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Issue 97 is the ninety-seventh issue of Image Comics' The Walking Dead and the first part of Volume 17: Something To Fear. It was originally published on May 9, 2012.

Plot Synopsis

The Alexandria Safe-Zone citizens are all gathered in the church while Gabriel Stokes prays for the survivors, asking God to watch over Rick, Michonne, Andrea, Glenn, and Carl and to provide them with a safe return.

Maggie starts to feel guilty over Carl, as she was told to look after him. She suddenly starts feeling ill, but says that she visited Denise and confirmed that it is just a regular stomach ache.

Abraham goes to see Eugene, who wasn't in the church's praying session. He informs Eugene that Rick and the others should be back tomorrow, and asks how Rosita is doing. Eugene informs him that she is fine and doing better with Eugene than with him. Abraham leaves, and Rosita appears, telling Eugene that they're not together.

Abraham approaches Heath, who is standing guard at the gate. Abraham asks Heath about the current situation outside of the Safe-Zone. Heath informs Abraham that nothing has really happened except a few zombies have wandered into the ditches that the residents dug after the attack. He also informs Abraham that he will go out later and kill the zombies in the ditches. Heath then tells Abraham that Rick, Michonne, Andrea, Glenn, and Carl will be back soon and Abraham replies, saying that he hopes so.

In the meantime, Rick and the rest of the group are in a van, back on their way to the Alexandria Safe-Zone. In the van, Rick seems to be in an optimistic state, saying he believes that there could be an end to the amount of walkers some day and that it is time to get proactive. He sees that the Hilltop Colony could be the way to regain some sort of normal life. All of the sudden, the sound of a motorcycle is heard.

Rick's party is confronted by a small band of men on motorcycles, wielding rifles and demanding all of their supplies in the van in the name of "Negan". Rick refuses, surmising that the man addressing him is "Negan", but all of the men claim to be "Negan". In the ensuing fight, all of the men are killed but the leader, who is told that Rick's party will be protecting Hilltop from now on. Rick further demands half of Negan's supplies as tribute, and sends him away. Carl, having watched the encounter, begins to remember details from before, specifically the incident with Abraham where he was nearly raped. Rick's group then leaves as the walkers approach to devour the gang.

Back at the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Heath notes a higher rate of decay among the walkers as Rick's party returns. Everyone is happily reunited and Maggie reveals to Glenn that she is pregnant. After Rick gathers his thoughts for a presentation to the citizens of the Safe-Zone, he details their experience within the Hilltop community. His plan notes that the Alexandria community doesn't have much to offer except protection, and that he has offered that service in exchange for supplies from Hilltop. No one disagrees.

Later, in private, Andrea confronts Rick about their shared kiss, and both express optimism about their prospects in the world.

Eugene and Abraham leave the Safe-Zone early the next morning without informing anyone. There is still tension between them, but Eugene is confident in the importance of their mission and their safety due to Abraham's presence. As they walk past an alley, several men watch silently while brandishing weapons.

Credits

Deaths

Trivia

  • First appearance of David.
  • First appearance of the Saviors.
  • This Issue begins the third compendium of the series.
  • This issue and Issue 96 mark the halfway point in the comic's 193 issue run.
  • This is the seventh issue to get a second printing.

Goofs/Errors

  • Even though Rick had his right hand amputated by The Governor in #28, there is a panel in this issue which shows Rick with both of his hands when talking with Andrea.
  • On page 20, while Rick is discussing his plan to the Alexandrian community about the proposition with the Hilltop, the 'I' is left out of 'if' when Rick states, "If anyone objects to this course of action... please speak now and be heard."
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