks on the road to where the helicopter survivors might have left. Rick recommends following the tracks, in case the people have cars, gas, and other supplies. Glenn and Michonne agree, and they continue their trip. They find a mile marker sign, which reveals the town of Woodbury being only one mile away. Rick reckons this is likely where the survivors went.

At the prison, Lori tells Carl that he'll have his own cell when Rick gets back. Carl is happy about this, but tells his mother she doesn't have to worry about Rick. When Lori inquires, Carl explains that he noticed Lori is always upset and worried every time Rick goes somewhere, but he always comes back fine, so there is no reason to worry. Lori agrees, but is still too nervous to sleep. Outside, Tyreese and Axel are still waiting in front of the fences. Tyreese says they'll be there all night because he doesn't want to leave them trapped outside the prison. He asks if Axel will be able to stay awake, but the latter replies that he certainly isn't comfortable enough around roamers to sleep near them. Axel asks if Tyreese is worried about Rick and the others, but he claims that he isn't, as Rick and Glenn can hold their own and Michonne even more so, but is concerned about what's holding them up. Axel asks if he will be moving to A-block, and Tyreese confirms. When asked if he plans on doing the same, Axel doesn't know, but says that he enjoys even having the option. Tyreese says that it's a new world, and muses how weird it is for them to be surrounded by bars and fences all day and be happy about it. Axel comments how, unlike them, he was never out there, and doesn't know what it's like to be terrorized by walkers. He admits that he likes this new world better than the old. Inside, Maggie wakes Hershel up and asks to sleep in his bed, since Glenn isn't back yet and she hates being alone in their room. Hershel obliges and makes room for her.

On the road, Glenn notes the absence of roamers and thinks they're lucky, but Michonne asserts that they're there, as she can hear at least a dozen, with more following every minute. She explains that, while they're walking by the roamers and not noticing them, they are indeed being noticed and followed by the undead and, while the three of them are faster, it is only a matter of time before they stop and the roamers catch up. Glenn is spooked by this revelation.

At the prison, both Dale and Andrea are unable to sleep due to their worry. Seeing this, Dale is determined to get some sleep, as they're parents now and need to be awake for the twins tomorrow. Andrea asks of Dale thinks Ben and Billy are fine sleeping on their own, but Dale says the the children are tougher than they give them credit for. He adds that Ben and Billy asked for their own room so he gave them one, as he thinks it's too soon to tell them to do what they don't want to.

Rick, Glenn, and Michonne arrive at Woodbury, but initially find it deserted. Michonne says that they can't turn back now, as they have too many roamers on their tail. Rick thinks that, if they catch one, they can rub guts on themselves and walk by, just like they did in Atlanta. Suddenly, the group is flashed by lights while a voice instructs them to get down on the ground. When they do, all the zombies surrounding them are shot. When this is done, the voice orders them to move towards the light. Rick gets up and wonders who the group is. A survivor named Wes Strunk drags Rick and others into Woodbury and confiscates their weapons. Rick explains that they only wanted to know what happened to the helicopter survivors and wonders why they are taking their weapons away. The man in charge introduces himself as Martínez, and welcomes them to Woodbury, the "last little town on Earth." Martínez assures them they have nothing to worry about, and that they confiscated their weapons simply as a precaution, as they get "a lot of crazies." He proceeds to take them to their leader, but is intercepted by the man himself, addressed as the Governor by Martínez. Accompanied by two guards, the Governor offers to take them on a tour of the town himself. Rick is curious about the leader's title, so the Governor explains that the title is more of a joke, but he wears it with pride anyway, and adds that he briefly considered "president," but found it too silly. The Governor asks Rick for his story, but Michonne answers instead, claiming that the three of them have been traveling since the Turn on their own and decided to investigate the helicopter crash. The Governor politely tells Michonne that he was talking to Rick, but the latter confirms her story. Rick asks about the town, so the Governor says that they have fenced off four blocks and have about forty people living in Woodbury. He notes how, in the early day, the had more survivors arriving every day, but haven't had new arrivals in a while. He asks if Rick knows how they lost against the dead, and explains that the Government tried herding people into cities during the outbreak to protect them, but the average National Guardsman was more concerned with protecting his own family than going off to Atlanta to fight the undead. He notes how there is an abandoned Guard station a mile away that is completely stocked, and credits their survival to the supplies they got from it. Rick notices they are walking towards a lit stadium, so the Governor informs him they are in luck, as there is a fight going on tonight. The arena, which turns out to be a dirt racing track, features a circle of chained up zombies. The Governor explains that the electricity comes from a large generator that was installed so the races could take place even during a power outage. Rick wonders if they make the zombies fight each other, but the Governor denies this, as that wouldn't be any fun. Instead, they have two living survivors fight each other and put on a good show, while the biters are just there for motivation. Sensing disapproval, the Governor points out that cable is out, and asserts that people get restless without entertainment. Rick doesn't believe having biters chained up in the town is a safe practice, and the Governor admits they had a few accidents at first, but assures Rick that the zombies remain docile as long as they feed them. Horrified, Rick asks what they're feeding them, to which the Governor ominously replies that they feed them strangers.

Credits

Deaths

  • None

Trivia

  • First appearance of Wes Strunk.
  • First appearance of Caesar Martínez.
  • First appearance of Brian Blake.
  • First appearance of Bruce Cooper.
  • First appearance of Gabriel Harris.
  • First appearance of Calvin Deets.
  • This issue marks Carl Grimes's 25th appearance.
  • This issue marks Glenn's 25th appearance.
  • Issue 27 appears in the 2019 film Zombieland: Double Tap. The main character, Columbus, finishes reading the issue and, quite ironically, comments on how scary but unrealistic the concept is.

Cutting Room Floor

  • The issue was originally going to start in Woodbury, where the helicopter crew would be interrogated and fed to zombies by the Governor.
  • The Governor was originally going to be referred to as "The President".
  • There was originally a scene with Otis and Patricia where Otis tells Patricia he's not a racist.
  • During Tyreese and Axel's conversation, Tyreese tells Axel that Lori is going to take Rick to "Fist City" when he gets back.
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