Zombies vs. Army of Darkness"
Last year, I did a Longbox
Marvel Zombies, which was actually
a pretty enjoyable series where (in an alternate reality) all of the
Marvel superheroes had been infected with a zombie virus and had
devoured every living creature in the world. The official sequel is
still forthcoming, but earlier this year, Marvel released a spin-off
prequel series called Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness,
which—you guessed it, features a crossover with Ashley J. Williams from
the "Evil Dead" movies. If this sounds like a dumb idea to you, you're
probably a sane person.
Our story begins with a portal opening in the sky and Ash falling out of
it, landing in a dumpster somewhere in the middle of New York City. No
explanation is given, but considering the source material of the movies,
I don't really think that we need one. Weird things like that just kind
of happen to Ash all the time.
Not only does S-Mart have
falling prices; they occasionally have falling employees as well.
Immediately after his
dumpster dive, we see a shadowy figure shambling towards the dumpster,
moaning and groaning about food.
Odds are pretty good it'd
be healthier than fast food, I suppose.
Our expectations are
completely thrown off kilter, because it's no zombie at all, it's
just some crazy bag lady! Who'd have thought!? This means that this
woman saw something fall from the sky and into the dumpster and actually
thought it was food. Food from Heaven. Anyway, Ash chases her
away by throwing garbage at her and she reluctantly shuffles off panel.
"Fool! Throwing garbage at
me only adds to my power!!!"
Ash takes a moment to
reflect on the last thing he remembers, and we see a brief vision of him
approaching a shining beacon of light with a voice telling him to walk
towards it. Stepping out of the alley he arrived in, Ash sees two
"costumed clowns", Daredevil and a member of the villainous Wrecking
Crew known as Thunderball engaging in an intense all-out melee with one
another. This tells Ash beyond all doubt that he's not anywhere on the
Earth he calls home.
One of these days I'm
going to sign up for that YMCA class on this.
Ash is getting ready to
intervene in the combat when the bag lady suddenly returns, only this
time she's possessed by evil and appears as a withered zombie, telling
him that "this world will die, and an army of the dead will rise."
You know, if I was undead,
I could think of better people to
deliver my message to than the guy with the chainsaw for an arm.
Naturally Ash does what
any hero would do, punching her in the face and preparing to carve her
into pieces with his chainsaw. Daredevil does not look too kindly on
this however, when he notices Ash getting ready to chop up "a
defenseless old lady".
"Wait, what? She's got a
sharp pencil on her? She's not defenseless then. Carry on, citizen!"
He assumes that Ash is
some new, twisted member of the Wrecking Crew and attacks, giving
Thunderball an opening he takes advantage of. With Daredevil distracted,
Thunderball smashes him from behind with his giant wrecking ball and
slams him into a nearby wall, knocking him out. Thunderball thanks him
for the assist, and Ash naturally assumes he helped out the good guy
because the other guy was dressed like El Diablo.
Thunderball thanks Ash for
the help, and offers him
a contestant spot on an episode of American Gladiators.
Shortly, Ash checks out a
newspaper and discovers that he actually helped out a villain in the
fight, to which his only response is "oops". He learns through the paper
that there are plenty of other costumed heroes in the city, so he
decides to go to the Avengers and warn them of the impending Deadite
disaster. He opts to get their attention by blowing away their front
gate intercom with his boomstick, so naturally when they come out of
their mansion they're none too pleased to see him.
This scene is totally
unrealistic because Ash isn't laughing his ass off.
They threaten him with
grievous bodily harm while he tries to explain what's about to happen to
their planet. Naturally, because they wear colorful spandex tights and
frequently fight ridiculous supervillains who are trying to take over
the world, they think he's nuts and don't believe a word of what he
says. Ash starts getting visibly upset by this, so Scarlet Witch uses
her chaos magic to teleport him away, so that this potentially dangerous
and extremely irate armed madman can be someone else's problem.
Just then the Avengers get word that there's some weird disturbance
downtown so they leave to check it out. Meanwhile, Ash is downtown
running up and down the streets and shouting doom and gloom end of the
world stuff to anyone who will listen. The Avengers arrive on the scene
and sigh with extreme annoyance when they realize that the crazy guy
they just thought they got rid of is there. Spider-Man just happens to
show up and Colonel America (remember, he's been promoted in this
reality) asks Spidey if he can take care of the annoying guy while they
investigate this disturbance.
"I'm a kid-friendly hero
who's going to suck your blood out through a straw!"
Spidey gladly obliges,
wrapping Ash in a web cocoon and swings away with him. As they're
swinging their way to the Happy Funtime Insane Asylum, Ash suddenly
recalls more of what happened to him before he went through the portal.
