Walk the Earth... in Spandex!"
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
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
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?
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
"Oh, goddammit. I totally forgot that arrowheads are
made of metal.
Why, I could just kick myself! You ever have one of those
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
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
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
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
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
The Surfer blasts Hulk in the face with the Power Cosmic, which only
pisses Hulk off more:
"NOW HULK LOOK LIKE BROCCOLI! HULK HATE BROCCOLI!"
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
"Ja! Finally my greatest sexual fantasy has been
fulfilled! Uhh, did I say 'sexual'?
I meant 'fantasy'! Das ist vhat I
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
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
How many times have I told you, there's no such thing as
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
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)