|Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility."
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|“||I'm better now. I've been in my own head, full of my self, full of shit, for a little bit, but it was only because of my grief. Still I want you to know that's over. I can fight. I have to fight. My people depend on me. And I don't want anyone to suffer the kind of loss I have. That's worth fighting for... Fighting though this for. For I'm better than this. What you've seen the last few days... That's not me. Not really. I don't even know how you put up with me. You're strong... Stronger than I could ever be. I don't want you to lose respect for me because I was weak. This was just a practice run. I'll do better tomorrow... When you're awake.||„|
|~ Ezekiel to Michonne in Issue 122|
Ezekiel, more commonly known as "King" Ezekiel, is a main character first introduced in Issue 108 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead. He is the self-proclaimed "King" of a community called 'The Kingdom', the namesake of his own community. Ezekiel had a pet tiger named Shiva. Ezekiel is a friend of the Hilltop Colony and a close friend to Paul "Jesus" Monroe. He also has a strong hatred for The Saviors, which caused Paul to bring Rick Grimes to him in the hopes of collaborating to defeat The Saviors. Two years after defeating Negan and The Saviors, Ezekiel is murdered by Alpha and the Whisperers and has his reanimated head placed on a pike, along with Rosita Espinosa and several other members from Alexandria, The Hilltop, The Kingdom and The Sanctuary.
Ezekiel is an eccentric, affable, and somewhat flamboyant older man. He is charismatic and possesses an aura of wisdom. He is perceived by many as arrogant due to his his theatrics as the "king" of his people, and Ezekiel admits such views to be somewhat true.
Ezekiel is very confident in his presence. He generally keeps a cool head and a friendly demeanor, reveling in the respect others have for him. However, he is revealed to be relatively insecure, as seen during the All-Out War and his post-timeskip relations with Michonne. This insecurity juxtaposes his outward appearance, and he wishes for his "subjects" not to see him as weak. He is very optimistic, but he takes failures very hard.
Not much is known about Ezekiel's life before or as the outbreak began. It is stated in Issue 110 that Ezekiel was a zookeeper and he knew Shiva since she was born. It is speculated that he lived in or near Washington, D.C., where he states he also had a theater background. Ezekiel later reveals that his father died when he was young and his mother never earned the right to that title.
Ezekiel (referred to as "King Ezekiel" by his fellow citizens) is the leader of a community known as The Kingdom. At some point, Ezekiel met and formed a friendship with Paul Monroe who invited his community to join a trading network that includes the Hilltop community Paul belongs to. He later discovered The Saviors were threatening and harassing the other communities in the trade network in exchange for supplies and possibly saw how vicious their leader, Negan really was (despite the truce offered by The Saviors). He bided his time and waited for the opportune moment to strike back against "this tyrant". The opportunity Ezekiel was waiting for finally came when Paul brought Rick Grimes to meet him and passed on the information that they had regarding the Saviors' strength and the location of their main base of operations.
Ezekiel forms an alliance between Rick, Paul, and Dwight to take down Negan and the Saviors. At first, Ezekiel acts like an adviser, telling Rick and Paul that they should first focus on overtaking the Saviors outposts in the area. Doing so will give them a foothold and can cause them to whittle away their numbers gradually, while they move on closer to the foundry. When asked by Rick if he's made contact with Dwight, Ezekiel says that they must be patient before Dwight can reveal himself. During one of Rick's trips to the Kingdom, he brings along several residents from Alexandria, including Michonne, who catches Ezekiel's interest. Initially Michonne scorns him, leading to them crossing swords against one another. Later that night, however, the two share some of their past and each lightly flirt with the other.
Ezekiel is later seen leading his forces towards Alexandria. They are able to get there in time to save Rick and several other members of Alexandria. When Negan escapes, Rick wants to follow them but Ezekiel reminds him that they are still outnumbered by the Saviors. He is later seen inside Alexandria talking to Paul, who comments that he thought Ezekiel had abandoned him; Ezekiel says that he had to get his men close without being spotted and that there's much to discuss. Like Negan and Paul, Ezekiel is impressed with Alexandria and comments to Rick that he "vastly undersold this community" and that it is "spectacular... definitely worth fighting for."
