Marvel Zombies Return

Let’s just end this. This book is the finale of the original Marvel Zombies story that got sidetracked after Marvel Zombies 2. It is also just absolutely awful.

Alright, the book is 5 issues long with the first 4 issues showing off what happened to the Marvel Zombies after they were teleported away by Cortez.

The first issue is the Spider-Man story, which probably had the best concept based on the art alone. It has this silver age vibe to it and I really like it. However, the story is just zombie Spider-Man killing the Sinister Six in increasingly gory ways.

Issue 2 is about Iron Man, but not the zombie Iron Man. It’s a retelling of “Demon In a Bottle” but with zombies attacking. Everyone but Rhodey dies, and he takes Iron Man’s place.

Issue 3 stars Wolverine. Zombie Wolverine fights another Wolverine and gets wrecked. I could barely tell what was going on in this issue because the art is so muddy. I couldn’t even root for either Wolverine because I forgot who was the zombie and who was the normal guy.

Issue 4 is World War Hulk with zombies. The end. Nothing else happens beyond that statement.

Issue 5 is where everyone comes together. They show a group of zombie heroes and villains who are all supposed to be Justice League analogues inside a base next to a dead Galactus. They talk about killing Black Panther, Luke Cage, and Wasp so there goes the only likable characters from the previous story. The four heroes from the previous issues arrive and fight these other zombies. Sandman appears and kills them all using some nanites that Spider-Man helped make. Giant Man, who had been appearing and planning something since the beginning, tries to trap the Sentry to use a battery to teleport to another universe to feed off. Uatu the Watcher appears and sends the Sentry back in time to the original zombie universe to contain the virus, creating a time loop.

Final Thoughts: I was confused throughout because the first two issues don’t mention that this is “Earth Z” so the timeline was messing with me. After all the zombies are killed they show Iron Man still hovering around. But earlier he mentions that heat seeking missiles don’t work on our kind, so he is also a zombie. So that means zombies are still around and the virus isn’t contained, negating the point of the entire book.

Rating: Rubbish

 

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April Graphic Novel Ranking

This was a busy month what with the Convergence event going on. Because of the amount of single issues I reviewed, I will be splitting up the Graphic Novels and the single issues. This will be carrying on into the future, as it is unfair to compare novels to a single comic. With that out of the way, let’s begin the April ratings.

#6-5

#6- “Marvel Zombies 5”

Rating: Rubbish

Pros: Machine Man is still great, The War of the World’s setting

Cons: Bad art, horrible ending, boring throughout

#5- “Marvel Zombies 2”

Rating: Buy for a bargain

Pros; Good jokes, more character development, great art

Cons: Wasted new characters, unsatisfying ending, retreads the first one too much

#4-3

#4. “Marvel Zombies 4”

Rating: Buy for a bargain

Pros: Deadpool is funny, more original story, Man-Thing’s appearance

Cons: Dormammu comes out of nowhere, art is nothing special, leads to Marvel Zombies 5

#3. “Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn”

Rating: Full Price

Pros: Alfred and Dick’s great dialogue, funny scenes, creepy villains

Cons: Jason Todd is lame, art is spotty at points

#2

#2. “Marvel Zombies 3”

Rating: Vintage

Pros: Machine Man is hilarious, great action scenes, Aaron and Jocasta’s relationship and struggle throughout

Cons: Kind of gory for my taste

And the winner is….

#1

#1. “The Sinestro Corps War”

Rating: Vintage

Pros: Return of an amazing villain, the best fight scene I’ve ever seen, every time the oath is said it is cool, the character’s are all top notch and well rounded

Cons: The art shifts are a little distracting

And that’s the end for the Graphic Novels. Next time I’ll be covering the single issues.

Marvel Zombies 5

Alright, this is the last of the numbered “Marvel Zombies” series. There are three other comics from the series I will have to review, though. Last time, Werewolf by Night was infected and now three people are sent out to cure him. Find out who now.

