Saturday, July 16, 2011

Marvel Zombies 4 (comics)

Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Kev Walker
Collects: Marvel Zombies 4 #1-4

One of these days, the last bit of potential is going to be wrung out of the Marvel Zombies concept. It's going to happen. This cannot possibly sustain itself forever. But today is not that day; and given that 5 has the same writer, tomorrow does not look good either.

Having generally fended off the attack by the Marvel Zombies universe last time, Morbius and ARMOR decide it's time to go on the offensive. There are, after all, a couple rogue zombies that made it past the dragnet in the chaos of last volumes climax, so time is running short. His response is to get together an all star ghoul squad of Marvels more prominent monsters to throw down.

This includes Man-Thing and boy oh boy, do I love me some Man-Thing (though I admit I love his DC counterpart, Swamp Thing, more).

What follows is a darkly humorous story with some heart to it. Our heroic monsters naturally have some personal issues to work out. It ain't easy having fangs and/or fur. There's also a possible death sentence hanging over them; the good doctor Morbius has made a vaccine, but it carries an inherent danger. Like all vaccines, there's a chance of contracting the disease and this isn't your garden variety flu. Under normal circumstances, you contract this, you're done. Each team member thusly puts out a "last will and testament", of sorts, each of which help frame the events.

Hell, even Zombie Deadpool - or Headpool as Marvel dubbed him - has a few moments where you feel sorry for him.

The jump to bringing the virus into the 616 universe seems to have revitilized this franchise. There are real stakes now; despite the fact that we know the heroes will win the day - because if they didn't, there wouldn't be a regular Marvel universe anymore - there are still consequences that could come about. ARMOR is literally ready to nuke the island at one point just to stop the virus. These miniseries are genuinely enjoyable, to the point where I can't really imagine going back to the barren, essentially dead universe we started out in.

Kev Walker again illustrates our zombie tomfoolery and Marvel really ought to just make a horror ongoing and put him on it. That's about as good a praise as I can really give for this. But I can't think of any horror ongoings he could be put on. Well, unless he wants to jump over to DC to partake in the DCnU.

The Score: 8 out of 10

I don't know how long this franchise can last, but as long as Van Lente is on it, I'll read it. I mean, the dude basically uses the water cycle to mix the zombie virus into a sentient cloud that kills or turns everything it rains on. Who else could come up with that?

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