Ezekiel is seen sleeping with Michonne in her house in Alexandria. Michonne informs Ezekiel that this meant nothing and that it has the potential to eventually be something. Ezekiel informs her that he can work with potential and heads downstairs to check on Shiva. He finds Michonne making coffee and informs her that Shiva was very well behaved and "she shit in your tub." Michonne asks him if he is being serious and he says he is, however they are interrupted by The Kingdom's head of security Richard, who informs Ezekiel that the buses are stationed outside the gates as he requested. Ezekiel tells Richard to inform Rick and the others immediately.
He is later seen meeting with Rick, Andrea, Paul and Kal in Father Gabriel's church. They discuss the plans for the upcoming war for one final time before deciding to depart for The Sanctuary. While on the road to The Sanctuary the group decides to stop one mile from Sanctuary to fully prepare for the upcoming conflict. Ezekiel finds Rick and Paul talking and when he approaches Rick asks him if his men know to lookout for snipers. Ezekiel says they are prepared and Rick walks off declaring that it is time to get into position.
Ezekiel alongside over one hundred men from Alexandria, Hilltop and The Kingdom arrive outside the gates of Sanctuary. They are immediately confronted by Negan, who informs them that he is not scared of their forces. Rick offers Negan a chance for surrender, however after reveling that Gregory and the Hilltop have sided with The Saviors eight men from the Hilltop leave Rick's force to depart back to Hilltop. However Rick does not back down and says his offer of surrender still stands. Negan tells Rick he does not accept and Savior snipers open fire on Ezekiel and the rest of the force. Ezekiel quickly moves into cover behind a bus and orders one of his men to take out a Savior snipers on the roof. He does so and Ezekiel's men continue to take down more Savior snipers. After a few minutes of gunfire a large herd of zombies approaches The Sanctuary having been drawn by the battle's noise. Ezekiel quickly orders everyone onto buses, he is interrupted by Michonne who asks Ezekiel what he was waiting for. He replies by saying that he was waiting for her and they both quickly escape into one of the buses.
During the aftermath of attacking the Sanctuary, Ezekiel splits off from the main army and takes a group out to conquer one of the Savior outposts nearby. To his great shock and dismay, the Saviors lured them inside and mowed down nearly all of them. Richard is among those who are shot and Ezekiel tries to assure him the he'll survive, but Richard dies in Ezekiel's arms. Enraged, he reaches for a shotgun from one of his deceased teammates, but the man has already turned and nearly bites him. Shocked by how quickly he turned, Ezekiel bashes the man's skull in and faces the remaining Saviors. Unbeknownst to them roamers arrive, diverting the Savior's attention and allowing Ezekiel to escape. He loses them in the woods, but trips and falls in a river. Several roamers arrive but Shiva arrives and saves him. He turns towards Shiva but is saddened by the sight he sees; more roamers arrived and surround Shiva who valiantly tries to fight them off, but is unsuccessful. He returns back to Alexandria alone and breaks down to Michonne, explaining everything that had happened. He reveals that although he is seen as a leader, he had never before asked friends to lay down their lives and die for him or a greater good. Michonne comforts him while he ruefully wishing that he was the one who died; he would have been seen as a hero and a sacrifice to rally behind, "but most of all... I wouldn't have lost Shiva."
Still grieving over Shiva and his men's deaths, Ezekiel tells a worried Michonne of his troubles. He tells her that he never really had a family and that his men and Shiva were the closest he would ever get to having one. He goes onto to say that now they are dead, he does not want to go on being leader, saying that he has failed to protect those that looked upon him for guidance. Michonne responds by punching him in the face and a shocked Ezekiel asks why. Michonne tells him that he is being a "pussy" and that families back at The Kingdom are still trusting him to lead. She then walks off angrily leaving Ezekiel to collect his thoughts. When the Saviors begin to bomb Alexandria, Ezekiel advises that he and Michonne run off to safety, but Michonne wants them to stay behind to help out the residents of Alexandria.
