Or – “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, But They Apparently Do Wear Spandex…”


There’s an image that takes on a whole new context Post-CW, doesn’t it? But this ain’t our dear Captain America, fellers an’ gals, this is the Earth-2149 version, one Colonel America, and he’s a whole different breed o’ cat. Our Captain America aims to keep innocents safe & unharmed; Colonel America just wants to make sure they’re tender & juicy. It’s a subtle difference, but I think you’ll agree it’s a meaningful one. Major Spoilers Head Ninja Stephen categorized this as a “Good, but fast read…” As the Ebert to his Siskel, I’ll now weigh in with my opinion, but here’s your Parental Advisory: it ain’t for the squeamish.

Yes, that was a fat joke. Good eye, there. It just occurred to me that I’m doing this on Friday the 13th, which seems appropriate given that most of our cast zom1.jpgshould be dead many times over, but keeps lurching back onto their feet to kill campers who dare to have sex to feed their insatiable hunger. Last time around, Ashley J. Williams, S-Mart’s Employee of the Month for April 1999, found himself thrust into some sort of pseudo-afterlife, where his arrival at the Pearly Gates was interrupted by the arrival of someone bearing a resemblance to The Sentry, by which I mean he resembled Superman as seen by Quincy Magoo. Ash is drawn along with Bargain Bin Knockoff Superman Sentry as he returns to his native reality, a close parallel to our own Marvel Universe. Upon arrival, he finds that the planet is overrun with what he thinks are Deadites (they aren’t), that the place is infested with superheroes, and that combining the two makes for a cosmic-powered version of a locust swarm. Mistaken for a nut by The Avengers, he is carried away by Spider-Man, who is later himself bitten by zombie Colonel America. Ash falls to his inevitable doom, landing at the feet of the hungry undead Avengers. Luckily for him, Spider-Man is still on the job… sort of.


It’s a Mexican standoff, and Hawkeye is the chalupa with extra Guacamole. I may be confusing a Mexican Standoff with a Mexican Platter as Tacos El Sol, but nary a difference! The end result is the same… that is to say, there’s pretty much no effect on the Avengers, aside from a warning not to bite him. “We taste terrible,” remarks The Black (from rigor mortis) Widow. “Believe me, she knows what she’s talking about,” mutters the late Ms. Marvel, with as irritated a look as her rotting facial muscles can muster. Spidey pulls up his mask, bares his teeth and snarls “He’s mine!” A brief argument over who gets to eat Ash ensues, and Colonel America finally snaps “You want to dine on Jackass Tartare and not share, be our guest. Bon appetit!” Spidey swings off with his dinner, as the other heroes go foraging again. They hit a rooftop, and Spider-Man asks “Where were we?” referring to the previous conversation regarding how to kill a Deadite. Ash, only slightly dumber than he looks, cracks him one in the jaw to try and spoil his supper of ‘Braised Ash Bearnaise in a white wine sauce with a fried egg on top and Spam.’ Peter shows his not-at-all-dead face, but it’s still not a healthy one. The fact that Ash’s punch dislocated his jaw is an indicator that Spidey’s body is working triple time to try and kill the infection…


Kinda easily grossed out for a seasoned zombie fighter, isn’t he? And why would Spider-Man’s recuperative powers be MORE likely to fight this infection than the Colonel’s presumably-Super-Soldier-Serum infused blood, or even more strangely, Wolverine’s super healing factor? Spidey only thinks to ask the FIRST question, calling Williams out on his weak tummy, pointing out how much worse the view of the street is, as they watch innocents getting slaughtered (including a priceless shot of Black Widow and a french poodle that was so hilariously gross I just couldn’t bring myself to add it here…) The dog’s elderly female owner makes him think of Aunt May, and he suddenly realizes that his family is home alone amidst all this… Peter takes off, and a horrible feeling settles in the guts of both myself and Ash, for different reasons. I know what’s going to happen at Chez Parker, but Ash doesn’t know what’s going to happen to anyone, or how to get the Necronomicon he thinks he needs to stop this “Deadite” problem in it’s tracks. This, not surprisingly, makes him angry. “Hey, get back here, ya lily-livered spider-sac of crap! What happened to helping me find the Necronomicon? What happened to ‘no more innocents die on my watch?’ ” At this moment, the silent figure watching the whole drama steps forward, with a gravelly proclamation. “This is New York City…”


Aaaaand things, astonishingly, just got worse. “Like the chainsaw…” Heh. Frank walks away down the stairs, and Ash follows, after Punisher says he’s “workin’ on” saving the world. This tall building did look a bit familiar to Frank Miller fans, didn’t it? It’s the headquarters of the Kingpin, who has called in his remaining lieutenants (including fifty-four-time loser Hammerhead) to assess the situation. Fisk, ever the manipulator, seems to be taking this invasion, if not in stride, at least with his composure mostly intact. He’s realized what nobody else seems to, that everything has changed. Maybe he’s a Romero fan? In any case, he’s even willing to work with his old adversary in this New World Order (But where’s Kevin Nash?) “We’re on the same team now,” says the Kingpin. “Us vs. them. Human vs. Zombie.” This tack might have worked on a lesser man (or a wiser one), but Frank replies in true Mack Bolan fashion, “As far as I’m concerned, you were NEVER human…”


…and opens fire, killing everyone in the room but himself and Ash. It’s hard to believe he’s that focused, especially given the nature of the violence a couple hundred floors down, but this is Frank Castle, after all. He has tunnel vision that your average mole would kill for. And it’s interesting to see the comparison here, with the Master of The Boomstick a little appalled at The World’s Youngest Vietnam Vet’s carnage. Sure, Ash has killed (“We just cut up our girlfriend with a chainsaw. Does that sound ‘fine’?”) but this is over the top, even for him. Things aren’t getting any better in the streets, as the plague spreads, and two of the most entertaining sight gags ever fight for space on the same page.


