Just in time for Halloween, Marvel Comics’ Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #1 offers readers a horrific hybrid between a zombie outbreak and a space adventure. Thanks to writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson, the miniseries hits the ground running. In these opening pages, some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes succumb to some of their infected allies and a visually striking cliffhanger shows us that the Marvel Universe is in grave danger.
Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #1
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Color Artist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lantham
Kennedy Johnson packs several gripping moments into the opening installment and it’s refreshing to see an event-based series swing for the fences right away. But some of these moments don’t fully hit the mark. The story opens with the reunion of the Illuminati. Many fans will remember this group for its culpability in some numerous controversies, from Civil War to Secret Invasion. The unit’s latest meeting should be a shocking moment but it doesn’t get the narrative importance it deserves. It’s fair to focus on the emergency at hand but none of the characters even acknowledge the Illuminati’s troubled past. While the inclusion of the group is a pleasant surprise, it’s disappointing that Kennedy Johnson seemingly ignores its significance.
But several other compelling moments make up for the failure to mention the Illuminati’s history. The image of Galactus’ diseased corpse floating in space quickly plunges the issue into the horror genre. Then, one full-width panel shows the Avengers’ spaceship closing in on Galan’s lifeless face. From start to finish, the art team captures the eerie isolation of space rather than the spectacular beauty other comics focus on. Color artist Guru-eFX uses dull blacks and grays to convey this sense of desolation. As effective as these scenes are, an even memorable one comes when the heroes go inside Galactus’ corpse.
Even before the zombies attack the heroes, Galactus’ mouth is a gruesome setting. Wolverine, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man and others stand on Galan’s rotting tongue and artist Leonard Kirk uses calluses, wrinkles and discoloration to make it look monstrous. Similarly, Galactus’ decaying teeth are off-putting; Kirk and the art team make each one look like a decomposed mountain. The whole scene feels like a twisted version of the classic Pinocchio scene where the eponymous character is trapped in Monstro. From start to finish, this story will give you chills.
Beneath all the gore, though, Kennedy Johnson crafts a story that leaves the reader wanting more. Tony Stark and Reed Richards initially agree that they should harvest Galactus’ corpse for its resources. While Iron Man later realizes they’d be better off destroying it and going home, Reed presses on. This determination is at least partially responsible for the ensuing tragedy; if Reed listened to his peers and his wife, Sue, all of this could have been avoided. Once again, Reed looks like an evil scientist. (At one point, Magik compares him to Victor Frankenstein.) While it’s only a matter of time before many of the heroes are zombified, we can hope to see the progression of Reed’s role in the outbreak.
Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #1 is worth checking out, especially in the spirit of the season. At best, it’s the beginning of a new Marvel series with a strong mystery surrounding Galactus’ death. At worst, it’s the first chapter of zombie invasion, which practically guarantees grisly deaths, scary story elements and everything else you’d want from a horror movie.
What’s you think of Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #1? Where do you want to see the mystery go from here?