The Walking Dead: Book Three is the third hardcover collection book of Image Comics' The Walking Dead that includes issues 25-36, otherwise Volume 5: The Best Defense and Volume 6: This Sorrowful Life.
While further clearing out A-block, Glenn and Maggie discover The Prison's armory, complete with shotguns and full riot gear. Inspired by the new equipment, the group plans to siphon gasoline out of the remaining cars in the prison parking lot to use to power the generator and Dale's RV. Glenn and Rick head out and soon spot a helicopter in the sky, which immediately crashes. Glenn, Rick and Michonne find the crash site but it is deserted. The only clues are several footprints and tire tracks heading from the wreckage. Rick decides another group that was closer to the site must have taken the survivors, and they decide to follow the tracks.
Back at the prison, Carol continues to act bizarrely toward Lori, finally suggesting a polyamorous marriage between her, Lori and Rick. Lori refuses and Carol becomes angry, storming off in the process. Dale and Andrea decide to raise Ben and Billy together.
Rick, Glenn, and Michonne eventually end up in the town of Woodbury. They meet a guard, named Caesar Ramón Martínez, and find a well-armed and well-organized group of citizens leaving on four clear and walled off city blocks, led by a man known as The Governor. The Governor explains that the National Guardsmen abandoned a nearby station, leaving behind weapons and equipment. The Governor leads the group to an arena surrounded by a ring of leashed zombies, which is used for staging brutal fights between living humans. The Governor tells Rick they feed the zombies people that stumble into Woodbury. Before Rick can respond, Rick is interrogated at gunpoint by The Governor, who wants to know where Rick's camp is. When Rick and the others say they are the only ones, The Governor cuts off Rick's right hand after forcing him onto a table. Michonne tackles The Governor and rips off his left ear with her teeth. Rick is sent to the infirmary for immediate treatment by Dr. Stevens so The Governor can continue to extract information from him. Glenn is locked in solitary confinement, and Michonne is brutally raped and tortured by The Governor.
The next morning, The Governor returns to his home and it is clear that none of the other survivors in the town know of his true nature, as he acts friendly and fatherly toward them. The Governor returns to his home, where he has kept his undead niece restrained and several aquariums with zombie heads inside them (they have replaced television). Later, he talks to Glenn, who has become deranged from his lengthy stay in confinement. He tells Glenn that he plans to question him, but begins by raping and torturing Michonne again, ensuring that Glenn hears her painful cries.
In the infirmary, a conscious Rick talks to Dr. Stevens about The Governor, whose real name is Philip (as a matter of fact, it's Brian). Dr. Stevens tells Rick how Phillip emerged as a leader. It became apparent that he was evil but no one challenges him because he kept everyone safe from the zombies. The Governor then enters and manipulates Rick into revealing that there is indeed a nearby camp, and he wants the supplies it has for Woodbury.
Back at the prison, the group begins to worry about Rick, Michonne, and Glenn, who have now been missing for two days. Otis tries to patch things up with Patricia. Lori worries about Rick, and when Carol tries to help, she is roughly turned away, as Lori mistakes her friendly comfort for another romantic approach. Tyreese returns to the prison after searching for the missing survivors and tells the others that he found the car stuck in the mud, but it was the only trace of their presence.
In Woodbury, Rick Grimes is bonding with Dr. Stevens and his nurse, Alice Warren, when one of the town's gladiators, Eugene, arrives and kills his opponent, Harold, who had accidentally knocked out Eugene's teeth. After the confusion, Caesar Martínez comes to check on the doctor and is surprised by Rick's injury.
Low on gladiators, The Governor offers Michonne to fight it out in the arena in exchange for a rest period from her daily torture. He explains that the arena fights are staged to look good, but not deadly. She agrees to fight Eugene, and in the arena, decapitates him and then the surrounding zombies without hesitation. The onlookers protest the extreme violence, and Michonne is quickly knocked out again. Meanwhile, Martinez breaks Rick out, taking Dr. Stevens, Alice, and Glenn with him so that they can escape The Governor as well. When they rescue Michonne, she says she will catch up later and leaves to take her revenge. In the confusion of escape, Dr. Stevens is bitten, but asks to stay a zombie rather than be killed. Back within the town, Michonne arrives and tortures The Governor, using several objects such as a drill, a hammer, her own katana, a torch and even a spoon, to the point of severe mutilation. When she is interrupted by the arrival of The Governor's henchmen, she quickly escapes. Michonne later arrives at the crashed helicopter, meeting up with the others.
After a fight against zombies back to The Prison, they return to find the gates open, the prison overrun by hordes of zombies, and Dale's RV seemingly abandoned. Rick's group finds Dale and Andrea hiding in the RV, who tell Rick that the other survivors are hiding in C-Block. Rick kills an undead Otis, but is reunited with everyone else. Hershel says his wound was just a scratch from friendly fire, and Glenn finds a female zombie and takes its ring off, presumably to ask Maggie to marry him. Andrea catches Michonne talking to her other self, and Tyreese takes Rick off zombie duty, due to his amputated hand.
In the confusion after clearing out the zombie infestation, Rick notices Martinez is missing, and assumes that he has gone back to Woodbury to tell the survivors there where the prison is. Rick immediately sets off after Martinez in Dale's RV. He catches up to him before he makes it to Woodbury and proceeds to ram him with the RV, crippling him. Martinez protests that he wasn't going to bring The Governor, only the people who deserved to be safe in the prison. Regardless, Rick kills him and leaves his body to reanimate.
Back in the prison, Glenn asks permission to marry Maggie from Hershel, to which the tearful father agrees. Glenn then proceeds to propose to Maggie and the two become engaged.
After Rick's return, he calls for a group meeting where he finally reveals where Glenn, Michonne, and he have been for the past few days. He instructs the group to prepare themselves for the upcoming fight with the Woodbury survivors.
- Christina Meredith Haben (Comic Series) (Off-Panel)
- Mike (Pilot) (Off-Panel)
- Harold Abernathy
- Eugene Cooney
- Dr. Stevens
- Otis (Alive and Zombified)
- Caesar Ramón Martínez
- The Governor is the first villain to appear on the Book covers, the second being Negan on Book Nine and the third Alpha on Book Thirteen.