I was a huge fan of the first couple of Marvel Zombies mini-series. Written by Robert Kirkman (I wonder whatever happened to that guy?), it featured an alternate Marvel Universe where everyone from Spider-Man to Hulk to Thanos ended up as a flesh eating zombie. And when you are a super powered zombie, there’s not much resistance the human race can throw at you.
But all good things must come to an end…specifically the human race, and with it the Zombies greatest food source. What’s a zombie to do? At the very least, become a domain of Battleworld.
After the break I’ll look at Marvel Zombies #1 and Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies #1.
Also, if you are like me and haven’t read all of Johnathon Hickman’s Avengers run leading up to Secret Wars, be sure to take Tom’s Road To Secret Wars course at gabbinggeekuniversity.com. The reading materials are online here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six and Part Seven.
And that course is a prerequisite to the other parts of this series: Part One, Part Two, Part Three,Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve
Marvel Zombies #1
I don’t know a lot about the protagonist of this book, Elsa Bloodstone. She is the daughter of veteren Marvel monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone. In some continuities she also has a brother named Cullen Bloodstone, who looks suspiciously like the amnesiac boy she meets in this issue. It’s not revealed if that is who he is, and a flashback scene indicates that Elsa’s other brothers have been killed. However Cullen appears to be quite a bit younger than Elsa, so it could still be him.
On Battleworld, Elsa is a Commander on the Shield. Keeping the likes of the Marvel Zombies, Ultron and Annihilus from making their way into the rest of the world. In battle with a teleporter calling himself “Red Terror” (though he appears to likely be Azazel), Elsa is injured when the elf stransports the both of them into the Deadlands. The home of the Marvel Zombies.
When Elsa regains consciousness she reluctantly teams up with a young boy that can’t remember who he is or how he got there. He also turns out to be not much help when they are attacked by a zombified Juggernaut. When Elsa appears to be destined to be a tasty snack, the gem she wears around her neck blasts Juggy with some unknown beam allowing Elsa to recover and crush his skull.
Shortly after, the duo discover that the way back to the Shield is blocked by potentially millions of zombies. There is no way to get through. Instead the pair turn around and head back into the heart of the Deadlands, unaware they are being hunted.
Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies #1
Age of Ultron (not to be confused with the latest Avengers movie of the same name that had no relation outside of the main villian) was a long delayed Marvel Event that ran in 2013. It was a mess of a time travel story made even worse by the long delay when it was being produced. Most notably that the Spider-Man that appears is clearly Peter Parker and not the Superior Spider-Man, as he was in continuity at that time. Marvel created a Superior Spider-Man tie-in to try to explain everything, but it just seemed forced. As did most of the event, which would end with multiple question marks that would never be approached since, and the fact that the final ten pages turned into essentially ad copy for the series launching out of the event. Needless to say, I wasn’t a big fan.
Luckily, this series bares little resemblance to that storyline nor the disappointing movie of the same name. Similar to the comic though, it does feature a domain that has been conquered by Ultron, but there doesn’t appear to be any time traveling Sue Storms or Wolverines to set things right this time.
We open in the Deadlands where Tigra has been banished over the Shield for attempting to overthrow the baron of her domain (which is never stated). Even though death is inevitable, she’s never felt so alive and finally feels free. As the Marvel Zombies move in for the kill (I’ve noticed on Battleworld all the zombies seem to be villains as opposed to the original series which mostly featured heroes) no one is happy when a squad of Ultron’s arrive. While it’s not clear what happens to Tigra at this point, the zombies aren’t much of a match for the killer robots.
The rest of the issue deals with one Mr. Hank Pym, who you may know as the creator of the comic book version of Ultron. But this Hank Pym is from the Valley of Doom, the domain where the series 1872 takes place. (As I write this 1872 has not yet been released, so I don’t know if these two tie together in any meaningful way.) It seems that Hank has been banished over the Shield for attempting to create a “clockwork mechanical man” (assumption “Ultron”) using a vast quantity of an “amazing metal” (assumption “adamantium”) that “Doom ain’t partial ta too much of in any one place”.
Once Hank begins to wander around the Ultron domain of Perfection he encounters the zombie versions of Rhino and Owl. (It seems the domains on this side of the Shield aren’t segregated by border walls as the other domains are. So the zombies and Ultrons seem to move freely from one domain to the other.) As Hank is about to be eaten he is rescued by a pair of androids (Vision and original Human Torch Jim Hammond) and Wonder Man who is made of ionic energy. All of which would be pretty unappealing to the appetite of a flesh eating zombie.
It seems they’ve been waiting for a Hank Pym to come their way and ask him if he’d be interested in changing the world?
(Hat tip to Tom Kelly for the explanation to the question of why Wonder Man is safely hanging around in this part of the world.)