Captain America! Spider-Man! Thor! Hulk! Iron Man! Giant Man! Wasp! Power Man! Wolverine! Storm! Cyclops! Captain Mar-Vell!
These are some of the greatest heroes ever to walk the Earth within the Marvel Universe. Each possessing a variety superhuman powers, together they are an unstoppable force in the pursuit of justice and the downfall of evil everywhere.
So what happens when all of them die and resurrected as living dead, flesh-eating, zombies?
Welcome to the world of Marvel Zombies, a mini-series written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Sean Phillips. This is not the regular Marvel universe, of course (which is Earth 616 to regular Marvel readers). It’s an alternate universe where all the heroes like Luke Cage and Shang Chi are still in their 70s-style costumes, no one’s heard of Galactus, Captain America is and has always been called Colonel America, and Captain Mar-Vell is still alive.
[[popup:zombies1.jpg:(thumbnail):The Colonel is Brained:left:1]]It’s also a universe where an alien virus has selectively killed and transformed every hero and villian into flesh-eating zombies… and the story begins after most of the normal human population on the planet has been devoured by them.
That’s right! Every person on the planet has been eaten by the Marvel Superheroes.
And they’re still hungry.
It’s not just a horrifying take on this scenario. Kirkman’s upped the ante on the script and made the dead, ravenous characters quite likeable. Everyone sounds almost like they’re from a deadpan and witty Tarantino movie. (“Colonel America! Your brains are coming out of your head!” “Not all of them.”)
Spider-Man is quite upset and angsty that he ate Mary Jane and Aunt May, and is unable to live with himself even though he’s really dead. Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk when he gets hungry, which makes things interesting when he eats something too big for his human stomach and he reverts back. Giant-Man is keeping a dark and morbid secret in his lab that you just have to read to find out, and his wife the Wasp loses her head about it when she finds out what it is.
[[popup:zombies2.jpg:(thumbnail):A Bunch of Dead Hungry Heroes:right:1]]There is quite a history behind it, actually. The Marvel Zombies first appeared in Ultimate Fantastic Four, where Reed Richards was tricked into entering the zombies’ universe to become their latest prey since food is scarce. He was ultimately saved by this universe’s uninfected Magneto who transported him back to the Ultimates’ universe, but stayed behind to destroy the teleporter.
The first issue begins with the zombies chasing after Magneto as he tries to return to Asteroid M.
The fun really starts when Silver Surfer arrives to announce the coming of Galactus, who will arrive soon to do what he does best: eat the entire planet. What do the zombies do in the light of this new apocalyptic threat?
They all try to eat Galactus, of course, with surprising results.
[[popup:zombies3.jpg:(thumbnail):Go Fish!:left:1]]There are some unexplained inconsistencies in the story, such as why the virus went after superpowered and non-superpowered heroes and villians. Why are normal humans like Iron Man and Shang Chi, and mutants like Angel and Wolverine, and powered non-mutants like Colonel America and Spider-Man affected together? Why are some aliens like the Venom symbiote unaffected and some like Captain Mar-Vell are? How did they quickly devour the entire planet’s population so quickly?
Thankfully you don’t really want to nitpick the details because the characters are depicted as almost tongue-in-cheek, even if they perform some really horrible acts.
I can’t remember having so much fun reading about super-powered zombies.