I was a bit disappointed with volume 4, "The Heart's Desire," which started to feel tedious with all of the pettiness and melodrama exhibited by Rick's crew of survivors. I was thrilled when the tedium was flipped upside down and turned inside out in volume 5, "The Best Defense," with the introduction of The Governor, an incredibly evil and sinister survivor.
Near the beginning of this volume, Rick's crew witnesses a helicopter crash in the distance. Rick, Michonne, and Glenn set out to investigate. To say that this was not a wise decision would be a huge understatement. They discover a small settlement of survivors led by the self-appointed Governor. It's immediately apparent that they would have been better off fighting hordes of zombies. The Governor has some very twisted ideas of what constitutes entertainment in a post-apocalyptic world, and he commits shocking acts of brutality against Rick and Michonne.
When Kirkman takes us back to the survivors at the prison, life there seems like utopia by comparison. We realize how good these folks have it (again, everything is relative) when their biggest concerns are dealing with romantic entanglements and finding new books to read.
The story ends on a cliffhanger involving some sadly effective mind-trickery by the Governor. I'm happy I've got Volume 6 sitting right here beside so I don't need to wait long to see what happens next.