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.
Rick, Glenn, and Michonne eventually end up in the town of Woodbury. They meet a guard, named Caesar Martínez, and find a well-armed and well-organized group of citizens living on four clear and walled off city blocks, led by a man known as The Governor. 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. He tells Rick they feed the zombies people that stumble into Woodbury. Before Rick can respond, he 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. 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).
In the infirmary, a conscious Rick talks to Stevens about The Governor, whose real name is Philip (it's truly Brian). 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 Abernathy, 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, 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.
Lori confronts Rick about her sexual encounter with Shane and the fact that her baby might be his, but before she can fully admit her mistake, Rick tells her that he knows, and that he just can't hear her say it. Glenn and Maggie are married by Hershel in a small ceremony in the prison's cafeteria. Life appears to go on as "normal" in the prison, with the survivors beginning to harvest their garden and even having basketball games.
Tyreese, Andrea, Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, and Axel go out in the RV to search for the national guard station used by the Woodbury survivors to stock up on weapons and supplies for the incoming onslaught from Woodbury. The group finds the base and takes several guns and canisters of gas, as well as a large army truck to gather even more supplies in. To prevent the people of Woodbury from taking more supplies, they blow up the depot. They then stop at an abandoned Wal-Mart for additional supplies, where they are confronted by Bruce Allan Cooper, Sam and a few other armed thugs from Woodbury. Glenn approaches the Woodbury men and attempts to negotiate but Bruce recognizes Glenn from his time in Woodbury and shoots Glenn in the waist. A gunfight breaks out, and the Woodbury men are defeated. Maggie rushes to Glenn, thinking he is dead, but his prison riot armor saved him. Glenn's ribs are badly damaged and the group quickly drives away from the site.
Back at the prison, Lori goes into labor. Billy Greene is sent to keep the generator on. He brings Dale with him, and they realize there is hardly any gas left to power the generator. They leave the prison gates to siphon gas from the cars in the parking lot, and Dale is bitten in the leg by a zombie. Glenn's party arrives at the same time and brings Dale and Billy inside. Lori delivers a baby girl with the help of Alice Warren. Shortly after the birth, Dale's injured leg is hastily amputated by Rick. Lori then decides on the name Judith for her newborn daughter.
Dale, despite being bitten, seems to show no signs of turning. Following Dale's injuries, Andrea is spending more time with Tyreese. Dale suspects something, but Rick is convinced he is simply overreacting. Outside, the others capture a zombie and hold it hostage for study at Alice's request. Carol meanwhile is losing her grip on her sanity. After having sex with Billy she goes outside and allows the captured zombie to bite her on the neck. Both she and the zombie are shot. Dale learns to walk with a peg leg that Tyreese and Andrea made for him. Glenn and Maggie decide to try and have a baby. Just as life is settling down once again, Rick and Hershel look outside and see several cars and army trucks roll up. The Governor exits a functioning tank and orders his soldiers to 'kill them all'.
This arc begins with an extended flashback to explain what the Woodbury survivors have been doing. After Michonne's mutilation of the The Governor his bodyguards, Bruce Allan Cooper and Gabriel Harris, find him after breaking his door. Michonne is able to escape, and Bruce thinks she's dead when she leaves Woodbury. Bruce gets Bob, the town drunk and a former army medic. After a little fight with Bruce, he's ready to patch The Governor up.
A week later, The Governor wakes up. Gabe is with him, and tells the news. The Governor is surprised hearing Bob patched him up. Gabe informs him that Caesar Martínez left with Rick and the others. The Governor knows that, saying it was all his plan to discover the location of The Prison, and expects Martinez to return soon. After recovering in his apartment, Bruce comes to tell him they have found Martinez, zombified.
The Governor speaks to the gathered Woodbury people and tells them that the prison survivors are a group of savages who must be destroyed. While they begin searching for the prison, Bruce is fatally shot by the survivors after they raid the guard station. The Governor shoots his friend in the head. Gabe finally locates the prison while the survivors are having shooting practice, though the governor plans to wait longer and pull them into a false sense of security. The Governor finally prepares his large army and they leave for the prison in numerous cars, trucks, and also bringing a functioning tank. As the shooting begins, Rick and the others dive for cover while Andrea climbs to the top of the guard tower. The Governor ceases fire to offer surrender to the prison survivors, though he quickly gives up and orders the army to resume firing. Rick quickly runs inside and tells Lori to take Judith and head underground and hide. Andrea begins picking off men from the army. She is however, non-fatally shot in her attempt to shoot; killing many before passing out. The Governor tries to intimidate the group by using his tank to clear away the piled zombies at the gate. Despite superior numbers, the Woodbury army is poorly trained and are forced to fall back as Andrea kills too many of them. Rick's group begins to debate whether they should remain inside the prison or go on the offensive. Before they can decide, Rick emerges from the prison with a bullet wound in his abdomen and collapses. He, Andrea, and a wounded Axel are taken to the prison hospital by Alice Warren.
