Now here comes the big change I mentioned last time. Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips have left, leaving Fred Van Lente (The Weapon) and Kev Walker (Judge Dredd,) as our creative team. I also recently learned that this takes place 5 years after the original “Marvel Zombies,” so I was right about “Marvel Zombies 2” being unnecessary. This series is actually 4 issues long, shorter than the others before it. It is also the first crossover of the zombie universe and the main Marvel universe, so the people that die actually matter.
We begin in a swamp in Florida, home of The Command team, whose members include Jennifer Kale, Wundarr, Siege, and the Conquistador. Florida happens to house the Nexus of Realities, which allows the zombies to travel to the main universe. Siege and Conquistador are killed by generic zombies, and Wundarr and Kale are bitten by zombie Deadpool. They manage to defeat Deadpool by throwing him into a boat propeller, leaving only his head alive. Wundarr hibernates to cure the disease and Jennifer is taken into A.R.M.O.R’s contamination room. Morbius, a scientist and vampire that works at A.R.M.O.R, sends out Jocasta, a robot girl, and Aaron Stack, the Machine Man to the zombie universe to recover a cure from a human blood sample.
They are quickly attacked by zombie, winged heroes (Falcon,Vulture, Angel), and Jocasta loses a leg, while Machine Man kills the zombies. They hide in a cave to repair Jocasta’s leg, while Machine Man makes some lewd comments, as Jocasta and him used to be a couple. They detect multiple humans in a base, and when they go in they discover a human cloning facility run by the Kingpin. They meet the Kingpin’s wife, Vanessa, who hasn’t been infected and gives them a blood sample. They are about to leave when Aaron notices that the clones are being treated like robots, which is a sore spot for him. He sends Jocasta back to go deliver the sample, and charges into the cloning lab.
The next couple pages are just an amazing fight scene. Machine Man slices up zombies, while quipping like Duke Nukem, even down to making a variation of the “Kick ass and chew bubble gum” joke. He cuts off Ghost RIder’s head and steals his motorcycle. He has a hard time controlling, and when a zombie runs into the way, he crashes the bike into a subway tunnel, which blows up most of his body. Jocasta returns to A.R.M.O.R, where Morbius turns out to be a zombie in disguise. The zombie is found out, but not before he infects some people, and one escapes the lab.
Zombies approach Machine Man, which turns out to be a hologram, and Aaron kills the zombies. He grabs hold of Lockjaw, a teleporting bulldog, and uses him to teleport outside. The zombie Morbius attacks him, but the actual Morbius appears and stakes the zombie, killing him. Aaron then declares the greatest statement ever, “My name is Machine Man and I just saved the ☠☠☠☠ing world!” He gets back together with Jocasta, and Morbius declares that he must find the escaped zombie. He says that he has reformed his team, the Midnight Sons, ending the book.
See? You don’t need a bunch of political garbage and space travel to make a good Marvel Zombies story. All you needed was someone tearing up zombies and being a general badass.
Plot: Now this is what was needed; A reason to care, I.E. actual characters in danger of the zombie virus. Focusing on fighting the plague is actually more interesting than I thought it would be.
Characters: Machine Man is the perfect main character for this series. He doesn’t take the whole thing seriously (why should he?) but he still feels genuine emotion when dealing with Jocasta and when he talks about what happened to robots.
Action: Machine Man is just full of weapons, which leads to many varied kills. He has all your classic weapons,too; Chainsaws, guns, lasers, and the flamethrower.
Art: I enjoy Kev Walker’s cleaner art style in this book. It just fits better with the lighter tone brought by Machine Man and Deadpool.
Ending: Aaron and Jocasta getting back together, while cliche, is still heartwarming. But for doing another, “The end?” the ending fails again.
Final Thoughts: This is the height of the Marvel Zombies series. Crisp, clean (no caffeine) art makes a huge difference that I didn’t expect. It doesn’t ever become too ridiculous, while still being fun. It was sad to see the Commando team die at the beginning, but they at least tried to fight back, unlike others that we’ll see later. But all that aside, Machine Man makes this comic, and his Bruce Cambell/Duke Nukem personality and actions make for the most fun zombie slaying story ever, and brings us another Vintage.