Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Zombie Week: "Marvel Zombies" Volume 4

“Marvel Zombies” is the perfect zombie read for me, because it combines the two greatest myths that touched me early on in my adolescence: zombies at the age of 8 and superheroes at the age of 10. To be honest I thought with great despair that the series would end, because the whole Earth was devoured in the first and second mini-series, but thanks to Marvel and their handy multi-verse we get different scenarios.

Volume 4 tops my favorite list by far combining zombies, super heroes and magic, which is always a handful in Marvel titles. To me this is the ultimate un-holy trinity especially when blood and gore is involved. The four issues follow the Midnight Sons, super hero team formed by A.R.M.OR. composed out of C and D-listers like Morbius, Werewolf by Night, Hellstorm and Jennifer Kale, who track down escaped from a zombie infested dimension Simon Garth aka the Zombie and zombified Deadpool, though just his head is carried around. Their mission leads them to the island of Taino in the Caribbean Sea to villain Black Talon, who wishes to use the zombie virus as weapon and sell it to the Hood, kind-of the new Kingpin in that universe. The Midnight Sons have to battle out zombie Fish Men and a super villain team called the Night Shift before the day is saved for good or is it?

Each issue opens with a final video and testament of one of the Midnight Sons, where the writer Fred Van Lente cleverly inserts information about the reality of this Earth, the virus and its nature as well as shading the character’s past and personality. The Marvel universe is a rich and potent place to create new superheroes and see those pushed behind by front runners such as the X-Men and the Avengers ascend to the spotlight for their own fifteen minutes of fame. While the first two volumes concentrate on the gore factor and enjoying a good zombie apocalypse, where beloved characters die off and come as flesh eating dicks, volume four returns to the more typical outbreak and survival horror traditions, from which the greatest zombie stories stem. The scientific look on the zombie virus and the creation of a vaccine that can kill it as well as its evolution into ‘superbug’ status kill the hellish atmosphere, but never diminish the horror.

Artist Kev Walker has done an impressive job at delivering decomposition and rot on the human anatomy with enough detail to stay in the realm of super hero art style, while scary enough to drop a stone in your stomach. My preferences lie within the flashy magical aspects of any story, so the climax of this story with one major aerobe cloud that can resurrect and sew together corpses and a possessed by Dormamu Jennifer Kale battle it out to save this Earth completely won me over. Among the action there is also the human angle such as greed and human drama as well as comic relief in the face of the zombie Deadpool, also referred to as Z-pool, who never fails to make me laugh with such lines as:

‘Do not be alarmed! We do not, we repeat, we do not want to eat you! That is an ugly stereotype! ’

It’s a must-read for zombie fans.

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