Title: Marvel Zombies
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Sean Phillips
Release Date: August 9, 2006
I’ve wanted to read Marvel Zombies for as long as I’ve been interested in comic books. It was one of the first hardcover volumes that caught my interest, but it was so thin compared to others I was seeing, especially for the price it was going for, that I always passed on it. Finally, over a decade later, I found this on the shelves of my local library and decided to give it a shot.
And, boy, the wait wasn’t worth it.
Marvel Zombies takes place in an alternate universe from the main series that these characters are normally found, and a disease has come down from the skies, infecting almost all of the world’s population. Now zombies, the heroes we know and love have only one thing on their minds: food. With most of the population gone, food is becoming more and more scarce, leaving them hungry and violent.
The main problem with this short, five-issue run is the writing, which is a surprise since this is a Robert Kirkman outing. It’s incredible shallow, and lacks an engaging plot to push the story forward. The zombified heroes are looking for food, and that’s as deep as it gets. Sure, there is an urgency from the characters to find this food, but I never really cared about a single one of them, or if they actually found anyone to eat. The run doesn’t feel slow, just unimportant and blasé. I also wish this collection contained the origin stories from Ultimate Fantastic Four so I had a better understanding of how this began. We pick up in what feels like the middle/end of the story, and that likely effected how I felt about it.
The art by Sean Phillips is good, but nothing more. It tells the story fine, but is a far cry from some of the excellent art I have come to expect from one of the big two comics publishers. There is no panel or page I would be excited show someone from this story, which is a real shame given the premise and potential of this run.
There are a couple sequels to this because of how well this run sold. To be fair, this originally released during the height of the zombie craze in pop culture during the mid-2000s, so I’m not surprised it sold well. I did borrow Marvel Zombies 2, and Dead Days, from the library along with this one, but I have no desire to continue this story, so those will remain unread as I see it now.
Marvel Zombies isn’t terrible by any stretch. Given its premise, though, I expected to have a lot more fun with this run. It feels pointless, which is a surprise given the talent behind the project. If you have been holding off reading this run, I would suggest aiming your efforts elsewhere as this just isn’t worth the time.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.