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No matter what you might think of the Marvel Zombies stories, this is indeed a magnificent collection - assembling Marvel Zombies-related stories from three Marvel comic book titles, and a one-off, as well as interviews with nearly everyone involved (takes you longer to read than the comics themselves, and quite interesting to boot), not to mention a collection of over 30 alternate painted covers that pay tribute to different "classic" marvel covers, and you have a stupendous item. This is in addition to the fact that the stories are clever, gory, hip, well-written, way out in terms of creativity, and full of incredible art (even if some of it looks a bit flat and computer-generated, it always sparkles).
Here's Ultimate Fantastic Four #21-23, which shows how Mark Millar (of Kick-Ass, Enemy Of The State and Old Man Logan fame) introduced the concept of a zombie Fantastic Four. The tale of a trans-dimensional travel is pretty good, and we get to see Magneto make a supreme sacrifice (later on we get hints as to why this may be - guilty conscience over something, perhaps). Great zombie action, and plenty of cool near-escapes. Sue Richards is hot, by the way! But being someone who mainly read comics in the 1970s and 80s (before having another look over these past years), I'm having a hard time getting used to the idea that she's actually the most powerful of the Fantastic Four, although now that I think back the idea was starting to arise around the time I stopped reading comics in the 1980s. But hey, no complaints here - it's a good thing!!
The proper Marvel Zombies dedicated five-part mini-series picks up where this alternate Fantastic Four tale leaves off - with Magneto facing the zombie hordes, and there's great battling before we settle down and learn what's bugging our zombified super-heroes - lots of bickering, discussing their sad fates, and trying to plan ahead; sassy dialogue and good fun here. Some disgusting action between Wasp and Giant Man, insane injuries, total Hulk/Bruce Banner weirdness, a crazy scene involving the Black Panther, Wolverine's most disgusting scene EVER, some Captain America head injury insanity (except he's called Corporal America here), and several zombie "deaths". Also, some big names in the regular Marvel universe get eaten, to very surprising results! It's insane that Ghost Rider can become a zombie - isn't he already dead, sorta? Nutty interaction with the Asteroid-M Acolytes that isn't actually very interesting... Funny how the zombie Red Skull doesn't look much different than the regular Red Skull (love his final battle with Cap too - there's brains!!). Great investigation on the concept of a hunger that is much larger than life.
Through it all there are some funny scenes, like zombie Spidey and zombie Luke Cage playing cards (Go Fish), and the final plot twist simply has to be seen to believed.
After the main meat of the Marvel Zombies story, we jump back to three issues of an Ultimate Fantastic Four tale in the "main" dimension where most of the people are still human, and the local Fantastic Four has contained the zombie Fantastic Four from another dimension. The story is interesting, although the plot line gets a bit iffy around the part of Doctor Doom's plan to bring down Reed Richards (Reed's crime - injuring Dr Doom's pride!!) with some Chtulu stuff (they call it Lovecraftian, as if that's a part of reality there) that reminds us of something from a Hellboy movie... which is appropriate, actually. But the zombie Fantastic Four is great, and the zombie Reed Richards is amazingly evil (I also like his grand plan for escaping - clever!!). There's some soap opera-ing that is not-so-great (the loves of Johnny Storm, for example, and Ben meeting Alicia for the first time). Great attacks of violence, though - "It's slobbering time!!" It's also interesting how the tale intersects with Marvel Zombies 1, somewhere in the timeline just before the climactic final scene.
Three issues of Black Panther (who, with his wife Storm, is temporary leader of the Fantastic Four while Reed and Sue are on vacation) included here are so-so - they tell of a tale to a Skrull world that meets our five main Marvel Zombies: Corporal America, Giant Man, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Luke Cage. Some strangeness about an indestructible bug monster, King Solomon's golden frog, random transportation, etc. Nice zombie in-fighting happening here, with a cool zombie Luke Cage gettin' crazy. Overall there's one very interesting development when the zombies realise that there's a new element to their zombiehood that they haven't realised before; it also asks the question "how do you dismember an elastic zombie?" Right!
Marvel Zombies: Dead Days is a one-off that goes into the first days of zombie infection and shows some disgusting early destruction as our newly-zombified heroes indulge in their first meals... Spidey, Alpha Flight, yuck! We also see Reed's decision, which is insane and out of character anyway. Funnily enough, this is also where we see a zombie Wendigo, who's already a cannibal... go figure! The art in this one is less good than that of the others. A very interesting alternative story to our favorite heroes (and some villains). Marauding, and some classic battles terminate (Spidey versus Venom, Cap versus Red Skull, Spider-Man versus J Jonah Jameson!!), serious nuttiness and good fun to boot!!
The back of the book has about 60 pages of images and interviews and alternate covers (there are also alternate covers scattered throughout the book). There are also some pretty funny Zombie-themed alternate covers for contemporary titles, including quite a few Deadpool covers that show Deadpool in a variety of poses modelled after iconic film posters (Alien, Dawn Of The Dead, Pretty Woman, The Graduate, Trainspotting, Silence of the Lambs) and album covers (Nevermind) that has some sort of zombie element to it... like a rolling zombie head. Then, just to make the appendix juicier, there's a catalogue of Tales Of The Zombie magazine covers from the early '70s. Class!!