Marvel Zombies 2

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.75

The zombies return! Now who didn’t see that coming? How about them returning 40 years later? Ah, thought not. Knowing that a simple repetition would not work, Kirkman does something unexpected here and has the story pick up some four decades later, in a twist that ensures the sequel will be distinct from the original Marvel Zombies.

Marvel Zombies 2

The story opens as the now cosmic zombies face a new enemy: No food. They’ve literally scoffed their way across the universe, consuming people and planets alike – but the main course is over and dessert’s off the menu because they ate that too. At this point they remember Reed Richards built a dimension jumping device, cue their return to earth. On the way they stop for lunch breaks. How? Well, there’s always a few things that get missed on the initial trip, such as Ego the Living Planet.

On Earth the Black Panther established a society that spanned both humans and mutants, a society that is now coming under increased strain due to 40 years of peace. The strain is due to militant mutants led by the son of Fabian Cortez, who wishes to take over from the aging Black Panther. Also present is the zombified Wasp who appears to have the hunger under control by not feasting for a long time. Panther’s grandson finds the head of zombie Hawkeye still alive. Wasp points to it as evidence that she is not an isolated case.

Events come to a head with Cortez ordering an assassination attempt on the Black Panther, one that would have been successful if not for Wasp’s intervention – she zombies T’Challa and in a flash the hunger returns, so they both feed on the dead acolyte. At this point Wasp quips that they’re over the worst, what else could happen? Well there is that horde of cosmic zombies on the way….

The split structure Kirkman employs here allows him to flit between dark comedy and the more serious plot of a how a society survives, how power gets passed from one generation to the next, and what direction is taken. He takes the notion of the zombies consuming the galaxy to the ultimate degree in the opening pages, where Phillips gives an incredible image of the zombies, which has a zombie Gladiator, Dark Phoenix and Thanos – who shortly gets his head kicked in by the Hulk. The other, very smart, aspect is that the zombies retain their original personalities, so it is that Hamk Pym is the one who recalls Richards’ device, Iron Man who’s trying to lead, Hulk’s permanently hacked off.

As to the art by Sean Phillips, what needs be said other than it’s excellent? He manages to convey the difficulties faced by the society on earth and the frustration over their lack options extremely well, Panther’s grandson’s curiosity, that sees him finding Hawkeye’s head, is equally well-conveyed. The issue reads very easily from panel to panel throughout. Then there is Sudam’s zombie Civil War cover, which in a way is very apt – for just as the society is riven in two, so too are the zombies far from united. In a telling panel, Stark warns Gladiator against eating Thanos, only to mutter: “If only we could…” If only they could eat other…

It may be that some fans are suffering from zombie overload, but for those that are not this issue is a good opener for what looks to be an intriguing sequel to a the smash hit series. It builds on the ground established by its predecessor, and then goes off in its own direction without is still losing consistency with what went before. For myself I’m hoping this is a final conclusion to the story, as I’m not convinced the idea can sustain itself over many more issues. If all involved can resist the temptation to go down the trilogy route, so much the better.

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  • Ben Crofts Ben Crofts is resident in Essex, works in London and has found comics and philosophy mix surprisingly well.