Marvel Zombies Return
|Marvel Zombies Return|
Cover of the 1st issue
|Publication date||September 2009|
|No. of issues||5|
|Main character(s)||Zombie versions of Marvel Comics characters|
Fred Van Lente|
Marvel Zombies Return is a weekly series of five one-shot comic books. Editor Bill Rosemann described how the concept came about:
A couple months ago a few of us in the office were talking about Marvel Zombies and about where we could take the story next. Our head of Sales David Gabriel brought up the fact that we hadn’t seen the most famous zombies – such as Spider-Man and Wolverine – since the end of Marvel Zombies 2. That led me to a conversation with fright master Fred Van Lente, who quickly dreamed up the creepy question of: Just where did those flesh-eaters disappear to after they were teleported into oblivion.
Unlike the other series, the series consists of a number of one-shots and linked by two bookend issues written by Fred Van Lente. As Van Lente was committed to other writing assignments, Marvel invited three authors who have written books on zombies to contribute the other issues: David Wellington (Monster Island), Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero and Zombie CSU) and Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).
The issues are:
- Marvel Zombies Return: Spider-Man by writer Fred Van Lente and artist Nick Dragotta
- Marvel Zombies Return: Iron Man by writer David Wellington and artist Andrea Mutti
- Marvel Zombies Return: Wolverine by writer Jonathan Maberry and artist Jason Shawn Alexander
- Marvel Zombies Return: Hulk by writer Seth Grahame-Smith and artist Richard Elson
- Marvel Zombies Return: Avengers by writer Fred Van Lente and artist Wellington Alves
Following Marvel Zombies 2, Earth-2149's surviving mutant and metahuman zombies (Spider-Man, Wolverine, Giant-Man, Wasp, and Luke Cage), and also Black Panther have been transported to an alternate universe.
The first issue written by Van Lente revolves around the attempts of Zombie Spider-Man to cure himself of his condition when he lands on an Earth similar to his own, later designated "Earth-Z". This arrival results in the zombification of Kraven The Hunter, Mysterio, Electro, The Vulture, and Doctor Octopus, but spared the Sandman and the brutal death of his counterpart of this Earth. The issue also advances the overarching storyline by having Zombie Giant-Man attack and eat an Alternative Uatu the Watcher.
The second issue follows Earth Z's Tony Stark, who passes on the Iron Man armor to Rhodes when zombie Giant Man arrives in search of Inhuman technology in Stark's possession. Issue three follows Earth 2149's Zombie Wolverine in Japan, while Zombie Spider-Man tries to develop a cure from Earth Z's uninfected Wolverine. Issue four follows Earth Z's Hulk who returns to the blue area of the moon only to be infected by the zombified Inhumans, then going on to infect Earth-Z's Sentry in turn. Issue five ties these threads together, resolving the fates of all of the original Marvel Zombies, which the answer happens to be death at the hands of the now nanite-infused Sandman. At the end, Earth Z's Watcher shunts the last Earth-Z Marvel Zombie, the Sentry, back through time and dimensions to its arrival on Earth 2149 (the original Marvel Zombies universe). In doing so, it closes a time loop, which keeps the virus contained on Earths 2149 and Z, both of which it has devastated, since (according to the Watcher himself) no one has the ability to destroy it outright.
Given the number of "Marvel Zombie" sequels since then, however, that conclusion would seem to be one of Uatu's few misjudgments. There is also the fact that the original mini-series had two contradictory explanations as to how the Zombie Sentry first arrived on Earth-2149. Falling through an interdimensional portal, from the "Pearly Gates," alongside Ash Williams; and materializing aboard the Asteroid M of Earth-2149's Magneto (who subsequently--and misguidedly--exploited him as a bio-hazard weapon against the normal humans of the latter world). It must, therefore, be concluded that one of those Zombie Sentries must have been from still another parallel-Earth, where a similar outbreak occurred or, at the very least, was narrowly averted.
The series has been collected into a single volume:
- Marvel Zombies Return (120 pages, Marvel Comics, January 2010, hardcover, ISBN 0-7851-4277-0, softcover, ISBN 0-7851-4238-X)
James Hunt reviewed the first issue for Comic Book Resources and expressed concerns that "the zombie fad is winding down, and the joke here seems to be how long a one-joke concept can be kept walking even though it’s dead on its feet." However, he does praise Van Lente's comedic writing and Dragotta's art for evoking the Silver Age feeling but wonders if over-the-top violence does not "sit rather uneasily alongside the tone that the dialog and art are delivered in."
- Brownfield, Troy (June 22, 2009). "The Zombies - This Time, With Literate Roots". Newsarama. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
- Richards, Dave (June 23, 2009). "Marvel Zombies: The All-Star Return!". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
- Jesse Schedeen, Richard George (June 22, 2009). "The Original Marvel Zombies Return". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- Hunt, James (September 7, 2009). "Review: Marvel Zombies Return #1". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2009-09-07.