Makes you feel bad for poor Fred Dukes, doesn’t it? And the zombie Runaways eating Old Lace is both funny, gross, and touching, in a very weird way. Ash recognizes Thunderball (whom he remembers from last issue) being menaced by a group of undead villains, including his Wrecking Crew pals, and watches as T-Ball is overwhelmed. Ever adept at missing the point, The Punisher wades in, guns blazing. He is nonplussed to see everyone he shoots get back up and advance again, and is quickly overrun, and probably eaten, though we don’t see a body. (Remember friends: No body, no death.) Ash takes off, opining that this whole world was probably nuts long before the “Deadites,” and vows to go it alone. “Ash Williams works best with Ash Williams. Last thing I need is some deadweight wannabee hero dragging me down.” His mind is suddenly changed, as he sees a hero about to be eaten by another in an alleyway, and his head swings around like it’s on ball bearings. “Gimme some sugar,” rumbles an undead Winter Soldier to his victim, only to be answered by a cocking shotgun. “That’s MY line,” replies Ash, and blows him to smithereens. Looks like poor Bucky still can’t quite get the hang of the whole “being alive” thing. But what hero would change Ash’s mind about having someone around? What could have prompted the ultimate individualist to stop and help his fellow man? Wouldja believe ‘skin-tight silver lamé’?


Dazzler may be distraught, but she’s at least quick on her feet (and quick to point out to Ash that her head is a good ten inches higher), so that when he mentions ‘dark magicks’ and ‘mystic tomes,’ she puts two and two together, and leads him the right way. Though the streets are overrun, they’re in the right area (again with the ‘right place, right time’), the East Village, a few blocks from what Dazzler impressively calls “Sorceror Supreme Stephen Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum!” (“What’s that, some kind of superhero tongue-twister?” asks Ash. Heh.) Dazzler starts to explain, but doesn’t notice a pair of blood-covered hands grabbing Ash, and dragging him away. She only notices something amiss when she hears the huge “CRONCH!!!”


Howard the Zombie Duck replaces “Baby Modok” as the single most awesome thing I’ve seen in comics in the year 2007, and that is no mean feat. (And I just realized, there’s something funny about this panel, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…) But this also means that our hero is DEAD, brains eaten by a malicious mallard, and no chance of saving the day remains? CAN THE EARTH SURVIVE???

Of course not. We KNOW how this one goes, it’s the journey that makes all the difference. Stephen’s preview gives a few clues as to ways around even this seemingly inescapable cliffhanger, but it’s important to note that Ash is WRONG, and there’s no telling whether what would banish a Deadite would come anywhere near any of the M.Z.’s. Once again, the writing is well-done and funny, and it’s easy to ‘hear’ Bruce Campbell voicing Ash’s lines (especially the tirade against Spider-Man on the rooftop), and the plot careens from one key Marvel Universe bit to another with enough cameos along the way to fill your metaphorical basket with hidden Easter Eggs. The art is very good, managing to give us the Spidey, Avengers, et al, that we know, while also making Ash look like Ash. The moments with Blob, with Dazzler, and most of all, with Howard, show a great affection for the Marvel Universe and even it’s goofiest and most ridiculous denizens (though why the West Coast Runaways, and Cleveland’s finest duck were in New York is unclear, I forgive them as both appearances were entertaining.) There’s some glorious gross-out moments, and the book generally makes me forget it’s origins as a quickie limited series to cash in on the pop-culture zombie resurgence. It’s a four-star effort all around, and I’m working overtime trying to figure out how Ash will get out of THIS predicament… and that is the mark of a successful cliffhanger.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. April 13, 2007 at 1:53 pm — Reply

    I like how many little references there are in this series.

    ‘No-one wants to See HAWKEYE DEAD, do they?’

    Cap talks in french while saluting, pointing to the A on his head;

    Bucky comes back for about ten secnds before being shot down;

    Ash is saved by Spidey, but taken movie-wise, he doesn’t deserve it; Campbell has defeated and humiliated Spidey in both movies so far…

    The list goes on.

    Kudos to you for doing hte review, my man…and…’tastes like chicken’…ooh dear dear…


  2. April 13, 2007 at 2:18 pm — Reply

    I didn’t even catch the whole ‘speaking French’ bit. That’s funny… The Hawkeye line is among the top five bits of business in the whole issue, right after Howard, The Blob, Ms Marvel’s angry line, and Punisher’s new status as ‘brunch.’

  3. April 13, 2007 at 3:51 pm — Reply

    1) Oooh…I am soin love with Alison. Wows…

    2) Maybe Spidey’s body is better at fighting infection because it’s a paralell universe where powers are at different levels. But, he wasn’t that strong…according to previews of ‘MZ: Dead Days’, it took him the time to get home before he was in his full Zombie-state and ready to get MJ…

  4. dude
    April 14, 2007 at 9:54 am — Reply

    Yep, that was the ash from this universe that got eaten by “The Duck” not our 1 handed hero.

    For those of you who’ve read this issue, we haven’t seen the last of the Punisher… Mark my words!

  5. April 14, 2007 at 2:24 pm — Reply

    Wait….someone on another board says Ash was grabbed by hands with five fingers. So, it’s in fact just a case of Daz turning at the wrong moment.

    So…who got Ash?

    And, two issues in…when are the Marvel Zombies gonna battle the Army of Darkness?

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