By Fred Van Lente (Writer), Kev Walker (Artist), and Jean Francois-Beaulieu (Colorist)
The Story: The zombies invade the Marvel 616 Universe and quickly make their presence known by striking at The Command, Florida’s state Initiative team. In response, The Alternate Reality Monitoring and Operational Response Agency (A.R.M.O.R.) enlists the help of Machine Man to find a cure before the zombie contagion spreads beyond control. But alas, not all is as it seems…
What’s Good: Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker ably pick up where Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips left off by delivering the camp, humor, and gore expected from the Marvel Zombies stories. Simply put, if you liked it then, you should like it now. One thing I noticed is that by placing the zombies within the proper Marvel Universe this time around there is an added weight and urgency to the storyline. It goes a long way in making sure the issue avoids feeling like nothing more than a cheap cash-in or overplayed gimmick.
What’s Not So Good: The fact that the first part of the storyline deals strictly with the “C” (or even “D”)-list heroes of the Marvel Universe makes this not so good. I have nothing against playing around in the Marvel sandbox (Avengers: The Initiative is one of my favorites), but the threat loses a bit a credibility when it seems as though the major heroes couldn’t be bothered by something as trivial as alternate reality zombies.
Also worth mentioning is the different visual style used for Marvel Zombies 3. While Kev Walker’s work is both visually attractive and suitably violent, it lacks the punch that made Sean Phillips’ work in Marvel Zombies 1 and 2 so memorable. The first Zombies stories, while definitely entertaining, became something more thanks to the unique, stand-out artwork. Now, unfortunately, Marvel Zombies 3 looks like it could be any other Marvel book on the stand.
Conclusion: Marvel Zombies 3 is off to an entertaining, though unremarkable start. You pretty much know what you are getting into when you pick up a book like this. Keep in mind that the introduction of the proper Marvel Universe could be reason enough for even the most skeptical readers to at least give this one a try.
A Second Opinion
Only a fool would try and recreate the magic that Robert Kirkman conjured with the previous installments of this series. Unfortunately, Fred Van Lente is charged with the task and fails to succeed.
With the absense of the core zombies characters Marvel Zombies 3 falls flat on its face. I dig Kev Walker’s art, no doubt about that. His Floridian swamps scenes are hauntingly beautiful. Having a small scene with Man-Thing is great and the inclusion of Morbius into the story is a nice touch, but ultimately, it’s just not enough. There’s too much set up, exposition, and pointless dialogue to keep this one interesting.
Marvel Zombies is not Shakespeare. It’s messed up fun! And all the charm that made its predecessors such a gory delight is disturbingly absent. Please fix this!