It’s always a good start to a day at work when I walk in and the new arrivals shelf is filled with graphic novels for me to process. Especially when those new graphic novels are installments in some of my all-time favorite series, including Marvel Zombies 2, Hellboy vol. 8: Darkness Calls, and B.P.R.D. vol. 8: Killing Ground, as well as Jessica Abel’s Life Sucks, which I’ve been eagerly waiting to read.
Marvel Zombies 2. From page one, this book had big decaying foot-filled shoes to fill. The first series was brilliant — combining horror, in-jokes to the Marvel universe, and one of the most absurdly conceived plot lines in Marvel’s history. It was one of those stories that someone [probably a fanboy, either a Marvel one or a zombie one, but most likely a Marvel and zombie fanboy] could think of on their own, but never would have dreamed of seeing actually happen. Lucky for us, The Walking Dead author, and heir to Romero’s genius, Robert Kirkman, made it a reality. And, in an even more cool turn of events, it’s actually part of Marvel continuity, existing in one of the other dimensions Reed Richards was able to contact [see Ultimate Fantastic Four vol 5: Crossover and vol. 6: Frightful]. Following the first book came Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness, which was far heavier on the humor aspect, which is what you would expect when Ash and the Necronomicon are involved. After that was the collection Dead Days, which featured the stories from Ultimate Fantastic Four, Kirkman’s Dead Days one-shot prequel, and a Black Panther zombies-related story. Now, I do not read individual issues of anything for three main reasons: 1) money, 2) I’m going to be purchasing the collection at the library anyway, and 3) I feel that graphic novel collections, and thus librarians as a major purchaser of such collections, are single-handedly saving much of comic-dom. So, I’ve been anxiously awaiting a collection of the continuation of the heroes-turned-Power Cosmic-wielding super-undead.
After stealing the Power Cosmic from Galactus and the Silver Surfer in the first series, the zombies, including Wolverine, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Man, the Hulk and Giant-Man began an intergalactic smorgasbord and have now gorged their way through the entire universe. Woe is them, for the super-zombies are without any food. So, they head back to the beginning — their Earth [and I will use the Earth numbers from the Marvel multiverse, as gleaned from Wikipedia, so in this case, Earth 2149] — where Richard’s dimension traveling device waits to bring them to untapped dimensions of flesh. Meanwhile, back on Earth 2149, the remnants of humanity, lead by an elderly Black Panther are eking out a meager existence. What results is a different experience than the first series. There is a political struggle among the survivors, questioning of existence and meaning by some of the zombies, some human/zombie pathos, a brief stab at romance, and quite a bit of dialog. It is not the freshly audacious and bizarre zombie rampage that was the first series, and as such I did not enjoy it as thoroughly as the first series.
However, Marvel Zombies 2’s twist on the crossover event Civil War [an event I actually really liked by the way, although retconning Spider-Man in Brand New Day is dumb way to get rid of all the cool/horrible stuff that happened to him during and as a result of it–I mean, honestly, it would have been fine for Aunt May to die] is excellent as zombies choose sides and duke it out with weapons, teeth, claws, and Power Cosmic blasts. The cover of the collection, from Marvel Zombies 2 #1, is by Arthur Suydam, of course, and a play on the cover of the Michael Turner variant cover for Marvel Civil War #1. So, while I did not find it as much sheer fun as the first, Marvel Zombies 2 does not fail to satisfy the hunger for the delicious taste of super-heroic flesh.
NEWS FLASH! Marvel Zombies 3 is on its way! Kirkman isn’t at the helm, but Fred Van Lente is, and the premise should satiate voracious readers as the super-zombies land on the Earth of normal Marvel continuity, Earth 616!
Next time, faithful readers: Hellboy vol. 8: Darkness Calls, B.P.R.D. vol. 8: Killing Ground, and Jessica Abel’s Life Sucks. And coming up…More zombies! More vampires! More music, books, and more more!