The first Marvel Zombies series was a lot of fun as Earth’s (and otherwise) mightiest heroes were infected with a disease that turned them into zombies. Aided by their individual powers, they managed to eat the entire Marvel Universe, including Galactus! But the power of the ducket cannot be denied and Marvel launched a second series, picking up exactly where the first left off, leaving only a handful of human survivors on Earth under Black Panther’s protection. Unfortunately, the covers to Marvel Zombies 2, zombie spoofs of classic Marvel Comics covers from the past, were the best part of the book and the whole concept managed to jump the shark by the final pages of issue number one. Suffice to say, I rode it out through a few issues and then let it go.
But Marvel Zombies continues to be a profitable venture and Marvel’s writers have come to realize that they haven’t quite killed off everyone in the continuity, they manage to dredge up some of their minor characters to stay and fight the zombies in Marvel Zombies 3 and carry them into the fourth entry in the series and where I wouldn’t ordinarily give a fuck, well, these are characters that bring nostalgia to mind for me.
When I first began buying comics, I would drop a little money on back issues of Marvel’s horror titles from the 70’s. I’m talking Ghost Rider, Werewolf By Night, Tomb of Dracula and Man-Thing. The restrictive nature of the Comics Code made it difficult for Marvel’s writers to fall back on convenient horror themes of the time so they had to get creative and as distinctly 70’s-ish as these books are, there’s a real darkness about them that’s easy enough for the saturday matinee crowd.
So here comes Marvel Zombies 4, starring Daimon Hellstrom (Son of Satan), Jack Russell (Werewolf By Night), Man-Thing, Morbius the Living Vampire and Jennifer Kale. Horror fans have a tendency to gravitate toward these characters that Marvel has swept under the rug time and time again even though writers are lined up around the block to resurrect them and bring them back into the continuity. Marvel Zombies is what it is and I’m not holding my breath for anything high quality, but it thrills me to see some of Marvel’s horror comics superstars all appearing in one book. I just have to wonder where Dracula, Frankenstein and Marvel’s original Zombie is through all of this.