Marvel Zombies

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Marvel Zombies

Cover to Marvel Zombies hardcover TPB.
Art by Arthur Suydam.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Genre Superhero, Zombie
Publication date December 2005 - April 2006
Number of issues 5
Main character(s) Zombie versions of Marvel Comics characters
Creative team
Writer(s) Robert Kirkman
Artist(s) Sean Phillips
Arthur Suydam
Collected editions
Marvel Zombies ISBN 0-7851-2277-X

Marvel Zombies is a five-issue limited series published from December 2005 to April 2006 by Marvel Comics. The series was written by Robert Kirkman with art by Sean Phillips and Arthur Suydam. It was the first series in the Marvel Zombies series of related stories.


[edit] Publication history

The Marvel Zombies concept first appeared in Ultimate Fantastic Four #21-23 (2005) by writer Mark Millar and artist Greg Land. The premise is that almost all superpowered beings on Earth have become flesh-eating zombies after being infected by an alien virus. Although encountered by a character from the Ultimate universe, the zombies originated in the alternate universe of (Earth-2149). [1] The zombies later appeared in Ultimate Fantastic Four #30 – 32 (2006).

In December of the same year Marvel published a five-part limited series titled Marvel Zombies, written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Sean Phillips, with painted covers by Arthur Suydam.

Time magazine's Lev Grossman names Marvel Zombies as one of the Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2007.[2]

[edit] Plot summary

The exact cause of the infection is unknown, although anti-hero Ash Williams initially believes the zombies are deadites, it is later revealed that the plague is extraterrestrial in origin.[3] The mutants Magneto and his aide Fabian Cortez apparently negotiate with an unknown force to bring the infection to Earth-2149 and so reduce the human population, but this backfires when mutants also prove susceptible. It is finally revealed that the plague is brought to Earth by a zombified Sentry who came via a realm thought by Ash Williams to be the gates of Heaven. The Sentry then battles and infects the Avengers. The infection spreads via contact with the blood of the victim, usually through a bite by an infected individual. The zombified superbeings largely retain their intellect and personality, although they are constantly driven by the hunger for fresh meat.

Ultimate Mister Fantastic is tricked by an older version of himself (possibly Zombie Reed used his shape-shifting abilities to trick him) into teleporting to Earth-2149 - now inhabited by zombie versions of Earth's superheroes. Reed is saved by Magneto, one of the few uninfected survivors. Magneto explains that the infection was brought by a version of the hero Sentry from yet another dimension. Once Sentry began consuming humans, the infection—especially when Quicksilver was zombified—quickly spread.[4] At the onset of the infection, Magneto instructs Fabian Cortez to take all uninfected mutants to Asteroid M for safety. Nick Fury of the organization S.H.I.E.L.D has a similar plan, and summons all uninfected superhumans to the Helicarrier.

Reed Richards and Tony Stark are commissioned to solve the issue. Tony Stark decides to create an interdimensional device to assist in the evacuation of the Earth, but as time is short, only a small personalized transporter can be fashioned. The trauma of seeing his children eaten by a zombified She-Hulk drives Reed Richards insane. He concludes that zombies are the next step in evolution and purposely infects the Fantastic Four with an injection of the Zombie virus. They storm the Helicarrier and all aboard are zombified. Fury orders Thor to destroy the device that would allow travel across the dimensions (thereby preventing the infection from spreading). However, Thor is later "zombified" by the Fantastic Four after destroying the teleporter, and the infected heroes devour Fury. The zombies then take the remains of the device to the Baxter Building and plan to rebuild it.[5]

Having ravaged the Earth, the zombified Reed Richards reverse engineers the interdimensional device, contacts his Ultimate Universe counterpart during the young Richards' exploration on the Negative Zone and tricks him into visiting the zombie dimension. Ultimate Mister Fantastic is horrified to discover the ruined world. After explaining how he arrived from his alternate universe, Magneto realizes that it may prove to be their only hope for escape from their destroyed world. Magneto teleports Mister Fantastic and a small group of human survivors away, but stays behind to destroy the teleporter and ensure the zombies do not follow and infect other dimensions. Zombie versions of the Fantastic Four, however, have already teleported to the Ultimate universe, but are incarcerated in the Baxter Building upon their arrival. [6]

Magneto eventually learns that the Acolytes and Forge are still alive on Asteroid M. However, before he can reach them, he is attacked by the zombified heroes. Despite a valiant effort (including cutting off the top of Colonel America's head with his own shield), Magneto is defeated and eaten. The Silver Surfer then arrives on Earth and informs the zombies that his master Galactus is en route to devour the planet. The zombies attack the Surfer, who is overpowered and devoured by several of the former heroes: Colonel America (the Captain America of this universe), Iron Man, Giant-Man, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, the Hulk and Wolverine. They acquire a portion of the Power Cosmic, and then, in hopes that the power cosmic can make zombies edible, they slaughter the remaining zombified heroes.

