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"The Dead Walk the Earth... in Spandex!"

by: Protoclown

Earlier this year, there was a very enjoyable 5-issue series called Marvel Zombies, in which all of the Marvel Superheroes (and villains) had been infected by a zombie virus and had eaten nearly every man, woman and child on Earth. Of course regular humans were infected with the zombie virus too, but those slow, shuffling regular zombies just couldn't compete with the super-powered zombies, who quickly tore a swath of hungry destruction across the globe, until there was almost no more living food to be found.

The series actually spun out of an Ultimate Fantastic Four storyline, in which Zombie Reed Richards tricks the younger, "ultimate" version of Reed into crossing over into his zombie infected dimension, with hopes of using his teleporter technology to cross back over and infect the entire Ultimate universe. Fortunately for ultimate Reed, he's found and helped by Magneto, who is leading one of the few remaining bands of uninfected survivors left on Earth. To make a long story short, the story arc ends with everyone back where they're supposed to be, except for the zombie Fantastic Four who are trapped in a containment cell in the Ultimate Fantastic Four's Baxter Building.

Dr. Doom will let the zombies come right up and eat out of his hand or sit in his lap.
That is the extent to which he DOES NOT CARE!

So after Marvel realized they had a great potential spin-off on their hands, the story picks up right after Magneto has destroyed the teleporter after the young and healthy Ultimate Fantastic Four have crossed back to their home dimension. Magneto realizes at this point that he is surrounded by zombies, and quite possibly completely fuxored.

"Hello, friend! We're here to tell you about the Book of Mormon
and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!"

But of course, the zombies have decided to attack Magneto in the smoldering pile of metal wreckage left over from the teleporting machine, giving him plenty of ammo to use against them...which they soon learn the hard way.

"Oh shit, sorry Daredevil! I thought you were Ben Affleck for a second. My bad!"

However, being undead, the zombies aren't exactly stopped by being impaled with large metal pointy things. At best they are simply slowed down. Magneto then takes Colonel America's shield (yes, he's a Colonel in this universe, and he was even President for a while) from him and uses it to slice the top of his head off.

"Hey, who wishes they had a plastic shield now? Huh? Huh??"

The other zombies later wonder about this, having assumed that like most zombies, if your brain gets taken out, you simply stop functioning. But that's clearly not the case in this zombie universe!

"Look, ma! No head!"

Magneto then takes Colonel America's shield back and makes a quick getaway through the alleys of New York. He can't simply fly away because he soon realizes that all of the flying superheroes are scanning the skies and streets looking for any trace of him.

Eventually though Hawkeye manages to locate ol' Mags, and before he can decapitate him with the star-emblazoned shield, Hawkeye looses and arrow and hits Magneto in the side, which is going to slow him down tremendously.

"Oh, goddammit. I totally forgot that arrowheads are made of metal.
Why, I could just kick myself! You ever have one of those days?"

Another fight ensues, and Magneto manages to hold his own pretty damn well, given that they're in a city surrounded by metal and all, but eventually the shrunken-down Wasp sneaks up behind him and then goes in for the kill.

"Welcome to AIDS, bitch!"

Magneto realizes he's done for at this point. Having been bitten, he's been infected, but he also knows that the zombies are going to gobble him up until there's nothing left before he becomes one of them. This angers him, so he offers up a choice curse for them with his last breath:

Haha, yes, Magneto, I'm sure you say that to ALL the ladies.

After the feeding frenzy, the zombies are just kind of chilling out, comparing battle scars and wondering what to do next for food, since they're pretty sure he was the last living person on the planet.

"Yup, that was some good eating. Yup. [silence] Trick knee's acting up. [silence] Think it's gonna rain."

As they're all sitting around arguing about what to do next and coping with the fact that they've eaten all their loved ones while they're supposed to be heroes, they happen to see the Silver Surfer fly by overhead, which gets them all excited, because it means more food.

When you're a zombie, seeing this is like hearing the ice cream man drive into your neighborhood.

During their pursuit, they quickly lose the Surfer (how you lose a large shiny guy riding a flying surfboard is beyond me), and while they argue over it and decide to spit up and keep looking, Giant Man sneaks off to his secret lair, where he's been hiding the still human body of T'Challa, the Black Panther, for his own personal snacking purposes.

