Rick Grimes is a cop who gets shot, goes into a coma, and wakes up in the middles of a zombie apocalypse. With his wife Lori and son Carl gone, Rick packs some gear from his police station heads for Atlanta to see if they retreated there to be with family. After his car breaks down Rick finds a horse and rides into Atlanta, a hotbed for zombies. He is saved by a man named Glenn, who takes Rick to his camp just outside the city limits. It is there that Rick finds his wife and son.
Rick’s friend Shane acted as the group leader and had been responsible for keeping Lori and Carl safe. Shane, however, becomes possessive of Rick’s family and goes off the deep end, prompting Carl to shoot Shane in the neck and killing him to protect his father. From this point on, Rick assumes the role of leader.
Written by Robert Kirkman and drawn by Tony Moore. Moore soon left the series and the subsequent members were drawn by Charlie Adlard.
Beginning as a group outside Atlanta, Team Grimes also picks up the Hershel Greene family and some inmates before the team gets wiped out and scattered. Rick has to basically start from scratch in getting new members and finding the surviving old ones.
Major Story Arcs
In charge, Rick determines that being so close to Atlanta isn’t a safe idea since zombies could roam out at any time. (Of which they have, giving Rick’s idea a lot of weight.) The team piles into Dale’s RV to find a better place to settle themselves as winter intensifies. The group consists of Dale and Andrea, Allen with his wife Donna and their twin boys Billy and Ben, Carol and her daughter Sophia, Glenn, and Rick with Lori and their son Carl. While scrounging for food, clearing cars from the road, and checking every establishment they find for food, they acquire three new members to their group: Tyreese, his daughter Julie, and her boyfriend Chris. The RV becomes even more uncomfortable. They soon come upon a gated community called the Wiltshire Estates, a seemingly perfect place to start a new life. After a night, the team discovers that most of the houses are loaded with zombies. After a hasty exit, the team loses Donna. Rocked by the tragedy, Rick pushes the team on.
Back on the road, the group looks for a place to settle down. Rick and Tyreese take Carl hunting with them and Carl is accidentally shot by a man named Otis. Otis leads Rick to a farm and Tyreese gets the team to follow. They are welcomed by the owner of the farm, Hershel Greene. Hershel is a veterinarian and does his best to patch Carl up. The group spends a few tense days on the farm as Carl heals and Allen tries to deal with the loss of his wife. Before long, Rick discovers that Hershel is keeping zombies in his barn. (Hershel thinks they can be recovered, one of them being his son Shawn.) After a mishap, the barn is opened and the zombies pour out and attack some of Hershel’s family. Rick and Company kills the zombies. This stress, along with his daughter Maggie shacking up with Glenn, sends Hershel over the edge and he kicks Rick’s group of his farm. Glenn, however, does stay behind.
Back on the road, the team again struggles to find enough food to eat. At last, however, they find a prison that looks to be ripe for the taking. Rick gives orders and the team cleans out the zombies. Rick and Tyreese then venture in to one of the buildings and find four inmates locked in the cafeteria. Finding food to last quite a while, the rest of the team is brought in and introduced to Axel (in for armed robbery), Dexter (murder, though he claims he’s done enough), Andrew (drugs), and Thomas (tax evasion). The men welcome the team.
Rick goes back and finds Hershel’s family hard at protecting their farm. He invites them all to the prison. Hershel, his daughters Susie and Rachel, his son Billy, a neighbor named Patricia (Otis’ ex-girlfriend), and Glenn and Maggie accept and join the team. At the prison, Hershel and his family begin a garden and the group gets settled into a fairly safe life. This is short-lived, however, as Susie and Rachel are barbarically killed. Dexter is accused and gets locked up. It is later discovered that Thomas, the “tax evader”, is the culprit. When Dexter is freed, he and Andrew start a coup. It fails because they opened an unclean portion of the jail to get weapons and forget to shut the zombies in. The team pulls together to get rid of the zombies and Rick takes it upon himself to “accidentally” shoot Dexter in the head in the fracas. At the end of the ordeal, Otis arrives to join the team. A mysterious woman named Michonne also enters the jail to join.
Deciding that the other part of the prison needs to be cleaned out, Rick leads a few men through. They split up. Dale finds a generator for the prison and Allen gets bitten. Convening outside, Rick cuts off Allen’s foot in hopes of stopping any infection. Tyreese gets fed up with Rick and some of the power plays he’s been making and the two get in a fight in which both get thoroughly whipped. Allen dies; Rick shoots him to prevent him from returning as a zombie; Rick then passes out.
Upon awakening, Rick learns that the leadership role has been delegated to a group of people: Hershel, Tyreese, Dale, and Rick. With this order of business taken care of, the team settles in to prison life. A library is found, along with a cache of guns and riot gear. Wanting to get the generator started, Rick and Glenn gear up and head to the prison’s parking lot. Mid-mission, however, they see a helicopter crash. As the helicopter goes down, Rick, Glenn, and Michonne take a car and try to find any survivors.