Apparently he was on his way into Heaven and he was stopped by an angel
who told him "no chainsaws are admitted beyond this point" when he looks
back in the line of people behind him and notices a costumed clown named
the Sentry, obviously infected with the zombie virus, chowing down on
all the people. Ash tries to shoot him, but Sentry smacks him through
the portal and that's when he lands in the dumpster. Just after he
remembers this, he and Spidey encounter the Sentry in New York, and he
has apparently just infected the rest of the Avengers.
"Gaze upon my manly
exposed nipples and quake with fear!"
Spidey and Ash look on in
horror as the heroes start devouring all the innocent bystanders who
just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Zombies have no manners at
all—I mean, really, would it be too much to ask to use a fork?
Ash tells Spidey they need
to get the hell out of there, but Spidey won't hear of it, swooping
right into danger to save some poor innocent hot girl (the dudes can
rot) from the zombies. Unfortunately, this gives the zombies the opening
they need, and somehow zombie Colonel America leaps from a higher
vantage point, biting Spider-Man's shoulder, causing him to fall and
drop Ash, who happens to land right in front of the very same dumpster
he started out at. Looking up, he notices zombie Hawkeye, Luke Cage, and
Ms. Marvel standing over him.
Ash is torn between
expecting death and a song-and-dance number, then death.
Ash realizes at this point
that he's pretty much fucked, but then Spider-Man leaps onto Hawkeye's
back and wraps his teeth around his head, threatening to eat his brains
if they don't leave Ash for him. Spidey argues that since he had to drag
Ash around everywhere and listen to his insane ramblings, he should be
the one to enjoy the meal. The Avengers puff out their chests and
posture for a while but finally relent, letting Spider-Man take Ash away
to feast on his flesh.
"Dude, you're Spider-Man,
not Snake-Man. You can't eat
my whole head in one bite. Stop embarrassing yourself."
Spidey takes Ash up to the
top of a building and reveals that he's still somehow human, theorizing
that his radioactive spider powers must somehow be slowing the rate of
infection. Ash then says something to make Spider-Man realize the danger
that Aunt May and Mary Jane must be in, so he hightails it out of there,
leaving Ash on his own at the top of the building. But it's okay,
because the Punisher just happens to be on the top of the same building,
and he agrees to help Ash find the Necronomicon and save the world from
the zombie infection if Ash will help him deal with a little problem
A Zompocalypse would truly
be the Punisher's dream come true.
Ash follows Frank Castle,
loudly inquiring what pressing problem could possibly be more
important than the fact that it's the end of the world, but he soon has
his answer as Castle storms into the Kingpin's office. Waiting in there
with him are fellow villains Hammerhead and some vampirey-looking dude I
didn't recognize, but he wears a big silly red bow around his neck.
"Alright Kingpin, it's
time to—wait, is that Count Chocula?"
Kingpin explains to Castle
that they're on the same side now, that it doesn't matter who's a
criminal and who's not, and that the only conflict that's important is
humans vs. zombies. Castle won't hear any of it, however, and blows the
Kingpin and his compatriots away without a second thought, much to Ash's
surprise. As they prepare to leave the building, Ash spots an uninfected
Thunderball outside fighting off a large horde of zombies. Ash tells
Frank that they have to help him, as he's uninfected, but Castle merely
explains that he's scum and he has to die, marching out into the horde
and shooting indiscriminately. He soon realizes that Ash has abandoned
him as his ammo reloads aren't forthcoming, and finds himself completely
overrun by zombies.
The Punisher fanclub
rushes in for an autograph.
Ash uses the distraction
to make his way out another entrance with the Punisher's weapon cache,
when he spots Dazzler being attacked by a zombified Winter Soldier, whom
he quickly obliterates with his shotgun.
thought Bucky was supposed to be gay!"
He tells Dazzler about his
past experiences with the Necronomicon and quickly recruits her to his
cause. She agrees to help him save the world, and suggests that they
head to Greenwich Village to consult with Dr. Strange, Master of the
Mystic Arts, for if he doesn't possess the Necronomicon, he is sure to
know where it can be found. As they arrive outside Dr. Strange's sanctum
sanctorum however, Ash is pulled away off panel by an unknown assailant.
Dazzler turns around only to discover that Ash has been killed—by
Howard the Duck?! Wow. What an insultingly lame way to go.
Is there some annual
Howard the Duck quota that Marvel has to fill?
I don't know why else he'd be in this comic.
Our third issue opens with
a recap of Ash's life to date, showing him working at S-Mart,
daydreaming and always believing that he was destined for greater things
than the Housewares department. It shows us how when he saw on the
television in the S-Mart Electronics department that zombies were taking
over the world, he grabbed a shotgun and a chainsaw and made his way out
into the apocalyptic insanity, doing his part to destroy as many zombies
as he could.