"You ever see the movie Misery, T'Challa?"

He carves himself off a bit o' leg to stave off the starvation, while the rest of his buddies continue to search for the flying ice cream man.

"Ha! Let those suckers out there starve! I gots me a nice, rubbery boot to eat!"

But just then Giant Man's wife, the Wasp comes bursting in, apparently having shrunk down and followed him to his secret hide-out!

"Hank! This time your foot fetish has gone TOO FAR!"

So of course, like in any Marvel continuity, he beats her.

"I'm sorry Janet, but I cannot escape my destiny of being typecast as a wifebeater in every single goddamned incarnation of my character! Damn you Marvel writers! Daaaaaaaaamn yoooooou!!"

And then of course, he bites her head off.

"Ha! But I didn't do this in your Daddy's Marvel Universe!"

Meanwhile, the other zombies are still bickering in the street when the Silver Surfer shows back up, acting like a real asshole and bringing everybody down by telling them that he is the herald of Galactus, destroyer of worlds, blah blah blah, gonna eat your planet, yadda yadda, all gonna die.

With a fierce battle cry of "Oh no you di'int!" the zombies leap forth on the attack, but they are unprepared for the Power Cosmic wielded by the Surfer!

Iron Man is first to "taste the rainbow" of the Surfer's cosmic blasts.

Curiously, being split in half does not in any way hinder Iron Man's ability to fly. Wolverine has a go at the Surfer, and only succeeds in tearing the flesh off his own adamantium-laced bones.

"I'm the best there is at what I do, bub, and what I do is uhh...
rip my own arm off, apparently. BUT I'M THE BEST!"

During the course of the battle, Hulk goes completely apeshit and decides that he's going to have the Silver Surfer all to himself, grabbing him and making a break for it.

Poor, poor Hulk thinks that "Silver Man" is actually a bowling trophy.

The Surfer blasts Hulk in the face with the Power Cosmic, which only pisses Hulk off more:


So in a rage, Hulk bites the Surfers head off, and the rest of the heroes all dig in. They quickly realize that by eating the Silver Surfer, they have each absorbed a portion of his cosmic power!

A few moments later, Beast and a few other heroes who missed the party show up, call the guys who ate the Surfer assholes and complain about how nobody saved any for them. Colonel America responds by blowing Beast's head off with his newfound power.

"Who's the asshole NOW, McCoy!? Oh. Well, I guess that would still be me."

At that same moment elsewhere in the city, T'Challa has regained consciousness from all the drugs Giant Man was giving him and is making a daring, hobbling escape. And he's brought the head of Wasp with him, who constantly begs him to let her have a few scraps of flesh he won't need.

If this didn't just dethrone whatever previously held the top spot for
"Worst Day of Black Panther's Life", I don't even want to know.

During his wanderings, he encounters a group of Magneto's Acolytes, who have come down from their base on Asteroid M after discovering that their leader had still been alive. They immediately grill T'Challa for answers, because naturally a one-armed, one-legged man carrying a talking head just looks like he knows things.

Seen here the cover of the Acolytes forthcoming album,
"Where is Magneto?" available in record stores this fall.

Around this time, Galactus shows up, and he and the zombies get into a yelling match over who is the hungriest of all.

"Stop looking up my skirt."

Seriously, Galactus tells them that he's going to eat the Earth to sate his hunger, and the zombies tell him they ate the Silver Surfer and they're still hungry. Galactus, refusing to believe that anyone could possibly be hungrier than him, throws a fit (honestly, he's more upset that the zombies said they were hungry than the fact that they killed his herald) and zaps them with his...finger zappy beams or something.

"Behold my glory, for each of my fingers produces a DIFFERENT SOUND EFFECT!"

The zombies soon learn that these cosmic blasts from Galactus are going to tear them to shreds if they don't fall back, so they retreat to come up with some kind of plan.

I guess they're gonna have to call ol' Luke Cage "Rib Cage" from now on.

