"Marvel Zombies" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Marvel Comics
Originally published as Marvel Zombies #1 - 5
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Sean Phillips (interior) and Arthur Suydam (cover)
2007, 136 pages (5 issues plus covers)
Trade Paperback released on October 30th, 2007
Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! Lately it seems that everywhere you turn there's a member of the undead ready to bite into your sweet succulent brain. The Marvel Universe is no different. After the surprising success of Mark Millar's pull-the-rug-out-from-under-you reveal that an alternate dimension of the traditional Marvel Universe was filled with zombies of our favorite heroes, the next logical step was to give them their own mini-series. Marvel Zombies was given five issues with noted zombie expert Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead). From these humble beginnings, another four or five mini-series were spawned along with tons of variant covers and assorted merchandise. This is the one that started it all, though.
As I mentioned, this mini-series takes place in an alternate dimension from the current 616 Marvel Universe. There aren't years and years of continuity to sift through or back issues to read. It's pretty easy to dive right in. There's Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk and they want to eat brains. They still have their abilities and their personalities, but from time to time they're driven by an unbelievable hunger for human flesh. Being that they're all super powered individuals, they've seemingly picked the Earth clean of all life. Now they're desperate for more and that hunger is creeping up again.
Fortunately for them, the Silver Surfer shows up and with him the planet eater himself, Galactus. This is like sitting a starving man in front of a gigantic feast. You can imagine where this goes.
The one thing that's rather hit or miss was the art. On the one hand, the covers by Arthur Suydam are beautiful. Many others think so too, apparently, which is why Marvel released a book just containing all the cover art spoofing various iconic covers from previous Marvel comics. The interior art by Sean Phillips (Criminal) just didn't do it for me. Yes, this is a dark and depressing world where the dead walk the earth, but everything looks half-done, as if the artist got the gist of what he was doing and decided not to complete the panels. Phillips' style is perfect for a book like Criminal which is a film noir in comic form, but he doesn't seem to excel here.
Marvel Zombies is not a book to be taken seriously. If you like your comics to have a deeper meaning or to make some sort of comment on society then look elsewhere. What this book contains is pure, unbridled zombie fun. Kirkman explains in his intro to the book that he put a lot of stuff in the first issue alone that he was sure Marvel wouldn't print. This included but was not limited to: Spider-Man's leg being torn from his body, Colonel (not Captain) America's head being split open and the Hulk returning to his puny Bruce Banner form only to have the contents of his once massive stomach protrude and break through his skin. All of it is in the book and more. This was merely the beginning of the Marvel Zombies rise. Unfortunately, none of the mini-series that followed it were anywhere near as good. Leave it to Marvel to squeeze every last dollar out of an idea until there's absolutely nothing left.
Click a cover to purchase.