As a result of all the casualties suffered thus far, Ezekiel has spiraled into a deep depression. When informed by Rick that they are moving to the Hilltop to plan their next attack, Ezekiel questions how many more need to die and says they've already lost. He further tells Rick that he's through and states that he is heading back to The Kingdom with any survivors he has left. Rick persuades Ezekiel that if they stop now, The Saviors will wipe them out and pleads that he go to the Hilltop with them or at the very least, consider it. Ezekiel reluctantly tells him that he will think it over and Rick tells him that is all he wants to hear.
After the rest of Rick's forces leave for Hilltop, Ezekiel stays behind with Michonne, and his forces, at the ruins of Alexandria. After spending a night there, Ezekiel apologizes to Michonne for his cowardice over the previous days, telling her that his real-self just needed some time, and that he is ready to fight The Saviors again.
Over the next week, Ezekiel, along with his remaining forces from The Kingdom, travel to the Hilltop, making it their new home in an effort to have all available people at one place to combat The Saviors. He later joins a meeting with Rick, and a few other people, to discuss war plans against Negan; Ezekiel saying that he is prepared to do whatever it takes to win.
Ezekiel is seen alongside Michonne, springing to action when The Saviors smash through the Hilltop's main gates. Ezekiel and Michonne quickly take cover behind one of the Hilltop's buildings, Ezekiel saying that the battle for Hilltop can't end up like the one at Alexandria. However, Ezekiel is almost caught off-guard by a lone Savior, who manages to stab one of Ezekiel's fighters, Marcus, through the stomach. Michonne quickly stabs the Savior through the stomach, telling Ezekiel she will get Marcus to the Hilltop infirmary if he can cover her. Ezekiel does so, stepping out from behind cover and opening fire on The Saviors. Soon after, he and Michonne distract the Saviors by turning on their car lights, and then open fires on them along with several other members of the group.
In the aftermath of the battle he, along with Paul, Michonne, Aaron, and others create a team to cover Rick while he negotiates with Negan.
After the confrontation is over and Negan taken into custody, Ezekiel returns to The Kingdom with his people and Michonne.
Ezekiel leads a group of Kingdom-members to the coast, where they meet with Rick and his group as they await Michonne and her crew's arrival. He reveals that Michonne had left the Kingdom at one point. Michonne arrives and mostly ignores Ezekiel, which hurts him.
Several days later at the community fair, Ezekiel briefly speaks to Earl Sutton before speaking with Pete, who tells him that he believes the recently left Michonne still has feelings for him. He decides to go after her. Ezekiel is decapitated by Alpha and his head is later discovered by Rick.
Michonne tears up after seeing Ezekiel's zombified head on the pike and attempts to put him down. Though Rick tries to prevent her, she retaliates before breaking down. Andrea takes the knife from her and puts him to rest. His head is later buried at the foot of the pike along with the others.
Alpha disguises herself as one of Rick's people and infiltrates the fair grounds. Gradually, she begins luring people off the fairgrounds and decapitating them, then placing their heads on wooden pikes to mark the border between the land belonging to the Whisperers and Rick's communities, with Ezekiel being among them. Later his zombified head is put down by Andrea.
This list shows the victims Ezekiel has killed:
- At least 1 unnamed Savior
- Shiva (Accidentally and Indirectly Caused)
- Numerous counts of zombies and possibly unnamed people
- Ezekiel is one of the characters Robert Kirkman misses and regrets killing.
- The name Ezekiel may refer to a Hebrew prophet of the 6th century B.C.E., who prophesied the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation.
- Robert Kirkman stated in #113's Letter Hacks that he could be the smartest person in the Comic Series.
- Ezekiel's cane is a Shikomizue, a Japanese sword mounting meant to conceal a sword in the guise of a cane.
