It seems like everything comes back to the undead these days doesn’t it? Back in October I reviewed Feed by Mira Grant, and now I return to the zombie genre for a review that’s been a long time coming. I don’t know how many of you have heard of it, I certainly hadn’t until my uncle turned me on to it, but there is a series of graphic novels (which collect mini-series) called… wait for it… Marvel Zombies.
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “Why the hell would you need that?” But trust me, this is by far not nearly as campy or silly as you would expect. Of course, it is quite funny when Spider-Man’s leg falls off. But that probably makes no sense, let me back up.
It’s not really all that clear, at least in the first five-issue series, where the zombies come from, it IS clear that all of the Marvel heroes have been infected. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine (screw the healing factor, zombies eat brains!) — you name it, they’re probably either infected or dead. And once infected… well let’s just say that things get very messy.
I won’t spoil where the zombies came from. Their origin is collected in the Marvel Zombies: Dead Days graphic novel. And let me say, it is a rather spectacular origin. But regardless of where they came from, by the time the series starts, they’ve eaten just about everyone in the world. And towards the end of the first mini-series, Galactus makes an appearance (for those of you who don’t know him, he’s a massive being from another planet, and a major player in the Silver Surfer series). Again, I don’t want to spoil what happens, though you can probably guess…
The art is spectacular, where spectacular means “incredibly gory.” I don’t think there’s a single page that isn’t blood-soaked and covered in severed limbs or innards that are no longer inside. Here’s some examples for you: the Hulk disembowels himself (but I won’t tell you how, because it’s just too great to spoil), Iron Man is severed in half, and Spider-Man, as mentioned earlier, loses his leg. Well, half of it; the other half he rips off. So yes, it is very, very gory. Also, all of the covers of the individual issues are gory, zombi-fied versions of famous Marvel covers. Such as Amazing Fantasy #15 (a.k.a. Spider-Man’s first appearance).
The writing is also pretty darn good. Somehow, both humorous and serious “holy crap I ate my family” moments are incorporated, and the story is pretty deep. The Marvel Zombies series essentially created a universe within a universe. And it’s definitely worth travelling to, if you have the interstellar vehicles to get there (i.e., some extra cash to spend on graphic novels).
I won’t post a list of all the comics, it would make my post fairly lengthy, and it’s already kind of long, as is typical for me. But I’ll leave you with this: a few years ago, some fans took it upon themselves to make a 2 minute live action movie. I haven’t watched it myself yet, but in my defense, at the time of this post I had just discovered it. But I did skim through it and though it is clearly low budget, it also looks pretty damn good.
Here’s the IMDB page (yeah, I’m kind of surprised too): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1314203/
And here’s the video: