Earlier this week I got a copy of the hardcover collection Marvel Zombies, and I have to admit, I’m deeply impressed. With all the corporate ass-covering that goes on in the media world, what other company would be willing to take its flagship intellectual properties, several of which are the basis of forthcoming mega-budget movies — I’m looking at you, Wolverine, Iron Man, the Hulk, Spider-man, the Silver Surfer, and (probably) Captain America and the Avengers — and turn them into flesh-eating zombies?
I mean, we’re talking about Spider-man eating Aunt May and Mary Jane. That right there is the mark of a comic with the courage of its convictions. (That’s Mary Jane, above, in zombie form.)
Marvel Zombies is spun off – I think — from an episode in Ultimate Fantastic Four in which every hero on an alternate earth is infected with a zombifying illness. The key is that the ‘heroes’ actually retain their sentience, at least as long as they’re well-fed. They appreciate the horrific nature of their actions, they just can’t calm their insatiable hunger for human flesh. The action centers — briefly — on the uninfected Magneto’s attempts to survive on that world. Briefly. After that the whole book is just a Sadean orgy of cruelty. Captain America loses the top of his skull on page 5 (it doesn’t slow him down). Iron Man loses his legs. Wasp spends much of the book as a decapitated head (it’s bitten off by her husband Giant-man).
Etc. The zombies are pleasantly cavalier about the whole business. Every time somebody breaks into the standard flowery comic-book-hero palaver, the zombies all roll their eyes and look bored. They just want to eat flesh. How hard is that to understand?