MARVEL ZOMBIES RESURRECTION #1 / WRITER: PHILLIP KENNEDY JOHNSON / ARTIST: LEONARD KIRK / PUBLISHER: MARVEL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
A lot has changed since the rise of Robert Kirkman’s Marvel Zombies. With a wider audience now acquainted with the cosmic reaches of the Marvel Universe, and some of its more obscure heroes having taken the A-list, there’s a whole lot more superheroes to be zombified. Zombie Groot, anyone?
And so Marvel Zombies Resurrection hits the reset button, as the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Avengers investigate a call to arms from Captain Marvel. With the death of Galactus, and his corpse floating into the solar system like a big dead asteroid (or Rick and Morty’s hobo Santa), it’s essential that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes get there before its villains. That is, if something monstrous isn’t already lying in wait up there…
There’s an inevitability to all Marvel Zombie stories (and, recently, DCeased too) that hampers any attempt at building tension (spoilers: everyone dies) but we do at least get an element of mystery to this one. What is the Marvel Zombies’ game this time, and what does Galactus have to do with it? When it kicks off, it does so in style, but the setup is much more engaging than the payoff, which we’ve seen many times before.
Still, writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson has a better handle on the characters than Kirkman ever did, and the more colourful, cartoonish art by Leonard Kirk goes some way to make this story feel more like ‘real’ Marvel than previous iterations. These may not be the 616 or MCU versions of the characters, but it feels like they could be. It’s truly upsetting to see our favourite heroes suffer and die - more so than ever before. So maybe it’s for the best that Kirk’s art is less gory or extreme than Sean Phillips’. This time, the horror is more existential, and grounded in character.
This is a new breed of Marvel Zombies - flashier, more cosmic, and less scary - but not one that’s without merits. It’s gorgeous but slightly empty, lacking in braaaains, but making up for it with heart.