Comic Book: Marvel Zombies
It started with a flash in the sky, and a ripple through the clouds. The hunger is what brought it here; and feed it did, until the Marvel Heroes were no more. They were replaced by soulless monsters, driven only by an insatiable craving for human flesh. Marvel Zombies
This is no world of Marvel Heroes.
This is the world of... Marvel Zombies.
— opening blurb, Marvel Zombies
in a nutshell — an alien virus carried into an Elseworlds
version of the Marvel Comics
universe by a zombified Sentry has transformed the Marvel superheroes and supervillains into cannibalistic zombies
who, by the time we're introduced to them, have already consumed every living thing on their own Earth (in twenty four hours, no less) and so are desperately searching for a new source of food so as to quell the vicious, all-consuming hunger that they feel.
The popular franchise stems from a 2005 arc of Ultimate Fantastic Four
, "Crossover", which teased at a meeting between the Ultimate Universe
and the mainstream one (something the publishers had said they'd never do but relented on years later with the Spider-Men Milestone Celebration
event) through a meeting of the two different versions of the Fantastic Four
, only for Ultimate Reed to discover that he'd been tricked by the zombie Reed Richards trying to find a portal to another dimension and, thus, a new food source for the zombies. The arc was popular, resulting in six mini-series and several guest appearances following the exploits of the zombies at time of writing (April 2010). Plus, the zombified Fantastic Four end up becoming the Ultimate version of the Frightful Four.
The Marvel Zombies
franchise following this Arc consists of:
- Marvel Zombies: What happened after "Crossover". The Zombies hunt the last few non-infected people in the world (including Magneto and Black Panther) and try to figure out what to do once they've eaten everything — when the Silver Surfer, Herald of Galactus, shows up looking for worlds that his master can consume...
- Marvel Zombies: Dead Days: One-off prequel showing exactly what happened when the Zombie Sentry showed up, and how the Marvel Zombies world came to be.
- Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness: Intercontinuity Crossover with the Evil Dead series; at the same time as Dead Days, Ash Williams finds himself in the Marvel Zombies universe. Hilarity Ensues.
- Marvel Zombies 2: Set forty years after Marvel Zombies. After realizing they've eaten almost all of the life in the universe, the surviving zombies return to Earth to make another try at building a dimensional portal. There, the descendants of the Black Panther and Magneto's Acolytes have built a tiny settlement in the ruins of New York City, and Fabian Cortez's grandson has plans of his own.
- Marvel Zombies 3: Set between Marvel Zombies and Marvel Zombies 2. The alternate-reality police organization ARMOR dispatches Aaron Stack, a.k.a. Machine Man, and Jocasta to the Marvel Zombies universe in an attempt to create a vaccine for the zombie disease. What they don't know is that the entire thing is a trick by the zombie version of Michael Morbius, to ensure a new food supply for the zombies left behind on his Earth.
- Marvel Zombies 4: After Marvel Zombies 3, the Midnight Sons have reformed to stop the spread of the virus and deal with the Zombies once and for all.
- Marvel Zombies Return: Set after Marvel Zombies 2: The original Marvel Zombies have been teleported out of their original universe into Earth-Z, an untouched universe reflecting different eras of Marvel Comics. Whilst Zombie Spider-Man tries to find a cure or solution for their condition, Zombie Giant Man decides to find new worlds to feed on...
- Marvel Zombies: Evil Evolution: What happens when the Marvel Zombies meet the Marvel Apes. Set during Dead Days.
- Marvel Zombies 5: Set after Marvel Zombies 4. Machine Man and Howard the Duck tour the Marvel multiverse searching for various types of zombies to help Morbius's research into a cure.
- Marvel Zombies Supreme: Jill Harper and her Guardsmen team are sent to investigate a distress call at an isolated Project: Pegasus facility. What they find out is that a renegade biologist has A) cloned the Squadron Supreme and B) accidentally turned the clones into zombies. Notable for not having any overt connections to the "Hunger Gospel" virus, for being the series that brought back the Jack of Hearts, and for the second issue, which is pretty much designed to irritate the hell out of Superman fans.
- Marvel Zombies Destroy! (2012): In an alternate reality, the Nazis used a zombie plague to win World War II. When ARMOR discovers the Nazis have perfected a warship that can travel between parallel Earths, Howard the Duck and Dum-Dum Dugan assemble a team of Golden Age and World War II heroes to go to the zombie Nazis' Earth and take them out before they can mount an invasion.
- Marvel Zombies Halloween (2012): Several years after the Hunger Gospel was released, a survivor's young son decides he wants to celebrate Halloween. It doesn't go well.
- Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies (2015): It's zombie apocalypse vs. robot apocalypse as the Ultron's world collides with the world of Marvel Zombies as one of the many lead-ins to the 2015 event "Secret Wars".
The zombies and the Hunger Gospel have appeared in multiple other books as well, as cameos or antagonists. Most notably, the 13-issue series Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth
is the story of a time-traveling Deadpool meeting and killing several of the B-list zombies who survived the massacre in the original book. An arc in Reginald Hudlin's run on Black Panther
also featured the Zombies.
The term "Marvel Zombies", by the way, stems from an old nickname for devotees of Marvel Comics
. Amusingly, one actually appears in MZ5
Marvel Zombies provides examples of the following tropes: