Or – “How To Escape Certain Death With Style & Grace (And A Chainsaw Hand.)”

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The problem with prequels is as simple as it is obvious. As soon as this series began, we knew where it was going to end, with Palpantine taking over as Emperor. We knew that the plague would take over the entire world, we knew that no one would survive, so we needed a charismatic lead and a good story to carry it. Ash Williams fits the first bill, and his desperate travels through this Marvel Universe have ably (and entertainingly) provided the second. Now, with the end of the zombie apocalypse upon us, the most pertinent question is “How will Ash survive?” As with every M.Z. story, there are some possibly disturbing images after the tab, so continue at your own risk…

Previously on Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness: Ash Williams was dead. Again. At the proverbial pearly gates themselves, he’s distracted by a mysterious yellow-clad man, Zom1.jpgThe Sentry, and follows him back to corporeality. Crash-landing on Earth-2149, a variant of the Marvel Universe we know and love, Ash sees The Avengers become infected, and is nearly eaten before being saved by Spider-Man. Explaining to Spidey what he THINKS is happening, (another Necronomicon-induced plague of the Evil Dead) Ash panics him, sending Peter Parker home to his family. Sadly, Parker has been infected, and arrives home just in time for the hunger to overtake him, as it has so many of his comrades. Ash finds friendship in the form of this universe’s Dazzler, and watches as another Ash (this one native to this world) is eaten by Zombie Howard The Duck, a book I’d certainly buy. When Quicksilver is infected, the plague quickly goes international, and Ash and the ladies are forced to flee to the last bastion of the uninfected: Latveria. Ash’s impertinence angers the king of Latveria (Doctor Doom, for the uninitiated) and he’s thrown into the dungeon, only to find another prisoner, Amora The Enchantress, who ensnares his mind and makes him free her. As we kick off this issue, Enchantress is ready to eat his brains, when Dazzler takes the initiative, blinding her and breaking her spell of illusion…

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Ahh, crap, that’s bad. Luckily (for Alison, anyway) Doom arrives and blows both their heads off, destroying Amora and killing her before the infection can take hold. Doom is prepared to kill Ash as well, when The Scarlet Witch steps in… All out mystical combat is halted when one of Doom’s lieutenant’s arrives with bad news. Even though the superhuman assault had stopped, they’re back. Doom thought that they would clear the surrounding countryside first, and is told to his horror that the countryside is clear, as well as the surrounding countries, and most of the CONTINENTS. They’ve gathered, as if they know that there’s fresh meat inside…

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Doesn’t that grouping look somewhat familiar? Minus the previously dispatched Monica Rambeau and Storm, anyway… Storm’s whereabouts are quickly ascertained, as Nightcrawler teleports in with her, the Beast, and Wonder Man, ready to kill and eat Doom and anyone else they can find, “especially those Latverian refugees you’ve got stashed away,” mocks the Beast. Doom is thunderstruck, never even considering that the zombies were this organized, much less as capable as they seem, but just because Beast is dead doesn’t mean he’s still not brilliant.

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Tactically sound thinking, actually… The sight of his oldest enemy will effectively keep Doom out of sorts, unable to take the initiative… though it’s not like even HE’D be powerful enough to take out the army arrayed against them. The only person with the power to help at this point is The Scarlet Witch, whose hex powers might allow them to do… SOMETHING. Ash Williams realizes this, and quickly whispers his plan to Wanda, preparing to make a break for it…

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That is probably the most horrifying image that they’ve yet shown on panel, and I’m a bit stunned that they got away with it. Maybe it’s just that she caused the House of M, but that fate seems a bit harsh for one of Marvel’s oldest characters… In either case, while Doom takes a pounding from the X-Men and Reed, Ash uses the carnage to get back to the library, taking the time to ditch the Doom armor as he goes. Kicking in the door, he grabs his old nemesis, the Necronomicon, and confronts the sentient book. “You and me, ‘Nomicon. We gotta talk.”

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At Ash’s command, the Necronomicon raises a SECOND army of the dead, a Deadite Legion, and aims them at the Marvel Zombies. Hundreds, thousands of deceased humans (most of them partially eaten) swarms over the remaining Marvel Zombies, fighting tooth and nail in the hopes of holding back the tide of oncoming superhumans. But the advantage of sheer numbers is limited against the powers of the former champions of this planet.

