Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Marvel Zombies (Marvel comics)
Marvel Zombies #3 When: April 2006
Why: Robert Kirkman How: Sean Phillips

The story so far...
In the universe dubbed 2149, heroes and villains are no longer of any relevant concern. However, this is not a reality of uptopian peace and harmony among man.
The super powered heroes and villains of the Marvel universe have simply become infectious walking dead -- zombies!

With humanity all but exterminated, and the efforts of the genius zombified Reed Richards having been foiled by his alternate counterpart, the zombies are tortured by their lust for fresh meat.

Their undead prayers are soon answered with the arrival of a chrome skinned spaceman called the Silver Surfer, who warns of the coming of the great devourer, but they've got news for him: HE'S the one that's going to get devoured!

Previous Form:
Silver Surfer (#28): Silver Surfer had a victory over Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner.
Marvel Zombies: They ate Magneto...

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Hulk 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Giant-Man 6 (Genius)
Speed: Nova 7 (Light Speed)
Stamina: Silver Surfer 6 (Generator)
Agility: Spider-man 5 (Cat-like)
Fighting Ability: Wolverine 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Silver Surfer 7 (Solar Power)

Ah, well, here we are again, approaching once more the monumental task of one unfortunate against the ravenous league of the Marvel Zombies. No, not the fans! The infected heroes and villains of the title of the same name.

Our format has changed considerably since the last time we did this [Marvel Zombies #1], and because of that, I feel the need to at least clarify the roster of zombified characters we are dealing with. They are as follows: Iron Man, Nova, Vulture, Falcon, Storm, Thor, Moon Knight, Black Bolt, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Wolverine, Angel, Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Crystal, Gambit, Ghost Rider, Speedball, Deadpool, Black Widow, Giant-Man, Spider-man, Hulk, Beast, Hercules and Power Man, Luke Cage.

That's twenty-seven zombie characters all up!
A pretty big ask for even the Silver Surfer, whose power cosmic provides a wide array of strengths and abilities.

A few people, in response to the Rise of the Silver Surfer trailer have expressed explicit confusion about the nature of the character's abilities. To clarify some of that (and hopefully make this section less boring than usual), the Surfer does not phase through objects.
At least, not in such bland terms. "Phasing" is an expression I would limit to a Kitty Pryde, whose chief ability relates to intangibility and passing through objects.

At various stages the extent of Silver Surfer's cosmic powers have been explored, highlighting his abilities on a molecular and atomic level. So, as far as passing through buildings and buses and whatnot, he's less "phasing" than he is displaying his brisk harmony with the universe, and molecular manipulation.
Given some time and energy, he could probably turn lead into gold, too.

So, against an army of Marvel Zombies, does this come in handy?
Maybe, but it isn't one of his chief abilities and requires some effort, so he's not about to try to turn Iron Fist into cheese mid-fight. He's more likely, as I'm sure you're about to see, mow them down with raw blasts of cosmic energy.

Since even Wolverine has been ravaged by the degenerative qualities of this particular brand of zombie-ism, it's safe to say the Surfer has a great chance of coming out on top here. That said, many of them retain their offensive powers, which does pose a problem.

I guess at the end of this we just have to look at it as one for the fans. Cheap!

The Math: Marvel Zombies (Total) Silver Surfer (Average)
The Pick: The Silver Surfer

What went down...
Trust the math to cop-out and pick both sides!
Things kick off from the opening of this action-packed issue! A zombified Tony Stark [pictured above] leads the charge, with various other flying characters hovering around for a taste of the action.

Not one for emotion at the best of times, and not really used to people doing anything but cower in fear in his presence, Silver Surfer meets their challenge willingly. His cosmic plast tears through Iron Man's armor with ease, shredding his decaying body at the waist.

The airborne torso manages to snag the Surfer's board and leg, while the Vulture and Nova swing around for a bite of the cherry. They provide sufficient interference to pull the Surfer's cosmic blast off course.
It narrowly misses Stark's head, leaving him free to ravenously attempt to take a bite out of the chrome thigh before him. His teeth chip on the cosmic wrap, much to the Surfer's stoic disgust.

"In all my travels -- I have never encountered such creatures!"
He frees himself of the full nelson, and fires off devestating blasts at Nova and Captain Mar-Vell, penetrating gut and face respectively.

MJOLNOWNED~!!!A lurking Thor makes his presence known, swinging his mighty hammer Mjolnir with a thundering KROOM!
The force of the blow knocks the Silver Surfer from his board, but likewise shatters the stone head of the Asgardian hammer. Perhaps the barer was no long worthy...

Landing hard on the apocalyptic street level below, the harbinger from space finds himself with many more abominations to contend with.

Colonel America leads the charge, promising double rations to the man or woman who makes the kill. Something easier said than done. The Vulture and Moon Knight each take the brunt of cosmic blasts, followed by Namor, and Falcon.

Charging through some of the other street level characters, Wolverine declares his intentions, but is quickly embarrassed.
The mutant takes a swipe with his adamantium claws, but while the skeleton is willing, the flesh is weak. His claws and forearm tear straight through his failing skin and flesh as he strikes the Surfer's sturdy chest.

With his healing factor unable to fight the decomposition, and no ligaments to contain his adamantium laced bones, Wolverine trims the fat. With his good arm, he slices away at the exposed bones and ragged edges of torn skin and muscle.
At this time, he feels a tap at his ankle.

The upper torso of Iron Man asks Wolverine for a lift, and with his one good arm, he's all too happy to oblige a fastball special.