Issue #1 begins in an alternate world’s old west. There a girl, Jackie, is trying to get to her father, the villain Hurricane. Zombies begin to attack and Hurricane is killed fighting them. Before he dies he passes his superspeed power to Jackie. She fights the zombies and is about to be killed when Machine Man arrives, with a partner, Howard the Duck. They take a sample of the zombie and prepare to leave when Jackie asks to go with them. They accept her and head into the Planestorm, where they arrive on a world where War of the Worlds actually happened, ending the issue.

Morbius seems to have aged 20 years since I last saw him

Issue #2 begins with Howard the Duck telling us that Machine Man has been different because Jocasta left him for her ex, Ultron. In this world they meet three freedom fighters, Killraven, Old Skull, and M’Shulla. Killraven uses his power of mind control to get one of the Martians to infect the people in the Martian breeding centers. The virus’s rapid spread causes all the Martians to leave the Earth. The issue ends with Machine Man fusing with one of those cool Martian robots with the saucer looking head. Issue #3 takes place in some old English medieval world. The Black Knight causes a zombie outbreak using a book and the heroes destroy the book, end of issue. That’s about it for that story.

Issue #4 takes place in a parody of a sci-fi future. The virus comes from people downloading a video service to watch some soap opera sounding show. The most important thing that happens is that the person spreading this virus is an alternate Jocast and her bodyguard Arno Stark, Tony’s dad I think. Machine Man kills them both and we move on to the last issue. Oh boy, this issue. Issue #5 takes place on our Earth and begins with a nerd stereotype, named Wendell at a comic book store. He’s buying Marvel Zombies 5 and complains that Kirkman was better (he was.)

This is Van Lente's justification to kill some random guy: He doesn't like his book.

He leaves the store and goes home, where he has a package there for him. He opens it up and is blasted by the zombie virus. He slowly turns into a zombie, with only his parrot, Lockheed, who speaks in Yoda talk, around with him. He prepares to kill himself when he hears a scream that he assumes is someone in trouble. He prepares to go save them, dressed like a bunch of Marvel characters, when Machine Man and Howard bust in. Wendell has been struck by rigor mortis, but is still alive. They take the sample from him, and kill him saying “Die, nerd” as they do it. The issue ends with Machine Man opening up every plot hole in the Marvel Zombies series, and then just basically saying we should stop complaining and just enjoy the story.

This is just a terrible issue all around. They make this stereotype character, who even admits to being a stereotype, make you feel bad for him in his narration captions, and then just kill him. I guess he expects us to hate/laugh at him because he’s a nerd, but they make him sympathetic by wanting to help people, being selfless in wanting to stop the virus by killing himself, and even having enough control to let Lockheed go. And the part at the end about the plot holes is just childish, this is the most petty book I’ve ever read.

Plot: The plot is just nothing but an excuse to get these characters from one place to another. Any reasoning for this can be easily written out and ignored, which is just bad.

Characters: Howard and Machine are actually still funny and are the highlight of this. Jackie is a alright mother figure to the group, and I wish she could be in the mainstream world.

Action: There’s some action, but it doesn’t really matter. I don’t know how much I can say it’s bloody and gory.

Art: The reason I kind of skimmed over issue #4 was the horrible art. It’s scratchy and overly inked. Machine Man looks like Reagan for some reason. The issues are just average at best.

Ending: Horrible ending, needlessly cruel and childish.

Final Thoughts: I hate this book. The first couple issues are just boring and have nothing really special. That last one though, is just a travesty. You basically watch someone as they are about to die, and Van Lente just expects you to be laughing. I had high hopes because of Machine Man’s return, but his charm has worn off. Howard the Duck is just random, and is probably here just for another joke in the last issue. All of that said, this book is just one heaping pile of Rubbish.

Rating: Rubbish

Marvel Zombies 4

Forethought: I apologize if the amount of Marvel Zombies bothers you, it’s the only Marvel series I have for now.

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Later in he says he isn’t a monster and has a code of ethics to obey. Bad continuity or character development? You decide.

