Sunday, October 19, 2008

Collection Spotlight: Marvel Zombies 2

The smell of fear is ripe in the air and the blood curdling screams sing like music in my ears…

That’s right; we’re continuing the Halloween trend with more Marvel Zombie Madness than you can shake an eyeball at. Last time we focused on the Marvel Zombies original series, the one that started all the madness to begin with. But this time we’re dealing with its sequel, Marvel Zombies 2. Now by the time MZ 2 was announced, this was the general response

“This is gonna suck! Damnit! Let it die Marvel!”

And for the most part, I agreed. By now it was obvious that Marvel was milking the zombies. But still, curiosity got the better of me…that and the fact that it was the return of Kirkman and Phillips. So I decided to check it out. For the most part, I enjoyed MZ 2 and decided to pick up the HC at my LCS later on. So now here’s our Collection Spotlight on Marvel Zombies 2.

Written: Robert Kirkman

Art: Sean Phillips

Coloring: June Chung.

Story comments: 40 years following Marvel Zombies, the Zombies have eaten the entire galaxy. Crazy as it sounds, that’s the truth. They went and ate the whole damn thing over these last 40 years.

Not only that but they made some friends along the way. Enter Phoenix, Thanos, Fire lord and Mohawk man. Right off the bat we get a quick kill for fun’s sake. No doubt that right off the bat Kirkman figured “I gotta come up with some sick gore or they won’t like this series” so he throws in a kill for Thanos and turns him into Jelly.

But don’t worry; this boring moment here is quickly replaced with an update on human society. Black Panther is a wrinkly old king and the human children are rebelling against him. While it’s an all right plot minor the zombies, I honestly couldn’t care less about what old wrinkly super heroes are up to.

Kirkman picks up with a loose plot thread from Marvel Zombies as to Hawkeye’s head. We all saw Magneto chop it off, and later on that Wasp survived a beheading, so what about Hawkeye? Well, he went nuts! Yes, that’s right; Hawkeye went loopy with 40 years of no one to talk to and in the darkness. I have to give credit for that, it’s a nice twist and very logical on Kirkman’s part.

We soon see the heart of Marvel Zombies 2 and what helps it stand out more. What makes Marvel Zombies 2 superior to marvel Zombies isn’t that it has more gore and violence, or that it’s a more serious toned story, what makes Marvel Zombies 2 so superior is that Kirkman takes the time to finally flesh these zombies out as characters and give them *gasp* GOOD MOMENTS.

I’m sure a lot of people just all said the same thing at this “But their zombies, they aren’t supposed to have real personalities or stand out.” As I pointed out in my Spotlight of the first series, everyone sounded the same and talked the same, so I gladly welcome diversity with my zombies.

The storyline of Black Panther becoming a zombie and losing his royal place as leader is an all right story. But the entire rebellion subplot is rather boring and I really couldn’t care less about this red haired prick. Who’s just some useless ass-hole trying to copy the General from Day of the Dead?

When the zombies show up is when things finally get rolling, massive insanity ensues and just when you think the story is going to turn out to be nothing but a gore fest *TWIST!* Zombie Spider-man doesn’t want them to kill anymore and wants to protect the humans again.

I have to give some serious credit to Kirkman for this, as this is something I seriously did not see coming. I know that Civil War was the theme of this series, but I was seriously thrown over a loop when I read this. It’s a great twist and we get an awesome speech from Spider-man.

The ensuing battle is more like what one would expect from a super hero comic, but add in some gore of course. We get people getting ripped in half and all kinds of fun. But really, Gladiator is the main attraction here as he gets in some pretty wicked moments in the fight.

Throughout the story I felt there was this building presence that someone was behind the scenes controlling everything. Needless to say, I was frustrated that a cool kind of twist was canned for the ending but…we’ll get to that in a bit.

So now we have the zombies divided, the one protecting the humans and the device that jumps dimensions and the ones trying to eat all humans and “Spread the Gospel” as Reed Richards put it.

Character moments are funny and weird at the same time. The idea of a Zombie kissing an old man just…makes me want to leave the country for a few days until I stop feeling ashamed to be an American.

The final conflict is epic, as one would expect it. This one’s for all the chips as its Zombie vs. Zombie and its all one crazy battle for the food. But the twist is that, just when their about to chow down…the zombies no longer hunger!

Yes that’s right; it was all in their head, the sickness. They didn’t NEED to eat, they just thought they did. It may sound crazy, but it’s a simple and easy explanation and I like it. So Kudos to Kirkman, yet again, for this fun twists.

But just before everything is farts and rainbows, Hulk shows up hungry and blah de blah. Honestly, it was a fairly stupid moment that killed the momentum from the Zombies truce.

Following this we have…the most ridiculous scene ever. People…Mourning the dead Zombies…seriously…you can’t make this up. See for yourself!

Do you see that? Their MOURNING ZOMBIES! The zombies ate the damn galaxy, and their being MOURNED! WHY?!

Ugh…headaches aside, the ending is…a cheap cop out. The red haired pricks (I refuse to call him by his real name) send the zombies, who just finished fixing their own mess, away. Leaving the incredibly anti-climactic statement “Their someone else’s problem now!”

When I first read this, I threw the comic at the wall it was so stupid. While it still retains its stupidity and cheap cop out, when read as a whole, I can be more forgiving of it. But I just felt that Kirkman had some other building resolution to end the series in mind…than one of the editors read over how the series would be over and he told Kirkman to change it so a Marvel Zombies 3 could be possible.

Still, despite gripes and praise, I overall really enjoyed the story of Marvel Zombies 2. It has great moments like Spider-man and Luke Cage returning to hero status, and the plot is a lot more serious and interesting than the prior story.

Art comments: It would seem that all my complaints as to Sean Phillips magically disappear here. Gone are the choppy teeth that constantly change shape. In their place are rows of shark like teeth that look much better. A huge improvement there alone. Gone also are the lazy blotches around characters and the lack of details in smaller group moments. Phillips pours his every little detail possible into these pages and his artwork shines much better for it.

You may have noticed that I commented on the Colorist, something I don’t do. I commented on June Chung…for the amazing work here. The colors are just so perfect. From the cold reaches of space to the cloudy plains of New Wakanda. Chung adds even more greatness to Phillips great art here.

Final Comments: Marvel Zombies 2 is not a perfect sequel by any means, and it suffers from a weak ending for sure. However, I’m more lenient seeing as Kirkman really worked hard to make a solid and enjoyable story, without losing the effect of horror and suspense that a zombie tale should have. Easily one of the better sequels of it’s kind.

Must Buy.

So that’s the wrap up of the 2 part bonus Marvel Zombies Collection Spotlight. I have a special edition of the Game Shelf in the works and finally started writing down the top 25 horror flicks. So the Halloween season will continue to go strong.

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