Iron Man hurtles through the falling and fighting bodies of Speedball, Ghost Rider, Deadpool and others, as Gambit's disembodied head floats across the battlefield. Giant-Man arrives from his lab in time to witness the slaughter, and remains content to hideout in the shadows of the alleyways for the time being.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, Bruce Banner and Spider-man are both carrying prominent injuries. Banner, with a hole in his gut, feels the hunger gnawing, while Spidey metaphorically gnaws at himself, relieving his body of a useless, dangling leg. By then, Banner is no more, and Hulk has entered the fight.

Don't make him hungry. You wouldn't like him when he's hungry!

The Surfer continues to expell his energies, fending off the never-ending physical onslaught of the zombie armada.

Beast, Black Bolt and others are tossed aside as the rampaging Hulk charges at the first signs of food! He snatches the Surfer from Beast's grip, and scoops him up valiantly in a cradle, declaring "the silver man" as his.

The Surfer has other ideas, firing off a double barrelled blast of cosmic energy at point blank. The gambit is enough to free him from the green goliath's grip, and gives him an opportunity to reunite with his surfboard.

With Colonel America and others in pirsuit, it is again the Hulk who gets the benefit of the alien. Hulk's mighty leap sees him landing atop the chrome herald, forcing them again away from the intergalactic surfboard.

Furious about the damage suffered at the Surfer's blast; a charred face Hulk, seething with strength, guarantees the Silver Surfer regret his resistence.

The Hulk's teeth and jaws prove powerful enough to penetrate the Silver Surfer's hardy exterior. He crunches down, biting the head off like a crazed rockstar.
The cosmic energies housed within spew forth from both the Hulk's mouth, and the gaping neck of the gleeming herald to Galactus.

Giant-Man steps out of the shadows to give Iron Man and Spidey a helping hand toward the feeding. Thor, Wolverine, Powerman and Colonel America are all quick to get their fill, before having the torn body snatched away by Giant-Man.

As things start to get nasty amongst the squabbling zombies, Colonel America makes the discovery that they have inherited some of the Surfer's power by feasting on his chromed flesh. He does so by blasting Beast's objecting head off.

The hammer...
Is there any way being eaten could make you the victor? With the killing blow struck by the Hulk, I declare the Marvel Zombies victorious! Assists for all, with Hulk picking up the kill!

I've probably gone a bit generous on this one. There were a few characters thrown in there getting the assist who really weren't seen to be all that effective. Crystal shows up for a single panel, as best as I can recall at 2:30am.
There's some implication that Gambit is about to do something pretty spectacular, but the biggest scenes for the Cajun are being blasted through the chest, and his decapitated head being thrown across the background.

Still, I guess thems the breaks when we dare to do these BIG superhero battles on Secret Earths. They're usually a bit of fun to read, but when it comes to recapping and judging, it can be a bit of a pain in the ol' arse, if I may say so.

A lot of love being thrown the Marvel Zombies way again with the recent Army of Darkness vs Marvel Zombies mini-series.
I haven't had the chance to pick up any issues yet, but I do have one distinct problem with the project. No, it's not the longevity of the concept, and it isn't anything to do with burning sacred cows. It's the longterm logic of it.

As near as I can tell, the series is set before this particular mini we reviewed here today [Marvel Zombies], but that means Ash and the Army of Darkness intellectual properties, rights and trademarks are being tied into something that will inevitably outlast any agreement between the involved parties.
So not only do you have a concept from an unrelated medium impeding on proceedings, but there's the real likelihood that it will prevent any canonical reference to this period of the past.

Of course, I might be scaremongering there. It might not really matter, and certainly for the on-going adventures of the Marvel Zombies, I can't imagine it will. I'm very much looking forward to the upcoming storyarc with Black Panther and the new Fantastic Four.

Dramatic resonances of the Black Panther involvement aside [BP is a surviving human in Marvel Zombies], I just think it's a nice change of pace to be seeing quirky concepts like this being drifted toward the 'serious' business.
It could very easily overstay it's welcome, and cross into in-your-face mundanity, but for the time being I watch with interest.

On another related note -- if you backtrack through the downing of what went, you'll notice during Thor's moment of glory I made reference to Mjolnir.
The hammer explodes upon impact with the Surfer, which isn't really what Mjolnir is known for in the regular universe, so it potentially answers a question I would have asked: -- Is zombie Thor still worthy of lifting the enchanted hammer?

I guess you could theorize that deep-down he is worthy, and that the spell is somewhat robotic or mechanical in it's determination. You could extrapolate to come up with some sort of meta-mystic theory that the hammer shattered because it was weakened byproxy by the infection.
Or you could just say it was a fun moment, with a bit of creative oversight.

Certainly, despite an upcoming prequel, the series does not feel like something carefully crafted and built atop lengthy planning. Which is where some of my concerns for the Zombies franchise enter the picture, but we'll burn it as it comes.

Ah, we can also harken back to a discussion had previously [What if...? #24], where I asked how Wolverine, healing factor and all, could be infected to begin with. Apparently the proposition here is that the zombie infection has simply overpowered his regenerative capabilities.
It's a simple solution, but I can't help but think it isn't what I'd go with...

Well, it's getting late and I'm probably minutes away from getting incoherrent, so I'll wrap it up here. Stay tuned for next week when we wrap up with a MAJOR finale for What If Wednesdays, and fight out where we're going next in the May Punch-Up! Cheers!

The Fight: 5 The Issue: 5.5

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