This one begins right where the excellent Marvel Zombies 3 left off, so it must be good right? Wait, Marvel Zombies 2 did the same and that was pretty bad… the series fluctuates in quality so much. Anyway, last time a zombie escaped from A.R.M.O.R headquarters and Morbius reformed the Midnight Sons to go find it.

Each issue begins with a video recording of each Midnight Son giving a video “will and testament.” First is Morbius, who delivers exposition, including that they’ve taken a vaccine, and they have oxidizing bacteria canister guns to kill the zombies. The Midnight Sons (Werewolf by Night, Jennifer Kale, Hellstorm, and Morbius) are all revealed in a battle on a cruise ship infested with zombie Men-Fish. We cut to the island nation of Taino, where Simon Garth, the Zombie, and the zombie Deadpool’s head are surfacing from the water. Simon (I’ll call him that for simplicity’s sake) takes Deadpool to the headquarters of Black Talon, a cocaine dealer and sorcerer. Black Talon then calls someone up to offer him the zombie virus, and the person reveals himself as The Hood.

The Midnight Sons blow up the cruise ship and teleport away. The Hood is shown to be working for Dormammu, Lord of the Dark Dimension, who is influencing him to buy the zombie virus. The Hood gathers his team called the Night Shift and attacks the Midnight Sons. The Midnight Sons beat Night Shift using teamwork, and zombies start to attack. Morbius shoots them with his bacteria gun, but the bacteria mutates, goes airborne and tears apart the Night Shift. Dormammu appears before Jennifer Kale and tries to offer her power. She refuses him and summons the Man-Thing to defend herself, but Dormammu is actually an astral projection. He leaves but offers his return, she just has to say his name.

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Yes, Man-Thing is awesome.

We see Simon and Deadpool in a small village near Black Talon’s plantation, where an infected rain starts to pour, tearing apart the citizens. The Midnight Sons, with their new partner, The Hood, defeat Black Talon and look into the rain. Three old Spider-Man villains, Ogre, Razor Wire, and Lightning Fist are there until the infected rain kills them. Their bodies all start to merge together and form a revenant with all their powers. He fights against Man-Thing and actually manages to kill him. Werewolf by Night walks in, now a zombie because of the vaccine, which is the final straw for Jennifer who yells for Dormammu 3 times, which would normally summon Beetlejuice, but instead brings Dormammu’s power into her body.

The Midnight Sons are now all fighting each other, with Hellstorm fighting Jennifer and the zombie Werewolf fighting Morbius. Using the power of friendship or something, Hellstorm exorcises Dormammu from Jennifer. Jennifer then creates pure moonlight to shine on Werewolf which actually transforms him into the Werewolf, (He was Jack Russel this whole time) who isn’t infected. Jennifer and Black Talon combine their powers to try and seal the zombie virus into a single host. Just then, the revenant busts in and attacks Werewolf. Man-Thing also appears again, alive because he comes from the primordial ooze. Morbius tells the revenant that no matter what, that they will never stop fighting and that this must fill him with fear, and as you should know “Whatsoever knows fear, BURNS AT THE TOUCH OF THE MAN-THING!” The zombie virus in placed into Simon and we end on Deadpool’s head floating away on a canoe.

Hmm, this was much better than I once thought it was, the opposite of Marvel Zombies 2, which I liked before I reread it.

Plot: The plot kind of wears itself out, but the video logs kind of remind you of what is the true point of this mission.

Characters: The Midnight Sons are all pretty cool individually, and their team dynamic works well. The villains are pretty weak, with about three different people being the main bad guy at some point.

Action: With a new cast of characters, the action feels fresh. Lots of magic is thrown around, but their’s some good hand to hand combat.

Art: The art is the same as Marvel Zombies 3, but even darker and scratchier.

Ending: This is the only one so far to not leave itself open for a sequel, and thank god for that. The zombie Deadpool is dealt with in the Deadpool books. Oh wait, scratch the first remark, Werewolf is infected and must be cured in Marvel Zombies 5.

