Comic: "Marvel Zombies 3 #1-4"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Kev Walker
Plot: After a couple zombies from the infected Marvel dimension cross over into the mainstream Marvel Universe, A.R.M.O.R. decides to send robots Machine Man and Jocasta on a mission across dimensions to find an antidote to the zombie plague before it infects their own universe.
Review: After Robert Kirkman basically hit a brick wall with the previous Marvel Zombies story, new writer Fred Van Lente found an interesting new direction to go in, by having the zombies appear in the uninfected mainstream Marvel-616 universe, causing A.R.M.O.R. to send a robot force through a dimensional portal to the Zombieverse where they all come from. The result is that we get a different, more interesting batch of lesser-known characters, and we get to see the ever-sarcastic and awesome Machine Man mow through hordes of zombified Marvel characters like they're Dorito ninjas.
I'll admit, I'm getting sick of Marvel beating this "zombie characters" horse (it was fun at first when it was a novel concept, but come on), but this story did keep me surprisingly entertained. Having the extremely enjoyable Machine Man as the main protagonist was a smart move, because his presence always makes a book better, and being able to kill boatloads of fleshy humans has no doubt been a fantasy of his for some time.
I won't talk about the plot too much to avoid spoilers, but I have to say that seeing the Midnight Sons appear at the end as a set-up for Marvel Zombies 4 was hardly compelling enough to get me excited about the next installment in the series. It was a smart decision to streamline this into a 4-issue series, rather than the bloated six-issue series that the original two installments were. This cut down on a lot of "filler" and allowed the story to move along at a brisk pace.
I wasn't familiar with Kev Walker's art before reading this, but he's got a sketchy, dark style that was very well suited to a book like this. His work was detailed and expressive without being too crisp or clean (which wouldn't have fit this book at all), and he clearly enjoys drawing the undead and plenty of gore, which he's very skilled at. Jean Francois-Beaulieu's coloring is also worth mentioning, as it uses a pallet of sickly greens which really add to the atmosphere.
One change that was initially disappointing was the lack of Arthur Suydam's beautifully painted covers that were homages to classic issues of various comics. Instead, they had Greg Land do covers that were tributes to various movie posters, including Army of Darkness, 28 Days Later, The Evil Dead, and Shaun of the Dead. While not quite as good as Suydam's work, this was still a cool idea, and Land executed it very well. He's often been accused of being too much of a "tracer" of the sources he models his work from, but in this case that trait served him well as it allowed him to be extremely true to the originals.
I'm not going to tell you this is one of the finest Marvel books you'll ever read, but it did take the Marvel Zombies franchise in an interesting and unexpected new direction. And for that, it's at least worth looking at if you enjoyed the concept of the series.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
See the whole zombified deadpool head is a bit convoluted isn't it? Funny how when the deadpool merc with a mouth review came up I suggested everyone read zombies 3 and 4 first and I was nixed saying it was "unnecessary to understand the plot".
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