The remaining teammates at the prison try to live life as normally as possible, but when Rick's little group doesn't return when planned, Tyreese gets antsy. He dons one of the riot suits and goes out looking for any sign of them. He returns in a hurry and the RV drives out to retrieve him before the zombies can eat him. Unfortunately, the RV parks in a way that the gates aren't able to close and the zombies swarm the prison yard. Dale and Andrea duck into the RV. They see Otis get eaten while the others try to make their way into the prison buildings.
Woodbury and the Governor
Finding the helicopter, Rick sees that there aren’t any passengers inside. They follow tracks to a nearby town and are welcomed by a man known as the Governor. He appears friendly at first, but then turns quite ruthless as he tries to discover where Rick’s group really comes from. He cuts off Rick’s right hand, rapes Michonne, and subjects Glenn to some psychological torture. In the end, a man named Martinez breaks Rick’s trio out of Woodbury, taking Dr. Stevens and Alice, a medical assistant, with them. Michonne stays back, however, to exact her own brand of revenge/torture on the Governor. Stevens dies and Michonne catches up and they find the prison overrun by zombies. They reunite with Dale and Andrea and begin cleaning out the zombies. Once a path is cleared the group makes it inside and has a joyful reunion with the survivors. (Otis was the only casualty.) The next few weeks are spent clearing out the remaining zombies from the prison yard.
As things settle down, Rick notices that Martinez goes missing. Fearing the worst, Rick leaves the prison in the RV. Sure enough, he finds Martinez running back to Woodbury. Rick runs him over with the RV and then steps out to strangle Martinez to death.
The Calm Before the Storm
Rick relates to the group Martinez's plan and informs them that Woodbury may retaliate at any time. He has the team begin preparations for defending themselves, as well as being able to escape if necessary.
As they wait, Glenn decides he wants to marry Maggie. He scours the dead zombies until he finds a suitable wedding ring. Hershel approves of Glenn's plan almost immediately, provided the two don't get pregnant. After a proposal and a wedding officiated by Hershel, the two are as married as this world will let them be.
In evaluating their stores, Dale and Rick come to the conclusion that they need more weapons. A group is assembled to find a National Guard station that the Governor admitted to using that was near Woodbury. The group finds the station and spreads out to collect as much as the can. It is already pretty well picked over, but they do find some cases of grenades, some guns, gasoline, and a large military truck. As a parting shot to Woodbury, the group ignites a gas main and blows up the station.
On their way back to the prison, the group stops by a Wal-Mart. Before they can leave, however, some Woodbury men drop in. Glenn tries to talk to them peacefully but they shoot him in the chest. Andrea shoots a man while Michonne does some sword work on another two. The last man gets shot by Andrea. The team is relieved to know that Glenn's riot gear saved him. The group makes for the prison without further delay.
That night proves time for Lori to deliver her baby. Rick rushes her to the infirmary and Alice barks orders to get everything ready. With the day ending, she instructs Billy to make sure that the generator stays on while she delivers the baby. Billy gets a shock when he finds that the gas is about empty. Enlisting Dale's help, he runs out to the parking lot to siphon more gas. Things go smoothly until Dale gets bit in the ankle. Billy loses sight of Dale and panics and runs back to the prison. The National Guard group returns at this time and Billy tells them what is happening. Dale crawls from dark and orders the group to get him inside. Dale is brought to the infirmary as Lori delivers her little girl. The team determines to try another amputation, this time in a not-so-crude manner. Alice can't do it, however, and Rick steps up to try again. Dale passes out but gets some good care from Alice. Lori names her baby Judith.
Things settle down for the group. Hershel goes back to working on the garden, Dale recovers nicely from his amputation, and Lori embraces her role as a new mom. Not to let their guard down, the team begins packing the new military truck with supplies and taking target practice. Andrea even leads a few of the better shots outside the prison fences to get some "live" targets. They also have a secondary purpose: Alice wants a zombie to study. They tie one up in the prison yard. Rick is adamantly against it but Alice convinces him to let her try studying it for some clues as to what makes them tick. Rick very reluctantly agrees.
This proves to be a mistake. Carol, who has devolved into all kinds of crazy, seduces Billy and then confronts the zombie in the prison yard. Looking for a friend, Carol gets far too close and is attacked. She dies happy, having found someone who accepts her. Tyreese is grief-stricken and holds Carol's body. It reanimates and Andrea shoots zombie Carol in the head.
Sobered, the group gets back to preparing for the Woodbury attack. They find vantage points on towers, pack more supplies, and try to live life as normally as possible. Glenn and Maggie try to get pregnant. Andrea and Tyreese make Dale a peg leg (which eases his mind, as he thought Andrea was sneaking around on him). Finally, Woodbury rolls up.