- Ezekiel is Michonne's second lover to be decapitated.
|“||I made my own world here. I found a way to deal with the bad by going a little overboard with all the good. I just...embraced the contradiction. Maybe you could, too, in your own way. Like, maybe you could go... and not go.||„|
|~ Ezekiel to Carol Peletier in The Well|
Ezekiel is portrayed by Khary Payton in the TV Series, who has also portrayed Cyborg.
Ezekiel is described as "wise" and "theatrical." He is known to be caring for others, doing whatever he can for his people, including role playing royalty. Nonetheless, he does seem to be somewhat pompous and enjoys the spotlight. As well as his unusual first name, he uses his experiences in theatre to create a highly flamboyant, charismatic king, and speaks in a Shakespearean like manner, often referring himself in the third person.
Ezekiel was a zookeeper in the same zoo where Shiva was kept. He saved her life when her leg was badly injured after she fell in a moat. Using his shirt to stop the bleeding, Shiva was saved and Ezekiel gained respect from the tiger. He also stated he used to perform in community theatre, playing many kings.
At some point after the outbreak, Ezekiel formed a community named 'the Kingdom' where his charismatic nature, tendency for theatrics and high respect by others firmly established his leadership position. He then proclaimed himself "King" with the support of his people. Later, he ordered the clearing of buildings to either expand or further safeguard the community. During one of these missions eight of his men were killed, including the father of Benjamin who was a close friend of him. This incident made him more careful. Sometime after this he encountered the Saviors, who most likely executed one of his men in an effort to force them into subjugation. Ezekiel eventually accepted their terms, but kept the deal hidden from his people for fear they would want to fight. His leadership was successful and the Kingdom became a thriving community.
Ezekiel sits on a throne in a theater auditorium with his tiger, Shiva, chained at his side. Ezekiel dramatically introduces himself to Carol and welcomes her to The Kingdom. Carol, in the meek persona she used with the Alexandrians, pretends to be in awe of The Kingdom. Ezekiel offers her fruit, suggesting she at least take the pomegranate; Carol politely declines and thanks Ezekiel.
Ezekiel, Morgan and a small team leave The Kingdom in two trucks. They hunt pigs in a nearby city, corralling them into a building where a tied up walker awaits. The pigs devour the walker. Ezekiel turns to one of his men, Richard, and tells him it’s a job well done. Richard states, “it’s just what we needed.” Morgan asks why they bait the pigs with walkers. Richard says that he wants their bellies “full of rot.”
Walkers approach Ezekiel’s group. Richard instructs Benjamin, a teenage boy, to kill a nearby walker with a machete. Benjamin struggles with the walker; Ezekiel unsheathes his sword and stabs it in the head. Richard tells Morgan to keep the pig hunt a secret from The Kingdommers.
Back at The Kingdom, Ezekiel praises Morgan’s skill with the fighting stick and asks him to train Benjamin. Morgan agrees.
Ezekiel approaches Morgan and Benjamin when they are taking a break from training and asks them to join him. Ezekiel and his group wait in a parking lot with a shipment of slaughtered pigs. A group of Saviors arrive. Gavin, the leader, counts the pigs and is pleased to find that they’re bigger than the last shipment. Richard remarks that they fed the pigs well. As they load up the trucks, a Savior picks a fight with Richard. Ezekiel orders his people to lower their weapons and Gavin tells his man to stop punching Richard. Gavin reminds Ezekiel that the following week is a produce week. He warns Ezekiel that Richard will be the first to die if they deliver less than requested.
That night, Ezekiel catches Carol picking fruit from the garden as she prepares to leave The Kingdom. She adopts her demure persona and Ezekiel tells her not to bullshit a bullshitter. “You’re a joke,” she tells him. He uses his normal voice and confesses that he’s putting on an act and that Shiva, contrary to the heroic stories that residents have told about him, is a tiger that he nursed back to health when he was a zookeeper. He explains that people wanted to ascribe him a leadership role because it’s human nature for them to feel safer when they have someone to follow. “I just want to go,” Carol says. Ezekiel encourages her to embrace life and suggests a plan that would allow her to “go and not go.”
