‘The Walking Dead’: Here’s What Happens to Ezekiel in the Comics

King Ezekiel sits on his throne, thoughtful

King Ezekiel | Image Comics

From the moment we first met King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), we knew that he was a different kind of Walking Dead leader. He has a flare for the dramatic. He’s honed a clever ability to both appease and undermine Negan. He keeps a freaking tiger as a pet. In other words, he’s been a mysterious and intriguing force since he appeared. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much of a chance to get to know him yet — or to figure out how he’ll play into the series’ bigger picture.

Ezekiel first appeared in the episode, “The Well.” In that hour, we learned a bit about him — but not as much as we would have liked. He was an actor before the apocalypse, and relies on his charisma and relationships to get by. He also has a unique way of interacting with both his allies and his enemies, one that could serve Alexandria and the Hilltop well. In “The Well,” he also forged a bond with Carol, whom he’s chosen to let live just outside of his Kingdom.

Given his grand entrance and the ties he’s already created with core Walking Dead characters, it’s pretty clear that Ezekiel will play a larger role later on. We can also glean a fair amount of what that role may be based on how his story developed in Robert Kirkman’s comic. Though some changes have already been made to Ezekiel’s storyline, others could easily play out similarly on screen. Here’s everything that happens to Ezekiel in The Walking Dead comic book series.

His introduction to the series was a bit different

A panel from 'The Walking Dead' comics shows King Ezekiel saying "Let's try a do-over. Hi, my name's Ezekiel. It's nice to meet you."

King Ezekiel | Image Comics

King Ezekiel first appeared in The Walking Dead comic in Issue 108. Like in the AMC series, he immediately came off as eccentric, flamboyant, and exceedingly confident. However, unlike the televised version of TWD, Ezekiel never met Carol or Morgan because they were both long dead. Instead, he came to know Rick first, by way of an introduction from Jesus Monroe. As it turned out, the Hilltop had been trading with Ezekiel’s Kingdom for quite some time.

Ezekiel was integrated into the larger storyline of The Walking Dead comics much quicker than he has been on the TV series, too. Within a couple of issues, several Alexandrians had already visited the Kingdom, and Ezekiel was helping both the Safe Zone and Hilltop form a plan to defeat Negan and the Saviors.

He cozied up to Michonne

In a panel from 'The Walking Dead' comic books. Ezekiel and Michonne stand together and she says, "And this is the real you?"

King Ezekiel and Michonne | Image Comics

Some Walking Dead fans have speculated that Ezekiel and Carol might end up in a romantic relationship, based on their interactions in “The Well.” But in the comic’s version of events, the Kingdom’s leader had eyes for someone else. Though he and Michonne first struggled to get along, they were attracted to one another, and eventually became very close. In Issue 115, they became lovers. Michonne insisted at first that their connection meant nothing to her. But they eventually formed a deep bond, and started to look out for one another as Alexandria’s confrontation with the Saviors escalated.

Sadly, Michonne and Ezekiel’s love affair didn’t last. Though the date isn’t exactly clear, since there’s a two-year time jump in the comic series, at some point after the war, they went their separate ways. Michonne left the Kingdom by boat with a crew of fellow survivors. When she finally returned, she wanted nothing to do with Ezekiel. At least, that is until it was too late.

He played a big role in the war against the Saviors

In a panel from the comic books, Ezekiel holds a sword and says, "I can handle this. Stay back."

Ezekiel | Image Comics

Given how the first part of Season 7 ended, it seems like a no-brainer that Rick and his allies will end up battling the Saviors. And that’s pretty much how it went down in the comics as well. Beginning in Issue 115, Alexandria’s leader brought his newly formed army — which also includes some fighters from Hilltop and the Kingdom — straight to Negan’s doorstep. The battles between the warring factions last for several issues of The Walking Dead series, and Ezekiel played a vital role in ensuring his side’s victory.

Not only did he prove to be a worthy fighter, but he stepped up as a leader on more than one occasion. That included taking Kingdom fighters to a Savior outpost in Issue 118 and putting his own life in danger to help rescue trapped civilians when Negan attacked Alexandria in Issue 120. All of the carnage took its toll on Ezekiel. He felt guilt over putting others’ lives at risk, and questioned whether the massive loss of life was worth it.

He lost Shiva

In a panel from the Walking Dead comics, Shiva pounces on a victim.

Shiva | Image Comics

Like her owner, we’ve seen little of Shiva so far in AMC’s The Walking Dead. She played a pretty big role in Ezekiel’s comic book storylines, though, up to and during the war. Shiva was by Ezekiel’s side and attacked several Saviors, causing them to retreat, in Issue 114. It looked like she might save the day again during an ambush at an outpost, but instead things took a tragic turn.

In Issue 118, Shiva sacrificed herself to save Ezekiel from a horde of zombies. After she was devoured, he fell into a deep depression, lamenting the fact that she had died and he had lived. Though she was only around for a fraction of The Walking Dead‘s story, her presence was vital in Ezekiel’s life, and her loss forever changed him.

He met a grisly end

In a panel from 'The Walking Dead' comics, King Ezekiel's decapitated head is stabbed.

King Ezekiel | Image Comics

Like so many other characters that came before and after him, King Ezekiel’s days in The Walking Dead universe were numbered. In Issue 143, after hearing that Michonne, who’d recently left the Kingdom once more, might still have feelings for him, he decided to try to find her. That was sadly the last readers saw of him alive. In Issue 144, Michonne, Andrea, and a few other survivors encounter a line of decapitated heads on stakes. They were left by the Whisperers, a new enemy faction, as a warning to Rick’s group. And among the heads was Ezekiel’s.

His friends and former allies were understandably crushed. Ezekiel’s death wasn’t just a shock to readers. It reaffirmed to Rick that the Whisperers were a huge threat.

It’s hard to know for sure how much of Ezekiel’s original story will make it into AMC’s version of The Walking Dead. He could stick around for much longer, or may even bite the dust long before the Whisperers enter the picture. But one thing seems pretty certain: he’ll play a much bigger role as the series progresses.

Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox

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