by Simon Spurrier, Kev Walker and Frank D’Armata
Okay, so story time. There once was a little book called X-Men Legacy from one of the more recent seasons, or campaigns or whatever you want to call it, from Marvel. It was written by an English bloke named Si Spurrier, and it was amazing. Then there was a little book from BOOM! Studios with Jeff Stokely called Six Gun Gorilla that was easily one of the best things from the independent scene that year. Now, Marvel is giving Spurrier another shot at letting loose and really do what he does best—yeah, there was an X-Force book in between somewhere, but it’s still in a ‘to be read’ state—and this time he gets to play beyond the Shield in the land of the endless hordes of dead with Marvel Zombies and if this doesn’t just fit him like the finest tailored suit in the world… then there might not be another suitable analogy. (Bullocks, excuse the pun)
Spurrier just has a knack for witty, clever humor and for some reason the uncanny ability to make a reader instantly like a character. The two previous books mentioned will instantly hook you to the main character just like he’s done here with Elsa Bloodstone. Now, as with Legacy, this reviewer is a little fuzzy on the main character, but Spurrier does an excellent job giving you the basics of the character, even within the confines of this new Doom-ruled, patchwork world, and it comes off smoothly and unforced. Between hilarious dialogue, the flashbacks, the badassery, the shootiness and the emotional issues that Elsa carries for her father, Spurrier has immediately established a character that you want to follow and get to know better. Plus, when that thing happened that she said has never happened before? What was that all about?
It’s great to see more Kev Walker work at Marvel and considering the final product here, it’s very clearly a perfect choice. Walker’s work on Marvel Zombies is fantastic and seemingly shifts from a cartoonier feel, very much akin to his more typical style, to an almost surreal take on the various animated corpses roaming around this vast Deadzone. You can tell there’s almost gleeful delight in the designs of and care given to the zombies. That’s not to say the regular people aren’t great, because they are, there just feels like that little extra something added to these monsters that puts them over the top. A little more heavy black, a little more menace, a little more rot and otherwise disgusting features… whatever it is, it absolutely works and absolutely takes this book to another level.
Colorist Frank D’Armata seems to clearly define the space on the Shield and the space on the Deadzone and again adds to the overall feeling of dread that one would obviously feel when trapped in a place full of flesh eating superheroes and villains. As with Walker’s line work, D’Armata seems to relish in the colors of the dead and builds even further on the monstrous look that these zombies have. Together, they really do produce a stunningly wonderful, albeit twisted and creepy, first look at death (instead of life, for obvious reasons) beyond the Shield.
Well, yeah, Marvel Zombies was a fantastic first issue amongst many other great first issues that we’ve gotten from Marvel since Secret Wars started and considering what we’ve had glimpses of so far, this place beyond the Shield (keep wanting to say beyond the Wall…) is certainly going to be one of the more interesting ones. Spurrier is a brilliant talent and it’s great to see him letting loose and doing, seemingly, whatever he wants to do and the art from Walker and D’Armata is fantastic. There is literally nothing else you can ask for of a new book. Another Secret Wars win, folks, jump on this one.