As Carol stokes a fire in her new home, there’s a knock at the door; it’s Ezekiel and Shiva. He offers her a pomegranate. She smiles.
Jesus takes Rick Grimes and the Alexandrians to the Kingdom to meet with Ezekiel in hopes of forging an alliance between Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom to defeat the Saviors. Ezekiel is happy to see Jesus and asks if Rick and his friends are new allies, he says they are. Rick offers the plan of an alliance against the Saviors, which Ezekiel ponders heavily. Ezekiel reprimands Jesus for telling Rick about his deal with the Saviors. They plead their case; in the process, Richard urges Ezekiel to fight the Saviors before things get worse, Morgan, asked for his opinion by Ezekiel himself, advises that they must find a non-violent course.
Ezekiel agrees to give Rick his decision in the morning and invites them to stay the night.
Ezekiel puts Henry, Benjamin’s younger brother, down to bed. Benjamin urges Ezekiel to help Rick’s group fight against the Saviors. Ezekiel thanks him for his counsel. The next morning, Ezekiel explains to Rick that even though the Kingdom seems idyllic, they had to fight for it. He states that previous attempts of expansion and fighting has gotten people killed, leaving children parentless and loved ones devastated, that's why he refuses to violate the peace he holds with the Saviors. However, he offers asylum in the Kingdom to Daryl Dixon who recently escaped the Saviors' custody, telling the Alexandrians that Daryl will be safe in the Kingdom. Daryl ultimately takes Ezekiel's asylum offer with Rick suggesting that Daryl use the opportunity to change Ezekiel's mind.
Ezekiel, Morgan and other members of The Kingdom are waiting at the pickup location for the Saviors’ collections. Dianne shoots a walker with a bow, stating it had the same dress as her sister. The Saviors arrive and Gavin comments that the drop looks light, but Ezekiel assures him they have met their obligations and Gavin agrees. Jared says that he wants Richard's gun and the two men face off. Ezekiel tells Richard to hand over his gun, which he reluctantly does. When Jared lunges at Richard, Morgan strikes him with his staff. Jared seizes the staff and hits Morgan with it, so Benjamin strikes Jared and sends him to the floor. Ezekiel bans Richard from attending future exchanges but Gavin stops him and tells him to keep bringing Richard, and he will keep his word to kill him if he doesn't control his temper and as the Saviors prepare to leave, Morgan asks for his staff back but Jared leaves with it.
Afterwards, he returns to the Kingdom with the others. Benjamin tells Ezekiel he did good, but Ezekiel warns him against being too eager to fight. Ezekiel tells Richard they will talk later about his behavior.
Ezekiel and some of The Kingdom residents visit Carol in her garden. Ezekiel tells her they are there to clear the dead. As Carol says goodbye, Jerry hands her some cobbler which she accepts before telling them to go. She sits back down to read her book until someone knocks at the door. She answers and is met by Daryl, and the two hug. Daryl tells her that Jesus took them to the Kingdom and asks why she left. She tells him she had to.
Ezekiel will appear in this episode.
This list shows the victims Ezekiel has killed:
- Nelson (Caused)
- Kevin (Zombified)
- 2 unnamed Scavengers
- 2 unnamed Kingdom soldiers (Zombified, Out of Mercy)
- 36 unnamed Saviors (5 Direct, 30 alongside his fellow Kingdommers, 1 Zombified)
- 1 unnamed Hilltop resident/refugee (Zombified)
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people
- Ezekiel bears a strong resemblance to Dave Fennoy, the voice actor of Lee Everett in the video game.
- The name Ezekiel may refer to a Hebrew prophet of the 6th century B.C.E., who prophesied the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation.
- Unlike Paul Monroe's nickname "Jesus", Ezekiel states that Ezekiel is really his name.
- It was stated by Ezekiel that he is not a fan of violence.
- Robert Kirkman stated in Issue 113's 'Letter Hacks' that Ezekiel could be the smartest person in the Comic Series.
- The casting call for this character used the name Augustus.
- Ezekiel's signature weapon is a Shikomizue, a sword cane.