The Acolytes return to Earth to find Magneto, but instead discover a still-living Black Panther. The Panther has escaped from the lab of the zombie Giant-Man, who has been keeping him alive as a food source. As a result of several feedings, the Panther is now missing an arm and a foot. The Panther is aided in his escape by the head of the zombie Wasp, who lost her body in a fight with her husband Giant-Man. Fabian Cortez takes them to Asteroid M in order to study Wasp and find a cure. The mutant Forge tells the Black Panther that he can replace the Panther's lost limbs with cybernetic replacements. The Panther also guesses as to the true nature of the zombie addiction. Observing the Wasp's head begging for flesh, even though unable to feed, he reasons the hunger is more psychological than physical.

Galactus then arrives on Earth and is attacked by the zombies, but repels them easily. Giant-Man, Iron Man, and Bruce Banner create a device that will amplify the powers they gained from the Silver Surfer, and together they are able to injure Galactus. The cosmic-powered zombies fight off zombified versions of several supervillains (Colonel America is destroyed in the battle) and then proceed to devour Galactus. Giant-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Man and Wolverine are then infused with Galactus' power cosmic, becoming the collective Galactus. While this is occurring, Ultimate Mr. Fantastic seeks a cure to the zombie plague for the captive versions of the Fantastic Four. The zombies, however, escape, and are eventually defeated by Mr. Fantastic, who at the time was trapped in the body of Ultimate Doctor Doom. Doom regains control of his body at the last instant, and crosses over into Earth-2149 just as the cosmic zombies are finished devouring Galactus, and prepares to battle them. [7]

Five years later, Forge, the Black Panther and the Wasp return to Earth. The Panther and the Wasp are now equipped with new cybernetic limbs and the Wasp is also lucid once more and cured of her addiction. On Earth, they find nothing but plant life, with the zombies having long since departed.

Sometime after this, a new version of the Earth-616 Fantastic Four — consisting of the Panther, his wife Storm, the Human Torch and the Thing — find themselves on a Skrull planet in the Earth-2149 universe, and encounter the cosmic-powered zombies. After an extensive battle, the Fantastic Four escape, with the cosmic zombies intrigued by the fact that there's a reality where uninfected versions of themselves exist. [8]

[edit] Sequels

From May to September 2007, an intercompany crossover between Marvel and Dynamite Entertainment, published from provided information as to the source of the zombie infection in the five-part limited series titled Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness (Marvel) and Army of Darkness (Dynamite). In July of the same year, a one-shot graphic novel, Marvel Zombies: Dead Days provided more story details, and the zombies also appear in a three-part storyline in Black Panther vol. 3, #28 – 30, although they make their appearance in the last page of #27 first, and encounter the Earth-616 Fantastic Four.

A sequel to the original series, the five issue Marvel Zombies 2, was published from October 2007 to February 2008, and Marvel Zombies 3 a four issue series, commenced October 2008.

In 2006, the October issue of Wizard magazine featured a one-page Marvel Zombies comic by artist Sean Phillips called "Eat the Neighbors." It parodied Hostess Fruit Pie advertisements featured in Marvel titles in the 1970s which showcased Marvel superheroes defeating villains by offering them snacks. In this instance, Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man serve two children as "Hostess Meat Pies" after the children mistake them for legitimate superheroes.

Another humorous one-shot comic book was also published in 2007 featuring the alternate universe animal hero Spider-Ham and titled Ultimate Civil War Spider-Ham Crisis. Spider-Ham accidentally crosses over into Earth-2149 and becomes, as J. Michael Straczynski puts it, "Undead Ham".[9]

[edit] Collected editions

There are several trade paperbacks collecting the various stories:

  • Marvel Zombies (collects Marvel Zombies #1-5, hardcover, 136 pages, August 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2277-X)
  • Marvel Zombies: Dead Days (collects, Ultimate Fantastic Four #21-23 and #30-32, "Marvel Zombies: Dead Days" and Black Panther (vol. 3) #28-30,[10] 272 pages, April 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3232-5, softcover, February 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3563-4)

Other related collections include:

[edit] Merchandise

There is a range of supporting merchandise based on the characters. Diamond Select have produced Marvel Zombie Minimates, [11] action figures [12] and a number of mini busts. [13]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes (September 2006)
  2. ^ Grossman, Lev; Top 10 Graphic Novels,
  3. ^ Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #4(2007)
  4. ^ Seen in Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness
  5. ^ Marvel Zombies: Dead Days (2007)
  6. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #21–23 (2005)
  7. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four #30–32
  8. ^ Black Panther (vol. 3) #27–#31
  10. ^ Black Panther (vol. 3) #26-30 collected in Black Panther: Four the Hard Way, October 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2655-3
  11. ^ Marvel Zombies Minimates Boxed Set
  12. ^ Diamond Select turns Marvel Zombies into action figures, Newsarama, February 9, 2007
  13. ^ DST Brings Captain America Back from the Grave

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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