Whether you are a beginner to The Walking Dead TV show, the comics or both, it has never been a better time to jump right in. I will detail the basics of what you need to know for jumping into TWD season 5 or any issue of the comics after #132.
What you need to know for the TV Series:
Rick, a Sheriff, wakes up from a coma in a hospital only to discover that the dead are walking. He eventually meets up with some survivors in Atlanta. With Rick’s help, these trapped survivors make their way back to their base camp in the hills surrounding Atlanta. Rick is relieved to find his family, wife: Lori and son: Carl, at the camp. Time passes, a horde of walkers attack the camp, and they leave the camp. Rick leads the group to the CDC, only to find out it is not the safe haven he had hoped. Some members of the group elect to stay behind and get killed when the CDC cleanses itself, while Rick and the others escape and head off to a destination unknown. Rick learns a terrible secret from the CDC that everyone is infected, no matter if they are bitten. So ends, season 1.
Rick and the group get trapped on a highway by a large herd of zombies due to a radiator hose break in Dale’s RV. The group hides under cars, but Sophia cries and makes a run for it. Rick chases after her and the zombies following her. Rick tells Sophia to stay put while he lures the zombies away to kill them. After killing the zombies, Rick returns to where he left Sophia only to discover she is gone. The groups organizes a search effort but to no avail. While Carl is admiring a stag in the forest, he is critically wounded from the shot of a hunter who was aiming at the deer. Carl is brought to a farmhouse where the patriarch is Hershel, who is a veterinarian. Hershel attends to Carl. The group elects to stay at the highway to wait for Sophia while Carl is wounded. Shane and Otis head out to a FEMA evacuation center to get surgical supplies for Carl. While there, Shane sacrifices Otis to save his own life and get Carl the supplies he needed. Eventually, the groups moves to the farm. Lori reveals to Rick she is pregnant. Later on, Glen lets slip that there are walkers in the barn, that Hershel and his family have been feeding believing they are still people. The group decides to take matters into their own hands and massacre every walker in the barn, the last walker to step out was Sophia whom Rick shot in the head while the rest of the group looked upset and stunned. Later on, Rick and Shane argue over who would be a better father. Rick knowing that Shane wants to murder him, pulls a knife on a distracted Shane and kills him. Carl shows up and draws a gun on his father, but instead of shooting his father, he shoots a reanimated Shane who had turned without a scratch or bite. The gunshot alerts a horde of walkers nearby and they advance on the farm. The farm is overrun by the herd of walkers and the group manages to escape except Andrea who gets separated from the rest of the group. Rick reveals to the group after they all had reunited, except Andrea, that they are all infected and that he is the leader. And so ends, season 2.
Sometime has passed since the events of season 2. Rick and the group discover the prison and decide that the place is perfect to live in especially for Lori who is still with child. Rick and others manage to clear out the zombies in the yard and move on to secure a cell block. Hershel is bit in the leg which Rick amputates to keep the infection at bay. Inside the prison, the group meets 5 prisoners who managed to survive. Andrea, who is separated from the group, is rescued by a mysterious figure who turns out to be the awesome Michonne. Together, they make their way to a town called Woodbury. Woodbury is run by a person called The Governor. Lori gives birth in the prison but dies while Maggie performs a C-section. Carl is forced to kill his mother, but his baby sister survives. Rick is devastated by the loss of his wife. Michonne ends up leaving Woodbury after finding some caged walkers while Andrea stays. Merle and some other Governor lackeys pursue Michonne. Michonne ends up killing the lackeys but Merle escapes. While on a supply run, Maggie and Glen are captured by Merle who takes them to Woodbury. The Governor has both of them interrogated for information on the group. Maggie relents and tells them about the prison and the group. Michonne makes it to the prison and tells Rick what happened to Maggie and Glen. Rick, Michonne, and a few others set out to Woodbury to rescue them. Rick and the others infiltrate Woodbury. Rick and the others find Glen and Maggie. Glen tells Daryl that his brother, Merle, is alive and working for The Governor. Michonne sneaks into The Governors apartment and finds his secret room which houses Penny, his walker daughter. Just as Michonne is going to execute Penny, The Governor walks in pleading with her to not hurt her. Michonne stabs Penny through the head and The Governor attacks Michonne. Michonne manages to grab a piece of glass as the two fight and stab The Governor in the