When Ash grows weary of
taking on the unending horde, he
just imagines the zombies are customers. It keeps him going.
But wait—notice how Ash
still has both hands? A clue, no doubt! We soon discover we're
witnessing the life of this world's Ashley G. Williams, who is quite
surprised when he suddenly notices the Ash we all know and love, Ashley
J. Williams, walking around with Dazzler.
"That must be Evil
Ash, because he's got a hot chick tagging along with him,
and I'm about to be eaten by a duck. Man, that guy's got all the luck!"
In fact, he's so
distracted by this that he lets an anthropomorphic duck (who is quite
possibly one of the most absurd characters ever) get the best of him.
Dazzler still believes that her Ash is the one who was killed,
seeing as how he was dragged off by an unknown assailant, so she attacks
Howard with her dazzling light powers. Howard is unimpressed however,
and makes to lunge towards her when the real Ash (or at the very
least, the cooler Ash) pops out of nowhere and carves Howard the Duck in
The artist would have us
believe that Howard the Duck is filled with flowers.
No one is surprised by this revelation.
Howard isn't really dead
however, and as Ash and Dazzler take a moment to catch their breath
after the attack, he sneaks up behind them, and is quickly dispatched by
the Scarlet Witch, who reveals that she is uninfected, and that she was
the unknown assailant that dragged Ash off panel last issue. She turns
Howard into glass with her magic and Ash kicks him into a million
"Oh my god you guys, duck!
Duck! You guys, duck! Why... why are you on the ground?"
Our heroic trio enter Dr.
Strange's home, only to discover that he is not there. They do discover
Dr. Druid inside feasting on Doc Strange's manservant Wong. Poor Wong.
He is always getting shat upon by Marvel. Anyway, they dispatch Dr.
Druid and make their way to the Doc's library, where they interrogate
some of the flesh-bound, sentient books that make their home there.
The only reason ancient
evil mystics would bind books
like this is to prank their friends into losing a hand.
The first book that Ash
selects doesn't want to play ball so he tosses it into the fireplace.
Wouldn't you know it, the next book is a lot more talkative and tells
Ash that the Necronomicon is in Latveria, in the hands of Dr. Doom.
After a brief but amusing cameo featuring Warren Ellis's Nextwave team
taking on a zombie Power Pack, the heroes hop into a Quinjet and make
their way to Castle Doom, where they find it under attack by zombies who
are trying to breach its impregnable defenses.
Our fourth issue opens with an explanation of how the plague spread so
quickly. It seems that S.H.I.E.L.D. was working to isolate and contain
the plague (with nukes), but Quicksilver was tricked into thinking he
was rescuing his sister, but he was in fact saving a very hungry
Sometimes those mail order
brides don't look at all like their picture,
but once you've paid shipping, it's already too late.
Once a speedster like
Quicksilver was infected, the virus spread far too quickly to be
contained, and the world was essentially fucked. Way to go, Pietro. Your
creepy, obsessive, borderline incestuous love for your sister just
fucked over the entire planet. Also, the Flash is way cooler than you.
"Where them Death Star
plans at, bitch?"
We then cut to Castle
Doomshadt, where Dr. Doom is choking Ash angrily (somehow our heroes got
past the zombies outside and into the castle). Apparently our boy Ash
has been addressing the Lord of Latveria by such honorifics as "Yo,
Threepio", "Hey, Tin Man", and "Domo arigato, Mister Roboto", by which
Doom is none too amused. Dazzler and Scarlet Witch talk Doom down and
convince him to spare Ash's life, though Ash still can't control himself
and continues to act really disrespectful towards Doom. He demands to
see the Necronomicon, explaining that it's the only way to save the
planet, but Doom says that since the virus is extraterrestrial in nature
instead of mystical, science is the only method to defeat the virus and
stop its spread.
Any way you look at it,
being sucker punched by a robot
butler is still better than being killed by a zombie duck.
Finally Doom decides he
has had all he can stand of Ash's smart mouth and orders his Doombots to
take him to the dungeon, where all the surviving uninfected population
of Latveria remain locked up for their own safety. Doom then takes great
pleasure in explaining to Scarlet Witch and Dazzler that it was Reed
Richards ("Curse you, Richards!") who caused the whole outbreak in the
first place because he's really just a tremendous asshole.
A short time later,
Scarlet Witch rescues Ash from the dungeon and they look for the
Necronomicon. Ash takes the clothing off one of Doom's decoy Doombots so
that he can walk around the castle inconspicuously, and soon locates the
book. The book hates Ash, considering that he's "The Chosen One" and
all, so Ash has to persuade it with a shot from his electrified Doom
"If you don't help me,
I'll do my Emperor Palpatine impression, and it'll be really annoying!"
eventually reveals that it can't do shit to stop the undead hordes,
because Doom was right—the virus is extraterrestrial in nature and these
zombies are not Deadites, so the Necronomicon has no power over them
whatsoever. Realizing that if the book is speaking the truth, there's no
hope at all for the world, Ash leaves the room in a bit of a panic, but
shortly discovers the Enchantress locked up in some kind of electrified
cage in the hallway.
