Best Shots Extra: Marvel Zombies 3 #1
Marvel Zombies III #1
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Art: Kev Walker
Color: Jean Francios-Beaulieu
Letters: VC’s Russ Wooton
Cover: Greg Land and Justin Ponsor11 page preview here For all of the over-the-top violence, the first Marvel Zombies mini played with the somewhat humorous nature of the premise. It was a tongue-through-the-cheek horror experience in the vein of Sam Raimi. It seemed an apt direction for writer Robert Kirkman, as he already had an outlet to vent his regular Romero jones with The Walking Dead. It’s interesting then, that here we have Fred Van Lente, known primarily as the co-writer of the often hilarious (and awesome) Incredible Hercules, writes Zombies III in the vein of a more hardcore approach as the zombies hit the 616. Van Lente channels the darker bits of Raimi with some Romero and Fulci tossed on top. The first issue is straight-forward, creepy, and bad-ass, and sealed with a clever twist ending. Things move quickly. We meet the Florida Initiative team, The Command, composed of Marvel stalwarts Siege, The Aquarian, Conquistador, and Jennifer Kale. Spoiler Alert: Does that line-up scream “cannon fodder” to anyone else? The first few pages are brutal, with a swamp-and-shack sequence that echoes pieces of the original Evil Dead. Artist Kev Walker pulls no punches, and page eight contains a blood deluge bit that’s so gross it made me laugh out loud (don’t judge me; Fangoria/Scream Factory veteran right here). This is followed by a truly tense and scary page 10 and 11, with both Van Lente and Walker giving vigorous nods to the masters (including, for the record, James Cameron). We shuffle quickly to A.R.M.O.R., another in the brilliant lineage of Marvel agency acronyms (this one means Alternative Reality Monitoring and Operational Response Agency). Michael Morbius and Charles Little Sky (aka Portal from Darkhawk) know that the fit is hitting the shan, and they’re bringing in a couple of surprise characters to help deal with things. This is all sharply and smartly done, and damn if it doesn’t lead to a wallop of a twist ending. I wasn’t sure what to expect from MZ3. Yeah, there’s sometimes a saturation point with this kind of thing, but Van Lente and company appear to have given this some careful consideration as the 616 becomes imperiled. Familiar (if not, in this first issue, hugely important) characters die, and the threat-level is significant. I look forward to seeing how this plays out; the first issue has already been a pleasant surprise.
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