Book of Doom: Marvel Zombies: Dead Days

If there’s one thing I’ve come to expect from Robert Kirkman, it’s that whatever direction I think he’s going to take a story in is inevitably not the direction he goes with. I’m amazed by how many times I’ve been amazed by a choice Kirkman has made in one of his comics, especially in The Walking Dead. It should come as no surprise then that Kirkman’s other zombie book was equally as surprising as TWD. But it’s Kirkman, so of course it was surprising.

Marvel Zombies Dead Days

Marvel Zombies: Dead Days was advertised as the origin story of the universe: the point at which this universe became drastically different from the 616 universe. I was expecting it to be an all-out brawl between the Marvel Zombies and the Marvel Superheroes to see which side would survive. I certainly wasn’t expecting that war to take place (for the most part) off-panel, and focus instead on the attempt to cure and or escape the outbreak. That’s why I loved the book to so much. It wasn’t the “easy” choice, which any writer worth his salt could have done in his sleep.

I think my favorite Kirkmanism from the book would have to be the reason the non-zombies eventually lost the war. I’m sure most people probably assumed the zombies had just overwhelmed the human population by sheer numbers, as is the case with most zombie stories. Instead, as it turns out, the heroes weren’t doing such a bad job of staying alive (and saving a bunch of civilians in the process). That is until non-zombified Reed Richards decided it’d be better for everyone if they just became zombies. Man, and I thought he was a dick during Civil War.

I also really enjoyed how Kirkman tied in elements from all the stories involving the Marvel Zombies universe, including the ones he didn’t even write. He’s got the creation of the dimensional portal that’s essential in introducing the universe in Mark Millar’s Ultimate Fantastic Four. He’s got references to the infection coming from an alternate reality, which has been shown in John Layman’s Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness. And of course he’s got elements of the original Marvel Zombies mini-series that he wrote.

I loved Marvel Zombies: Dead Days. But I honestly don’t see how a comic by one of my all-time favorite writers involving zombies and Marvel superheroes could turn out bad. Well, maybe if Michael Turner was drawing it…

I wonder what the other Doomers thought of the issue? Let’s see what Jim Doom had to say. I bet he loved it:

Jim Doom: “I can now empathize with zombie victims, because this book ate my brain.

This is probably the single worst comic book I have ever read, from the writing to the art. What an absolute pile of crap. This whole book is “Zombies attack people and eat them,” except the big unique catch here is that the people are wearing superhero costumes! Whoooo!

My god, what an insulting waste of $3.99 this was. Let’s just take the stupidity of the premise for granted for a minute. There are so many holes in this story. My best guess is that it was actually just as rushed as it seems. So the zombie thing is a virus…but super-healing Wolverine succumbs to it. Ok. Unbreakable-skin Power Man and metal-skin Colossus get bitten. Gotcha.

Then Reed Richards claims that these zombies are actually extremely efficient…yet their hunger is insatiable, to the point that Hawkeye has eaten 12 people that day and he’s still hungry. They have to travel to other dimensions because they’ll run out of food so quickly. That’s actually sort of the opposite of efficiency. Nice way to make Reed Richards sound smart while making the writer seem like an idiot.

Not to mention that all the heroes needed to do was stall, yet they decided to go on a suicide mission back down to the ground to fight the zombies. Could they have just – I don’t know – stayed on the ship? I realize that Reed would have eventually gotten them, but what really was the point in going back down to fight?

And what was the point of the freaking book? Just to have people get eaten? What a stupid, stupid story! Maybe for some people, this is just zombie comics fun, but if this is said person’s idea of fun comics, where exactly is the fun? Is it in seeing people in different costumes get eaten and zombified? Otherwise one would think that said fan could just buy one zombie comic and re-read it every month. The fun certainly isn’t in the story, because this was about the weakest attempt at “a resistance standing up to the odds” as I’ve ever read.

The art also was crap, in some kind of talentless John Romita Sr throwback way. Except once you become a zombie, you don’t have gums and your teeth get pointy. Oh and you get holes in your costume.

I was actually surprised to see this was written by Robert Kirkman. Walking Dead has been a good zombie book with suspense, drama and characters worth caring about. This had none of that, and none of the dark humor that could make it a good ironic read either. Upon opening the gatefold cover, I could see from the advertisements that this unimaginative crap has infected several other Marvel titles as well. Good freaking grief.

I expect an apology from Fin Fang Doom after having to buy and read this rotting diseased glossy turd.”

Umm… I’m sorry you don’t like good comics?

And hey, you made us buy Deathblow, so you don’t have a leg to stand on there.

Let’s see what JCVD had to say:

Jean-Claude Van Doom: “I have to preface this by saying that I really don’t like zombies. Like Nazis, they’re easy villains that can be absolutely evil with no plot put behind their rampage. Also, as with Nazis, zombies have been used so much that they were old hat three decades ago. Even this zombie renaissance has really jumped the shark.

All that said, I really enjoyed the first Marvel Zombies mini. It was simply a fun alterna-verse with lots of clever moments. Robert Kirkman at his best, etc. Sean Phillips’ art certainly helped. Since then, we’ve seen the zombies thing spread across Marvel in runaway-freight-train fashion. I don’t know if that’s being sent down on an editorial level or if there are just a lot of writers bankrupt on ideas, but it’s almost getting hard to avoid zombies in Marvel titles.

The worst book in my mind is the Army of Darkness crossover, which is an out-and-out-mugfest with Ash. Dead Days is far superior, but it doesn’t really add anything to the Marvel Zombies story. There is no clever new revelation, not much explanation about what the zombification stems from. It could easily be the first issue in the previous mini. The only problem with that is the first mini was stretched thin already, so this just seems needless, an excuse to draw some more characters as zombies and milk money from the readers.”