Meanwhile, the Black Panther is having trouble convincing the Acolytes that he's not working with the zombies, despite the fact that he's been half-eaten (with a benefits plan like that, sign me up!). They decide that since they can't trust him, they have to kill him, so T'Challa decides to "win them over" by throwing the zombified head of Wasp at the nearest guy, infecting him.

Here's one type of head that you don't want to receive.

T'Challa continues his quest to make new friends by jamming his walking stick into his stump and beating the living shit out of everyone with it. Now if that doesn't say badass, I don't know what does!

What Black Panther may lack in limbs, he completely makes up in "FUCKING CRAZY".

After this whole wacky misunderstanding, the Acolytes finally agree to take T'Challa back home to Asteroid M with them.

The zombies in the meantime have been cooking up a plan to defeat Galactus so they can have the biggest meal of their zombie careers, but it's taking days for them to actually implement it, so the other zombies have to find ways to pass the time while the "big brains" do all the work.

I never figured Go Fish for a zombie's kind of game.

Before too long though, the zombies have finished what they've been working on: a vibranium cannon! Which just might be fictional enough to work! As the heroes wheel out their cannon to strike, they discover that a large group of zombie villains has been attacking Galactus and slowly weakening him.

"Our cannon is powered by magic crystals and the power of positive thinking!"

The heroes zap Galactus with their cannon, causing him to make really funny faces.

"Gah! Can't stop...making...funny faces!"

Soon enough Galactus has made the last funny face he's gonna make, and he topples over, seemingly defeated. But the battle ain't over yet, because now the heroes and villains fight over who's going to get to eat the corpse!

Even in undeath, these kids just can't play nice.

Unfortunately for the villains, they're no match for the cosmically powered heroes, who quickly make short work of them.

"You're the bitch, Juggernaut!"

Although some of the villains do take advantage of openings when they see them (and this is one of the finest moments I have ever seen in any comic):

"Ja! Finally my greatest sexual fantasy has been fulfilled! Uhh, did I say 'sexual'?
I meant 'fantasy'! Das ist vhat I meant!"

At this point we learn that as long as a zombie has some brain left in his head, he's good to go, but when an asshole like Red Skull comes along and scoops the rest of it out like a tasty Baskin Robbins flavor, he's pretty much fucked.

The heroes who survived the big showdown with the villains then rush the body of the dying Galactus, devouring him before he draws his final breath.

"Hey Galactus! It's raining men! Hallelujah! It's raining men!"

We then cut to five years later, as an expedition from Asteroid M is coming down to Earth for the first time since they picked up Black Panther. They discover that the planet appears to be completely deserted—even the zombies have somehow disappeared.

The greatest thing about this is that we see Janet Pym's head in a jar stuck onto a robot body (Forge, the X-Men inventor is among the Acolytes). Every time I see it I can't help but imagine her head floating around and bumping into the glass, spinning backwards so she can't see where she's going, and numerous other problems that would be bound to come up.

"It really sucks when I sneeze in this thing."

Some Acolyte scientist realizes that the zombies simply aren't on the planet any longer. They have somehow abandoned Earth.

"Earth is completely abandoned? My god...anyway, hey guys, photo op! Strike a pose!"

Then we cut over to some alien planet, where an innocent alien child is being put to bed.

"Did you have another bad dream about Ripley coming to kill you again?
How many times have I told you, there's no such thing as humans!"

At this point some egghead alien comes along and says that they've gotten some weird readings outside the planet and they've discovered that Galactus is descending down upon them! OMG chaos cats and dogs living together and all that shit!

But wait, we saw Galactus die! So how can this be?

"Deploy Leper Brigade...GO!"

Yes, I'm afraid so. The zombies are revealed as the new Galactus. They finish the series with "The End?" so of course you KNOW there's going to be a sequel. This was actually one of the more fun series Marvel has published in recent years and it's available in collected hardcover (and will be available in trade paperback soon enough), so if you liked what you saw here, definitely check it out! Because zombies add wonderful spice and flavor to any recipe, be it comic books or casseroles.

One final note before I sign off: One of the interesting things about this series are the really fine covers, illustrated by Arthur Suydam. On top of them all kicking ass in their own right, each of them pays tribute to a classic Marvel cover from years past!

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!




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