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Doom has managed to triumph over his attackers, and takes the remaining humans to his dimensional transporter. The Necronomicon, once again driven by self-preservation, directs Ash straight to it, but he arrives too late for the not-so-good Doctor. Bitten, infected, but still Doom, he is managing by sheer force of will not to kill and eat the humans. Seeing Ash, he almost eats him, but realizes that Ash was the one who engineered the diversion he needed to save his innocent subjects, and offers Ash a way out…

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The Necronomicon is correct, as the zombies (led by The Hulk and The Thing) quickly batter in the door, and Ash leaps into the portal… AFTER throwing the Necronomicon aside and leaving it to it’s fate. When the creatures arrive, Doom destroys the portal, keeping them from following… “You’re too late, Grimm, you misbegotten monstrosity,” says Doom to his old foe. The Thing replies “Mebbe [they have gotten away.]But that don’t mean I can’t still give ya a clobberin’!” As The Thing beats Doom to death, Wolverine picks up the Necronomicon, and it tells him (stupidly) that it was responsible for the zombie plague, and tells Wolverine that “if you have designs on eating me, I believe you will find my pages to be most unpalatable…”

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HA! I think that may be the line of month, right there. “Zombie Hulk need LOTS of toilet paper.” That’s just awful, in the most entertaining way ever. As for Ash, he finds that he is able to check out a world before exiting the portal, rejecting several realities before finding one that stinks… but it’s a familiar kind of stink, one he’s grown up with. The stink of New York City.

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As he turns, he once again sees New York in ruins, and he recognizes the the culprits once again… He turns to escape, but the portal ‘poits’ away, as Wolverine sniffs the air, finding a familiar scent. “Good news, fellas…” Spider-Man interrupts him, saying “No DUH, Werewolverine… You think you’re the only one here with heightened senses?”

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Marvel Werewolves! AAAHHHH! Okay, it’s a cute bit, but if THESE monsters get their own series, I think I’m out… There’s only so many variations on the same theme that I can take, after all, and even I have my limits. But it’s an amusing ending, anyway, and sets up whatever Dynamite chooses to do with Ash Williams next, without undermining what the original Marvel Zombies series established. We know what happens next with Earth-2149 (and if you don’t know, I believe that another printing of the story is in the works, with extra-creepy Mary Jane cover) and it’s not any prettier than the events here…

Overall, this is an interesting and engaging series, with a hefty dose of the dreaded “fun” that seems to doom comics these days. The dry sense of humor that one would expect from Ash is there in writer John Layman’s scripts, and artist Fabiano Neves gets an assist from Sean Phillips (artist of the original Marvel Zombies) and Fernando Blanco (artist of the Army of Darkness series) but even with multiple artists, we don’t have any style clashes. It’s nice to see Doctor Doom’s principled side again, even if his end was pretty ugly, and the twist ending was a laugh-out-loud moment. It’s a 4 out of 5 star effort from all involved and a fitting send-off to an enjoyable (if somewhat dark) series.

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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.

35 Comments

  1. Okay, thats it. The Marvel Zombie series has to end with that last shot. Anymore and its just beating the zombie horse.

  2. I do believe that this is not the “Marvel Zombie” earth but another earth maybe ? because doesn’t the sentry bring the virus the first time the Marvel Zombies showed up in ultimates ?

  3. Matthew Peterson on

    I wouldn’t say Doom is beaten to DEATH – a Zombie Doom does appear in the original series.

    Since Zombies are, by definition, dead, I’d say I’m still right. :)

    I do believe that this is not the “Marvel Zombie” earth but another earth maybe ? because doesn’t the sentry bring the virus the first time the Marvel Zombies showed up in ultimates ?

    There was never an explanation of what happened in Ultimates, but according to Marvel, this IS the same Earth, and this story (and the Dead Days one-shot) are the explanation of how that world got the way it was in the original book…

  4. That’s a fitting ending to the series. Ash always manages to escape only to find himself in even more danger.

  5. Did the Zombies first appear in “The Ultimates” or the “Ultimate Fantastic Four”? Now, you guys have me confused!

    This was still a great series and I would love to see Ash interact with the Marvel U again in the future. It was a lot of fun, good art and it’s better if you read Ash’s lines using Bruce Campbell’s voice in yer head!

  6. Matthew Peterson on

    Did the Zombies first appear in “The Ultimates” or the “Ultimate Fantastic Four”? Now, you guys have me confused!

    It was in Ultimate Fantastic Four… I misspoke myself, if you can do that while typing.

  7. Ultimate Fantastic Four, because every Marvel Universe needs a multi-verse exploring team to screw with continuity.

  8. Speaking of Continuity, this whole Mini is a bit continuity-lacking. At the end of the Last AoD series, Ash walks into the white light…and into a street full of Marvel Zombies; yet at the beginning of MZ vs AoD he claims to have been in Heaven with the Sentry. Then he lands in Werewolf-verse here, and yet he’s back in his own Universe at the beginning of AoD: From the Ashes. What gives?

  9. I see a Marvel Zombies and Marvel WereWolves crossover in the near future
    hhmm I just thought of somthing Marvel Zombies:Civil War…a guy can dream

  10. I am a little shocked that Ash just left Scarlet Witch behind to be eaten and zombified. I realize the end was nigh, but he should have blown her and the Punisher away or something, with a smart-@ss comment, to boot!
    Also, why Punisher? He’s not even a superpowered being, u mean to tell me when he got attacked earlier in the series by a bunch of Zombies, all they did was take a few chomps and eat his hand?

    As far as continuity goes, it has been a mess, but I don’t believe there are any MAJOR gaffe’s in the series, just a hero out of place or zombied up too early.