Final Thoughts: This just happened to be the most forgettable of the series. Besides the B-Horror Movie cast of characters, not much stands out. Zombie Deadpool seems the most stand out part of the story, and if you like Deadpool you’ll probably get a laugh out of him. If you like these characters. a great amount of development is given to them. In the end, it’s not the best or worst and just stands in the middle ground, which for this series is quite a low ground.

Rating: Buy for a bargain

Marvel Zombies 3

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I wonder how he keeps that hidden

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.

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That couldn’t have sounded cool in his head

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.

Rating: Vintage

Marvel Zombies 2

And we’re back. The first month is over and we’re moving on from there. For these next two months, with Convergence going on, the DC reviews will be more frequent than the Marvel ones. For now, let’s continue the needlessly long saga of “Marvel Zombies.” Last time I forgot to mention the writers and artists, and this is a very important thing later, but I’ll fix this now. Our writer for the first two Marvel Zombies is Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and the artist is Sean Phillips (Hellblazer.)

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Space may be not free of zombies, but it’s at least free of Capitalism

We begin 40 years after the events of the first Marvel Zombies at the edge of the universe. We see the Marvel Zombies,not in their Galactus outfits for some reason, and they are joined by a couple of other zombies: Firelord, Gladiator, Phoenix, and Thanos. They talk about how there is no food left, which Thanos blames on Hulk, so Hulk kills him. The zombies decide to go back to Earth, and Spider-Man mentions that the hunger might be fading. We cut to Earth, where a little boy finds the head of Hawkeye. He takes Hawkeye back to New Wakanda, Black Panther’s new colony, and a scientist named Reynolds gives him a new body like the Wasp’s. Elsewhere, Malcolm Cortez, the son of Fabien Cortez who also fought to become leader of New Wakanda, is trying to rally up a revolt. We cut to the night, at Asteroid M, the space base, where Black Panther is sleeping. He is attacked by one of Cortez’s people, and the Wasp shows up and saves him.

The Wasp decides the only way to save Panther is to infect him as well. We see the Zombies flying through space, and Giant-Man gets angry because Spider-Man keeps saying “Are we there yet?” Spidey and Luke Cage discuss why Peter keeps making the jokes, and he tells him that it’s to hide what monsters they have become. Back on Asteroid M, Wasp and Panther have been locked by Forge, a close friend of Panther’s, until they get over the hunger. They are released, and Cortez tries to take advantage of the situation by parading around the zombie Panther to the colony. Nobody seems to be listening, so he looks up and notices that the Marvel Zombies have shown up. Giant Man tells the others his plan of turning the colony into a breeding camp, which caused Spidey to lose it and Luke Cage and him attack the other zombies. Reynolds puts up a force field, but leaves Bruce Banner and Gladiator on their side by accident.

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A little duct tape can put that back together

Gladiator rips Spider-Man almost in half, but is stopped by Forge, wearing Tony’s old Iron Man suit. Spidey and Luke shoot Gladiator in the head, killing him. The other zombies outside the force field fly off to the Baxter Building to use the old teleporter. Forge reveals that they took the teleporter a long time ago in case the zombies ever came back. When Peter mentions that they will come back to get it Reynolds reveals an ally to help them fight, Colonel America. He says that they found his brain and implanted it in the body of Panther’s dead son, T’Channa. Later, the zombies return and the heroes offer them a deal, that they leave in the teleporter, and don’t eat the rest of them.

They accept the deal and they shut the force field off. When it’s down, the obvious happens, and the heroes attack the zombies. As they are fighting, Bruce Banner wakes back up and attacks Reynolds, who is operating the force field. He pushes him into this giant, freaking red lever that looks out of place, which puts the force field down again. The other zombies rush in, but when Giant-Man goes to eat Panther’s wife, he realizes he isn’t hungry. He tries to discuss a truce, but Bruce becomes the Hulk again, and kills Phoenix, Hawkeye, Firelord, and Iron Man. He also eats Reynolds, which causes his hunger to fade and he becomes Banner again, so they kill him.

