Marvel Zombies: Required Halloween Reading


Happy Halloween everyone! If you are here, you a comic book fan, and if you are like me, you have often been let down by the way Marvel has incorporated the spookiest of all holidays into their work. Even the inclusion of traditional Halloween characters into the mainstream continuity have been disappointing. They once had Dracula beat the Silver Surfer for crying out loud.

However, back in 2005 Marvel teamed with Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead to create one of the most interesting, and spook-tacular story arcs we’ve ever seen. Yes, I am talking about the Marvel Zombies series.

Before we dive into this, let me explain. This isn’t a breakdown of the series. Why? For one, I want you to find your way to your favorite comic book store, or your favorite Marvel Ultimate app and find these books. This will contain limited spoilers. Second, this series, including crossovers and prequels is HUGE! We are talking dozens of issues over nearly two dozen different series.

Nevertheless, the Marvel Zombies story is one I highly recommend. A quick synopsis of the story goes a bit like this. The story itself begins on Earth-2149, in an alternate universe. It’s important to keep in mind that Marvel has fully embraced the notion of multiverses, and this plays heavily into this story arc.

The virus arrives on this earth via an unknown superhero (you discover who it is later). Once on this earth, he quickly infects the Avengers, and from there things escalate quickly. You basically have groups of heroes that are infected, looking to devour more and more humans and heroes. On the other side you have those splinter groups of uninfected working to either cure the virus or escape from it to another reality.

Perhaps the best angle to this story is that those heroes infected have their intelligence intact, which makes them infinitely more formidable than the rambling, brainless zombies we have all seen prior. Alliances are formed among the survivors and there are some real twists that you could not see coming.

Oh, and did I mention that as an added bonus to the Halloween goodness is that Ash Williams of the Evil Dead figures prominently in the story? That’s right, when it comes to an army of the dead trying to destroy the world, there’s no one better equipped to be a part of it than Ash.

Ash comes to this reality to stop the outbreak because he believes that it was caused by the ancient book of the dead, The Necronomicon. I won’t give anything away, but this creates an entire story arc throughout the series that you need to read to fully appreciate.

If you want to check out this series, rather than dig into all of it at once, here is what I would recommend.

Read Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness first. This serves as a nice prequel to the main continuity, and introduces Ash and his backstory quite well. Then you can move into Marvel Zombies proper. Once you have finished the first series, then go back and read Marvel Zombies: Dead Days. This is a one-shot issue that fills in a lot of the blanks from the first series. However, don’t read it first, because it does spoils some of the arc.

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At this point, jump to Ultimate Fantastic Four #21-23, and the story arc Crossover. This ties the Ultimate Universe and the Marvel Zombies Universe together fantastically. If this hasn’t filled your holiday with brain-eating goodness, you have multiple series that followed, and even a one-shot Halloween special.

Marvel has even decided to tie the 2015 Secret Wars series with the Marvel Zombies universe, so once you have had the opportunity to enjoy the original story, their return will make much more sense. It doesn’t matter who your favorite character or team is, you will find something very satisfying about this series.

So who is ready for some superhero zombie goodness? If you can’t appreciate the notion of a zombie version of Galactus and Howard the Duck, then you just cannot love Halloween. The art and storytelling in these series is second-to-none, and once you get past the idea that this isn’t part of the mainstream Marvel continuity, you can just sit back and enjoy the crazy ride.