  11. Far as I know, the Virus only takes on those people who are in some way above ‘normal’ people, powered or no. This is why individuals such as the Punisher bceome Zombies, while those like Mary Jane or Aunt May are devoured.

    Oh, and…Marvel Zombies and Marvel WereWolves crossover? VERY unlikely. Not only has the Zombies cow been milked dry by this point, but there is no way of fititng those Werewolves into MZ continuity, as this along with the original series and the UFF run has described it all. The only way the Werewolves could get at the Zombies would be to get at the Zombie Galacti – and get blown away in seconds, as it appears that the ‘wolves haven’t got his powers.

  12. NAh this can’t be the end of Ash because…he’s Ash!
    and It is possible the new Marvel Zombies (by new I meen their new Galactic powers) can have a crossover with the were wolves … I meen think about it I meen the new Black Panther went to the Zombieverse why can’t the zombies go to the uh…Werewolfverse? especially with the Galactic Powers???I don’t know maybe someone can explaine why that would’nt work

  13. Look at the difference in art quality in the pictures on this site, why do they need seperate artists for one issue? That was the most annoying part of this series to me.

  14. simple that is the Art from Army of Darkness well it is most of the time they do seem to change apperences evry now and then…I guess their going back to AOD

  15. I say it would be awsome to see a Werewolf Marvel Universe. I mean, whats better than being a werewolf? A SUPER POWERED werewolf!!

  16. I think werewolf Marvel should be fun…they should be deadlier n I wanna know how Ash escape from them. OH, n I wonder wat will happen if werewolf n zombie intersect 1 another’s universe.

  17. Probably they should end at werewolf marvel…if they continue with marvel vampires, marvel frankinstien…etc, it’s gonna be really predictable for de following series…unless they r able to continue with Marvel Zombie of how they r able to find a cure to de virus n probably they were able to use de neocronomicon to resurrect de rest of de marvel heroes, but de problem is Hulk as used de pages for his own biz or watsoever n de heroes have to put back de missing pages in de book to save de rest…but there’s a time frame to do so otherwise de dead heroes wont be able to revive. Wat do u guys think???

  18. Possible solutions to how the MW’s could meet the MZ’s.

    1) Marvel Zombie Access teleports the latter to the world of the former. For those of you not old enough to remember? Access is the inhabitant of Marvel Earth-616, with the power to bring the superheroes of his universe to the DC Universe, and vice-versa. But, to keep the MZ’s from invading a parallel-DCU, Boston “Deadman” Brand takes possession of MZ Access and diverts the zombies to MW-Earth.

    2) In a classic Marvel “What If…?” story, the Elder God Set was victorious and spawned seven serpentine sons through various superhuman mothers (She-Hulk, Scarlet Witch, and Invisible Woman among them). And, after ravaging the world of their unholy birth, they went dimension-hopping. So, what if one of those Seven Sons visited MZ-Earth, while another visited MW-Earth? The inhabitants of both worlds would probably have to team up to save both their worlds! A la the JLA/JSA Crises of the DC Silver Age.

  19. Oh! And, before anyone states that Deadman can only control the living? He might get a power boost from the Spectre and a certain Ring of Life.

  20. If neither of those options floats your boat, how about this? The Man-Beast steals a Pym-particle beam from Dr. Nemesis, and uses it on the Red Ghost’s Super-apes. Telepathically controlling them in yet another bid at world domination…that finally succeeds!

    Enter the Marvel Zombies, looking for the human refugees teleported off Earth-2149 by Dr. Doom.

  21. Dateline: September 2008. I just saw Issue # 1 of MARVEL APES. And, I was less-than-impressed. Anybody else going to boycott the rest of the four-issue mini-series?

  22. Update for those might not have it heard it, yet. There’s going to be a MARVEL ZOMBIES 3! In which, the MZ’s find there way to Earth-616 via the Man-Thing’s Nexus of Realities.

  23. Dear Joe: you partially got your wish. There are vampires in the Marvel Ape-verse! And, they plan to invade Earth-616!!

    Marvel Zombies vs. Vamprimates? With the Skrulls caught in the middle? YES!!! I can’t wait for the first issue.

    • I don’t believe this. They actually did it; a Marvel Apes/Zombies crossover! It was a giant one-issue wonder called “Evil Evolution,” and it involves a lot of chronospatial ret-conning by the simian Reed Richards. Or, more accurately, one of his devices.

      Get it while back-issues last!!

  24. Dateline: April, 2009. I was wrong, folks. MARVEL APES just came out with a sequel…starring THE AMAZING SPIDER-MONKEY! And, this time, Earth-Ape has two threats to contend with: the Red Ghost from mainstream Marvel Earth…and the Marvel Zombies!!

  25. If they did a marvel werewolves I wonder what they would do to the already werewolf hero. Werewolf by night

  26. I imagine he might be used by the Man-Beast to telepathically control all the other werewolves of Marvel Earth-7085. The same way Dredmund Druid used WBN’s blood to lycanthropically transform the people of Starkesboro, Massachusetts, waaaaaaaaaay back in CAPTAIN AMERICA (TOS).

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