Title: Marvel Zombies
Author: Robert Kirkman, Sean Phillips
Genre: Graphic Novel, Horror
Stand alone or series: First Graphic novel in what is now a collection of 3 Marvel Zombie specials
Summary: (From amazon.com)
Torn from the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four! On an Earth shockingly similar to the Marvel Universe’s, an alien virus has mutated all of the world’s greatest super heroes into flesh-eating monsters! It took them only hours to destroy life as we know it – but what happens when they run out of humans to eat?! Follow their search for more food, and witness the arrival of the Silver Surfer! Collects Marvel Zombies #1-5.
Why did I read the book: I love superheroes and I love zombies. It’s a match made in heaven!
Ok, I’m putting this out on the table. I am addicted to zombies. I love apocalypse stories, I love the gruesomeness of the flesh-eating undead. When I am sick and stay home from work, my go-to movies have titles that usually end with “of the Dead”. So, when I was perusing the graphic novels section of my bookstore and saw Marvel Zombies, I nearly collapsed into a giddy heap on the floor. What could be better than all of my favorite Marvel superheroes as ZOMBIES?! (Turns out there actually IS something better, but more on that later!)
As I’ve said in previous reviews, my experience with Graphic Novels isn’t very broad. I’m not a connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, much more of a (very) casual reader. So this explains my complete ignorance of this series. Had I known about Marvel Zombies earlier, bet your ass I would have rabidly been chomping at the bit, tracking down individual comics instead of just randomly discovering the graphic novel years later. But, I digress. I found the graphic novel and could not put it down until I had devoured it, cover to cover.
The novel begins with Magneto (of X-Men notoriety) being chased down a dilapidated city street. Magneto is desperately trying to reach his crew on Asteroid M via communications and then meet up with them at a new rendezvous point—meanwhile evading a host of Marvel Superheroes that have been inexplicably turned into zombies. Captain America comes after him…along with Spider-Man, Wolverine, Daredevil, Thor, Iron Man, etc, etc, etc. Magneto, elitist arrogant prat that he is, talks down to the bitter end. Until he’s torn apart by the Hulk and company, that is.
Turns out, the superheroes have been abusing their superhero do-gooder personalities to approach survivors, who welcome them with open arms as their saviors…right before getting eaten. The insatiable zombies have now exhausted the food supply on Earth, and are resorting to less pleasant forms of nutrition (they eat themselves…Well, the partially digested bits of flesh that they have ingested, they re-eat by ripping it out of their stomachs). The superhero zombies are driven mad with hunger, but immediately after they eat, they are capable of rational thought and attacks of conscience
I loved how the personalities of each superhero still are maintained, despite their zombified appearance and insatiable hunger for human flesh. Time and time again, we see Spider-Man turn into a sniveling mess over how he ate his aunt and his wife, which is flat out hilarious. (For anyone that might find Spider-Man’s incessant ponderings about morality and his tortured soul thing a bit tiresome, this is a wonderful poke at Peter Parker’s character! Even the superheroes have had enough of it!)
The artwork is also brilliant—nice capture of the zombie rotting flesh/dead thing, without being too gross, and still keeping each of the superheroes instantly recognizable. There is a section in the last pages of the graphic novel that shows all of the covers for the marvel zombies individual issues, and the older covers they were based on. These are flat out awesome. My fave is the Silver Surfer one (below).
Notable Quotes/Parts: When the Silver Surfer finally arrives on the scene, scoping out the planet and heralding that it will become demolished as food for boss Galactus, the zombies take it upon themselves to eat the Surfer, and make plans to eat his boss. There’s a showdown for the spoils between the “good” marvel superhero zombies and the previous baddies (i.e. Toad, Sabertooth, Venom, etc)—which is kinda funny, considering that both factions are now the bad guys.
Additional Thoughts: In a lot of traditional zombie lore, the undead can be “killed” (again) by removing the head, or destroying the brain. Traditionally. However, there are other schools of thought in which the undead cannot die again because…well, they are already dead (see movie Return of the Living Dead). In Marvel Zombies, the same undead can’t die theory holds true—as Wasp (Giant Man’s wife) and Captain America are respectively decapitated and de-brained, yet still remain “alive”…so to speak.
Verdict: Wonderful story, great art work. I enjoyed this one so much I immediately scooped up Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness (remember when I said earlier what could be better than marvel superheroes as zombies? Well there you have it–Marvel Superheroes as zombies with an Army of Darkness crossover! Ash!) and eagerly await Marvel Zombies 2!
Rating: 8 Excellent
Reading Next: The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 1) by Vicki Petersson