Dale, Andrea, Billy, Ben, Sophia, Glenn, and Maggie Greene flee the prison in the RV in order to avoid the confrontation they expect from The Governor. Rick gets a blood transfusion from Patricia and starts to recover. Tyreese and Michonne decide to tail The Governor and the townspeople in the hopes that if they kill a few more, it will discourage their attack. Tyreese is captured after killing a couple townspeople and is told that Michonne is dead. The survivors still inside begin to prepare, though many of them believe they will not survive another attack. The Governor returns to the prison with Tyreese as his prisoner. He tells them he has Michonne as well and they must let him in or Tyreese dies, with Tyreese selflessly shouting at the survivors not to let them in. The survivors refuse to let him in and The Governor decapitates Tyreese using Michonne's katana. They leave Tyreese's body in front of the prison gates for the zombies as they flee. The Governor tells the Woodbury people a false story about how Rick and his people killed Tyreese, but Michonne then shows up right behind him with a gun to his head. Gabriel Harris opens fire at Michonne, but she fires back, clips The Governor, kills one of his men and escapes. The Governor and his army return to the prison and launch another attack. Axel is killed, but the prison survivors are able to successfully defend themselves. The Woodbury army is further destroyed and demoralized by Billy hurling a grenade into their midst, killing several of them. Gabe tells The Governor that Woodbury's army must regroup, but The Governor refuses. Gabe is shot and killed by a returning Andrea in the RV. One of The Governor's henchmen drives a truck into the RV, injuring Andrea. As his army seeks to retreat, The Governor orders the IFV to drive over the fences. Rick and his group rush to escape while The Governor and his army invade the prison. Rick rushes into the cell-block, looking for Lori and Judith and eventually finds them with Alice pointing a gun at them. Alice explains that it was a ruse in case The Governor found them.
Rick, along with his family and Alice, attempt to escape to the truck. Meanwhile, Patricia and Billy Greene are shot and killed by the overwhelming number of invading soldiers. Billy's death demoralizes Hershel to give up. Rick gives up their position by yelling for Hershel. The Grimes family attempt to get to the truck under heavy fire while Alice covers them. Alice is quickly gunned down and executed by The Governor. Shortly after, Lori and Judith are both killed by Lilly who shoots Lori in the back with a scatter gun. Lori falls to the ground, crushing Judith, as Rick watches in horror while attempting to escape with Carl. The Governor orders his men to stop firing at them, as he is certain they will be overwhelmed by the zombies out in the open, and then executes Hershel who begs to be killed in despair. Lilly is horrified when she realizes that Lori was carrying a baby and calls The Governor a monster. She hits him with her rifle and puts the barrel in his mouth. A horde of zombies, however, break through the hole in the fence and attack the Woodbury army. The Governor gets up, shoots a zombie and urges the group to move into the prison, yelling that they can still rebuild the ruined prison later. As the remnants of the army are overwhelmed, Lilly gets to her feet and shoots The Governor in the head and pushes his corpse into a mass of zombies, buying the Woodbury army time to flee. She then leads the remnants of the army into the prison. They are eventually heard running out of ammo as the prison is overwhelmed by masses upon masses of undead. Rick and Carl narrowly escape the prison and embrace each other after experiencing such devastating losses. The ruined prison burns behind them as zombies approach.
- Harold Abernathy
- Eugene Cooney
- Dr. Stevens
- Caesar Ramón Martínez
- Bruce Allan Cooper (Death showed in Issue 43)
- James Lee Steagal
- Eric (Off-Panel)
- Raymond Hilliard
- Wes Strunk
- Rudy Warburton (Off-Panel)
- Daniel (Off-Panel)
- Don Horgan (Off-Panel)
- Charlie Banes (Off-Panel)
- Bart (Off-Panel)
- Gabriel Harris
- Billy Greene
- Alice Warren
- Lori Grimes
- Judith Grimes
- Hershel Greene
- Brian Blake
- Many unnamed Woodbury Soldiers