eye. Michonne prepares to finish him off as Andrea walks in and draws her gun on Michonne. Michonne flees as The Governor cradles Penny’s dead body. The Governor is upset and tells his group that they were attacked by bad people and that Merle betrayed Woodbury. He orders Daryl, who was captured, and Merle to fight in the arena. Rick and his group manage to throw a gas grenade into the arena allowing them to rescue Merle and Daryl. The group gets back to the prison. The Governor in retaliation, attacks the prison with members of his group, leaving some walkers present in the yard. Rick and the others survived the attack. The Governor returns to Woodbury. He then recruits any resident age 13 and up to fight. Rick and The Governor meet at a barn to discuss things. The Governor issues an ultimatum to hand over Michonne and the war is over. He gives Rick two days to decide. Back in Woodbury, The Governor knows that they are going to have to kill Rick sooner or later, so he gives the word that they are going to war. Back at the prison, Rick tells his people that they are going to war also. Andrea leaves Woodbury, only to be caught by The Governor. Merle goes to The Governor’s meeting spot to assassinate The Governor. Only killing a few of his men, Merle is captured by The Governor and is killed. The Governor allowed Merle to turn. Daryl shows up later only to find his brother’s walking corpse. He is upset and stabs Merle in the head multiple times while crying. The Governor attacks the prison once again only to find it is seemingly abandoned. It is a trap for The Governor and his men. The Governor’s army quickly flees in the confusion. Rick and the others decide to chase after the Governor and his men. The Governor, meanwhile, stops his retreating men in the middle of the road asking them why they left and are not fighting. The army refuses to fight at which point The Governor guns down all of them in slaughter except 2 of his loyal friends. The Governor gets into a car and drives away. Rick and the others find The Governor’s handy work and discover there is one lone survivor, Karen. Rick and the others return to Woodbury to find Andrea bitten in the interrogation. Michonne puts Andrea down. Rick takes the Woodbury survivors to the prison. So ends, season 3.
Season 4, begins 30 days after the events of season 3. Basically in this season: The Governor finds another group, becomes leader, and convinces them to attack the prison again. He successfully attacks the prison with a tank, killing Hershel. Rick and The Governor get into a big fight. And just when The Governor is about to win and kill Rick, Michonne shows up and puts her katana into The Governor’s chest. Everyone flees the prison, becoming separated. Beth and Daryl get together as a group. Carol, who was kicked out the prison prior to the attack, meets up with Tyreese and Judith, Carl’s baby sister, and the two kids, Lizzie and Mika. Bob, Sasha, and Maggie get together as a group. Michonne meets up with Carl and Rick. Glen who wakes up at the prison meets up with Tara, one of The Governor’s new group. They manage to get out of the walker infested prison and meet up with Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene who are on their way to D.C. Eugene claims to know how the virus started and how to stop it, but they have to get to D.C. Carol has to kill Lizzie because Lizzie killed her sister believing that she will come back and is not a threat as a zombie. Beth is taken by an unknown stranger, and Daryl eventually finds Rick and his group. Eventually, all the groups, except Carol’s, make their way to a sanctuary called Terminus. The groups are put into a train car, and this is where season 4 ends.
What you need to know for the comic series:
The only thing one needs to know in order to jump into the comics right now is the all-out war plot. Anyone who doesn’t show up in the aftermath is dead and you do not have to worry about them. Basically, Rick and the survivors of Alexandria Sanctuary unite The Kingdom and Hilltop against an evil villain, named Negan. Rick, eventually succeeds in beating Negan. But instead of killing him, he captures Negan. The next issue of the series after the aftermath, is set two years after. Rick and the two other groups of survivors managed to create a thriving civilization with trade and are able to herd walkers. Rick is a legendary hero to all. Carl begins apprenticing at the Blacksmith at Hilltop while Maggie is in charge of Hilltop. A new group of survivors arrive in Alexandria led by Magna. The latest issue ends with Dante discovering that the dead can talk. But these dead are actually disguised humans wearing walker faces.
There you have it, the basics to jumping into The Walking Dead, be it the comics or the TV series. If you need more TWD, be sure to check out Telltale’s The Walking Dead video game available on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and IOS. It will also be released for next gen. It is a brilliant storytelling of TWD universe through the eyes of a girl named Clementine.