AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Marvel Zombies (2005-current)
In Dec 2005, Marvel published a 5 issue mini-series written by Robert Kirkman and drawn by Sean Phillips called Marvel Zombies. It was essentially an “alternate universe” tale about the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe contracting a virus that turned them all into zombies.
The whole idea originated in a story arc in Ultimate Fantastic Four issues 21-23 (Sep 2005). Reed Richards is tricked by a duplicate of himself from another dimension into bringing over him and his alternate dimension FF teammates. Turns out, that version of the Fantastic Four is actually infected with a super-virus that turned them into zombies and their dimension has run out of their food source; brains and human flesh. The Zombie Four wish to enter this new dimension that is full of tasty brains to eat. Reed and the Ultimate FF defeat the zombies, but only barely and only with the help of Victor Von Doom.
The Marvel Zombies mini begins on this alternate universe of Marvel Heroes a small while after the Crossover story arc. Some of the details before this story arc would be fleshed out in a later one-shot written by Robert Kirkman called Marvel Zombies: Dead Days. But the first Marvel Zombies series takes placed right after Crossover.
Magneto destroys the cross dimensional portal that Reed used during the Crossover story to bring the zombie FF over to the other dimension. Magneto is then killed by all of the zombies. The Silver Surfer arrives on the planet to announce Galactus’ arrival, but he too is overwhelmed and killed by the zombies who then each absorb some of the Surfer’s Power Cosmic. The zombies with the Power Cosmic kill and devour the non-powered zombies to remove the competition for food. Galactus arrives and barely fights off the zombie hordes. Giant-Man, Iron Man and Bruce Banner develop a machine to harness and increase the Power Cosmic they all have and they use this to finally injure and devour Galactus. Galactus’ power is absorbed by the surviving group of zombies who use this power to leave the planet and start scouring the Universe for planets with more food.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I read this but it’s pretty awesome. I discovered Robert Kirkman first through his Astounding Wolf-Man and Invincible comics. I knew about Marvel Zombies, but when I discovered Kirkman wrote the first two mini-series, I grabbed both of them as well as the Dead Days prequel and devoured them (pun intended) immediately. These first Kirkman produced books are nothing short of amazing in their storytelling. I can’t recommend them enough.
(Via Comic Vine)
There were several non-Kirkman sequels after Marvel Zombies 2. Marvel Zombies 3 (2008) and 4 (2009) were written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Kev Walker. They are appropriately over-the-top and fun. Part 3 has the character of Machine Man as it’s protagonist and Part 4 uses the Midnight Sons (Morbius, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, Damien Hellstrom and Jennifer Kale). Now that I’m looking it up, it seems Van Lente actually also wrote a Marvel Zombies 5 in 2010. I haven’t read that one, but 3 and 4 are fun and zany stories that don’t aspire (nor really need to) to the scope of the first two mini-series. Plus, it could be that the concept is spreading itself a little thin by the third sequel.
After this a collection of one-shots were released called Marvel Zombies Return as well as Marvel Zombies Supreme and a one shot called Evil Evolution which is a crossover between Marvel Zombies and Marvel Apes. So yeah, Marvel is milking the hell out of this zombies thing, but it’s still really popular. And I keep reading them, for sure. I’ll definitely continue on with part 5.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.