The citizens of Woodbury have military trucks and a tank. A mutilated yet recovered Governor leads them. Woodbury opens fire on the zombies outside the prison fence and Rick's group tries to take cover on the ground of the prison yard to avoid any stray bullets. Rick bolts inside to protect his family and Andrea risk herself to get to the tower to try and pick some people off. Andrea's first target is the Governor himself. Her helmet gets in the way and she only manages to hit him in his bulletproof vest. Once the helmet is removed she is far more effective. The Governor finds her spot on the tower and orders his men to shoot her. She gets grazed on the head. The Governor then uses his tank to run over zombies so that his men can get clearer shots to the people on the ground. Rick's group stays pinned to the ground. Axel is shot and things start looking pretty grim. Andrea comes to her senses, however, and Glenn takes up another spot on a tower and start sniping the Woodbury folk. The Governor sees no other option than to pull back for the time. In the aftermath, Andrea and Axel get treated for their wounds. Rick, it seems, was also shot. His is a bit more serious, though, as it was to his gut. Having lost a lot of blood, Rick needs a transfusion. Luckily, Patricia is an O-negative. She can give to anyone. All the group can do is wait once the blood transfusion is performed.
Waiting begets ideas. Dale and Andrea figure to leave in the RV with whomever is willing to go with them. Some of the group is upset, but the two are able to take the kids, along with Glenn and Maggie.
Michonne talks Tyreese into doing a mini-hunt for any Woodbury stragglers. They head for the trees in their riot gear and soon come on a small post of men. Michonne leaps into action and she and Tyreese do their best to take out as many people as they can. The people from Woodbury prove too powerful and they take Tyreese hostage. Michonne escapes but is shot before she can get completely clear. Tyreese is taken before the Governor.
Death of a Friend
At the prison, more preparations are made. Rick is mobile and not only works on a group-wide evacuation plan, but also a family evacuation plan. He gives Carl a gun and a backpack with supplies. With preparations still under way, a military truck rolls up. The Governor steps out with Tyreese in tow. Tyreese has been beaten and he is tied up. The Governor proposes Tyreese's life for the prison. With no answer, the Governor chops off Tyreese's head with Michonne's samurai sword and leaves, flabbergasted that they wouldn't spare their friend's life.
The Final Stand
The team is shocked over Tyreese's death, but Rick still tries to get them prepared for the inevitable Woodbury follow-up attack. Sure enough, the trucks roll up and begin another attack on the prison. Rick has everyone get low since Woodbury will have to shoot over all the zombies outside the prison. Axel is too slow to take cover and takes a bullet between the eyes. Things seem to swing their way, however, when Billy starts hucking grenades over the fence and when Andrea shows up in Dale's RV to start picking people off from behind enemy lines. The Governor panics and orders a man to drive a truck into Andrea's position while he takes the tank and smashes down the prison gates. Taken completely by surprise, the group scrambles to get to their getaway vehicles. Rick runs to grab his family inside the prison. Outside, Patricia and then Billy get shot in the head. Alice is the next to die when she tries to take out the Governor. Rick's family makes it outside and makes a break for it. The Governor sees their flight and orders them shot. Lori is shot in the back and she falls on Judith, both dying. Rick forces Carl on and reaches safety. Hershel simply gives up and kneels before the Woodbury forces and begs to die. The Governor obliges and shoots him in the head.
On Their Own
As the last two members, Rick and Carl dodge zombies until they find a small community in which to lay low.
In a nearby deserted town, Rick took refuge with Carl, devastated by the loss of his wife and new baby. They soon met up with the remaining escapees from the prison, and decided to move on when a new group of survivors ( Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene) appeared and informed them that the entire plague could be stopped if they could get to Washington, D.C. A small contingent of the group diverted to Rick's nearby sheriff station for ammo and supplies, picking up his neighbor Morgan on the way back. With Morgan now in tow, the small group discovered that the walkers were beginning to herd together, becoming more dangerous than ever.
Continuing on their path to the capitol, the group endured many hardships including encountering a tortured minister who had let his people die to save himself ( Gabriel), having to deal with one of the children being killed at the hands of another, and being attacked by cannibals who, much like the zombies, were intent on eating their flesh.
Reaching just outside of the capitol, the group was approached by a lone stranger (Aaron), who claimed to had been watching them for awhile and extended an invitation to come live in his safe community. Upon learning the truth about the non-existent cure to the plague, they decide to go with him. They were brought into a small community named Alexandria with impressive walls built around the outside. Inside, they were astonished to find friendly survivors who lived very close to the way things were before the apocalypse. As they settled in, suspicions arised in both groups, and Rick and Carl struggled to return to a 'normal' life.