"Ah, girls in cages! My
Ash is quickly smitten by
her and it doesn't take much convincing for him to let her out of the
cage. As they make their way through the hall, they encounter Scarlet
Witch and Dazzler, who seem shocked to see Ash running around with
Enchantress. It seems that being ensorcelled as he is by her charms, he
cannot see the situation for what it truly is.
"Hey guys, check out my
new girlfriend! She kinda smells like death, but isn't she a hottie?"
Dazzler uses her light
powers to zap Enchantress and undo her illusion spell so Ash can see her
for what she truly is, but as she points to her true form, Enchantress
chomps down on her finger, biting it clean off. Oops!
Who feels like a stupid
ass now, I wonder?
But good thing for
everyone involved, Doom shows up on the scene and kills both of them
Skull Head fetishists:
this pic's for you.
Ash gets angry with Doom
over the fact that Dazzler wasn't a zombie yet, but Doom points out that
it was inevitable she would become one, so he was just saving everyone
time. He's kind of a dick like that. Shortly after this, the zombies
outside finally break through Doom's defenses and enter the building,
taking down Doom and Scarlet Witch in short order.
Here it is: the sexy
moment that dozens of fan fiction writers have dreamed of.
Ash manages to slip away,
and he comes up with an idea that just might buy him some time. He goes
back to the Necronomicon and gets it to cooperate by scaring it into
thinking that since it's bound in flesh, once the zombies are done
feasting on him, they're going to devour the book next. This puts the
fear o' God into the Necronomicon, who agrees to raise an army of
Deadites to slow down the zombie horde.
Wow, zombie vs. zombie.
Neither side can die, and they all smell like shit.
Yeah, that's a fight everybody's just waiting to see.
Meanwhile an infected (but
not yet turned—and also, somehow escaped) Dr. Doom is using that time to
help all of the Lavterian refugees escape through his interdimensional
transporter. The Necronomicon tells Ash of this and suggest they both
get the hell out of this dimension and head to greener pastures. Doom
reluctantly helps Ash escape through the transporter, but before passing
through, Ash betrays the Necronomicon by dropping it on the floor and
leaving it behind.
"Ha! You think I care
about some dumb book? Whaddya think I read or something?"
Doom destroys the
transporter just in time, as the zombies burst into the room and zombie
Thing starts pummeling the crap out of Doom just for being a big jerk.
Wolverine walks up to the Necronomicon and picks it up curiously. The
book informs Wolvie that should he partake of its pages, he will find it to be most unpalatable. Wolverine tells the book that that's a
ridiculous idea, that zombies would eat a book. But he does explain that
zombies do still require toilet paper, tossing the book to zombie
Hulk, who informs the Necronomicon that he requires lots of
This comic answers a lot
of the hard questions that nobody else wants to touch, like:
"Do zombies poop?"
We end the book on Ash,
who has just teleported to another world, finding himself in New York
City once again. It appears normal...that is, until he rounds a corner,
and sees a bunch of Marvel superheroes. But this time, they've been
turned into werewolves.
Okay, they're not just
like furry zombies or anything, they're werewolves,
so the sequel story will obviously be totally different, and you
should buy it.
It's a pretty typical sort
of ending for Ash, who can't seem to get through an encounter with the
Necronomicon without somehow getting screwed in the end. The entire
premise of the series is kind of insane, as you wouldn't really think
that Ash and the Marvel Universe would mesh well together, but it wasn't
quite the train wreck I'd expected, and I found myself enjoying it as a
goofy, fun read. One thing I was pleased with was that, unlike some
other Army of Darkness comics I've read, this writer managed to
keep the character of Ash consistent with the character from the films
without resorting to recycled catchphrases from the movies. This series
isn't likely to win any awards, but if you enjoyed the other Marvel
Zombies books you'll probably find this worth getting when the trade
paperback comes out.
Also, another thing worth mentioning is that Arthur Suydam has returned
to do the covers, which pay tribute to past covers throughout Marvel's
Click on any of the above
covers from the Marvel Zombies series to see a side-by-side
comparison of tribute and original!
(images will pop-up in a new window)
Found any weird, bizarre, stupid or funny comics that
should appear in a future "Tales From the Longbox" column?
Email Protoclown and let him know!
For more Marvel
Zombies fun, check out the
Longbox piece about 'em from last Halloween!
TALES FROM THE LONGBOX:
THE DEAD WALK THE EARTH... IN SPANDEX!
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