Three weeks later, a funeral is held for the dead, and Giant-Man talks to Wasp. They mention a meeting, and we see the heroes gathered around the teleporter. Giant-Man says that they fixed the teleporter and remarks how easy it was. Cortez then reveals that it was because he sabotaged it years ago, and that he fixed it now so he can get rid of the zombies. He also reveals that he killed T’Channa and planned to kill Panther. He teleports the zombies away and Forge rushes in. Cortez kills Forge and shouts that the Marvel Zombies are now someone else’s problem, ending it on another “The end?”

And with this over, the story of the original Marvel Zombies is over…or is it?!

Plot: The Marvel Zombies returning to Earth really doesn’t interest me. With the book starting off with the zombies having eaten the entire universe, not much could be done besides that, though.

Characters: Now this is the major misfire for this comic. They added 4 new characters to the cast, and did nothing with them. Thanos is killed quickly, Firelord can’t even talk with his removed jaw, and Phoenix barely talks. However, Hawkeye, Gladiator, and Colonel America are great additions.

Action: The action is weaker than in the last series. Most of it now is just energy blasts, which removes the character’s individuality.

Art: The art is basically the same as last time: Dark, heavily shaded, and appropriate for this setting.

Ending: Another “The end?” cliffhanger, makes this lose tons of points. The double cross from Cortez is predictable as well.

Final Thoughts: This thing really has no point unless you actually care what happens to an alternate universe full of zombies.(Hint: it won’t end well) I will give it credit for the continually funny dark comedy. Hawkeye and Colonel America are portrayed as insane and they just ham it up.Other than that, there’s not much here, and it doesn’t even tie in to the next book (it does lead to “Marvel Zombies: Return, but that’s for another day.) I can’t be too harsh on this because it is alright, but I recommend it to only big fans of the series.

Rating: Buy for a bargain

March Comic Ranking

March Comic Rankings:

We’ve made it past the first month, and with Convergence this month, Vintage Bullet will be more active. For now, let’s celebrate the best (and worst) of March 2015.

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#7- “Time Masters: Vanishing Point”

Rating: Borrow from a mate

Pros: Rip’s childhood, decent fights, Dan Jurgens’s art is always good, cool villains

Cons: Heavy expository dialogue, forced conflict between Booster and Hal, almost no plot.

#6- “Flashpoint”

Rating: Buy it at a bargain

Pros: Cool characters, decent art, amazing ending

Cons: Anticlimactic, weak fights, padding, tie-in heavy.

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#5- “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man,” Volume 1

Rating: Full Price

Pros: Good origin story, nice art, great fights, world building

Cons: Unfunny dialogue, not much new ground.

#4- “All-New Ghost Rider,” Volume 1

Rating: Full Price

Pros: Likable protagonist, amazing fights, interesting art style, great villain

Cons: Absurd amount of swearing, Robbie shaves his hair.

Special

#3- “Batman: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth”

Rating: Full Price

Pros: Interesting plot, Arkham’s origin is told, dark and heavy mood, layers of symbolism

Cons: Hard to read Joker’s words, art makes some parts confusing.

#2- “Marvel Zombies 1”

Rating: Vintage

Pros: Dark comedy, great alternate Earth story, bloody fights, escalates perfectly

Cons: Spawned some rubbish

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#1- “Booster Gold 52 Pick-Up”

Rating:Vintage

Pros: Great character development, fun to see the DC history, hilarious dialogue, strong supporting cast, smart action scenes

Cons: Characters look a little too similar

Thus brings the end of the first Comics Ranking. I had this sixth sense about this whole blog thing, and it’s kind of a funny story where this has gone. My original theory of everything was that reading this blog would make the reader feel like the captive, but in the end, we are all saved by big hero six. (Wow, I thought this forced thing would come out better. For real though, thanks for the 5 people that read this.)