Monday, October 13, 2008

Marvel Zombies 3 #1

Writer: Fred van Lente
Artist: Kev Walker
Colourist: Jean Francois-Beaulieu
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Bill Rosemann

Is this joke still going?

Marvel Zombies is officially on its third miniseries. But that doesn't count the Ultimate Fantastic Four arc, or the Black Panther arc, or the Army of Darkness crossover. In reality, we're now up to six stories about a world where the Marvel heroes became zombies and ate everyone.

So you'd think the joke would have been driven into the ground by now.

But, it turns out, there's some mileage in this one yet. Fred van Lente and Kev Walker solve the "where do you go from here?" problem by taking the franchise to its logical conclusion: zombie Deadpool invades the Marvel Universe. And the local heroes have to fight him.

Not the A-list heroes. That would be stupid; they can't possibly die, and a zombie story needs expendable bodies. And this is where the Initiative provides a solution, as the zombies arrive in the Man-Thing's swamp, and blunder into the Z-list members of the Florida team. El Conquistador, anyone? Aquarian, the space hippy? Now these guys are expendable.

For our actual hero, van Lente reaches for the logical choice: Machine Man, who can't be infected. And who's still acting like he's in NextWave.

The result is a surprisingly fun romp, which combines invading zombies with all sorts of easter egg continuity references for the hardcore fans. (And let's face it, who else is going to buy Marvel Zombies 3?) Kev Walker shows a hint of a Sean Phillips influence in his work, getting the right balance between grimy and superheroic. It's... it's really good, which I didn't expect at all.

Don't get me wrong; this really should be the end of the road for the Marvel Zombies joke. But it does look like going out on a high.

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