Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #1 Review

by Charles Martin on October 30, 2019

Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #1 Review
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Colourist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The solicit does a fine job giving you the high-concept premise: Galactus's corpse shows up at the edge of the solar system, so an all-star team of heroes flies up to check it out.

Since this is Marvel Zombies, of course you can expect death, disaster, and dismay in ample quantities before the first issue is over. But this take on this specialized sub-genre adds fascinating new wrinkles: A slow burn and a very big, very-much-still-to-be-answered "Why?"

Yeah, the Marvel universe is about to be nommed by super-zombies. Again. But this series freshens it up by adding genuine mystery to the mix. This isn't another tidal wave of wise-cracking zombies bent on piranha-fying the 616 as quickly and gorily as possible. Earth is in imminent danger from a mysterious force that acts through zombies but is (hopefully!) more than just a mindless horde.

It's not fear of spoilers that prevents me from explaining; writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson is playing his cards close to his vest and holding the answers for later issues. 

This is in no way a disappointment because this script makes incredible strides toward two impressive goals. First, it lights the fuse on an intriguing case of cosmic horror. Second, it does a praiseworthy job characterizing a host of Marvel's heaviest hitters in a way that promises more excellence to come.

The top-shelf squad assembled for this first chapter is made up of the Fantastic Four plus four Avengers plus four X-Men. And simply sharing the roster should tell you how big-league the threat is: It's Cap, Thor, Iron Man, War Machine, Wolverine, Magneto, Beast, and Magik.

Any doubts you might have about the heavy-hitter-ness of particular members are capably assuaged by their superb interactions. Rhodey's worry about just being along as a spaceship pilot is answered by Cap's assertion that he's counting on War Machine to blow up Galactus -- and the heroes -- up if things go sideways. And Magik (very much the Mistress of Limbo here) sassily cuts Wolverine dead with a pat "that's cute" when he says he's "got her back."

Everybody on this all-star cast gets a superb moment or two in the sun. Which is a good thing, because -- very mild spoiler -- none of this dreamy dozen is likely to get another star turn in this series. Not as a good guy, anyway.

On the visual front, Leonard Kirk and Guru-eFX do a formidable job of portraying the heroes and their eventual undead opponents. The characters are perfectly rendered and the action, when it finally breaks out, is viscerally exciting. The colours are neon-bright and contribute in a big way to the eeriness of setting the key scenes inside Galactus's corpse.

What's even more impressive than the stabby, blasty, bitey climax is the incredible sense of dread all the creators conjure up together during the unnerving exploration of Galactus. The more intellectual heroes, Reed and Tony, in particular, are fascinated with the potential of it all, while the more practical sorts give voice to some of the gigantic threats presented by a dead World Eater. And the visuals live up to every inch of foreboding suggested by the script; this mission is plenty spooky even before folks start dying.

I think of it like this: Every volume of Marvel Zombies has been action-movie oriented. They've been, at their best, something like James Cameron. And in their less-great moments, something more like Michael Bay. 

But Marvel Zombies: Resurrection? This is Ridley Scott. Not Aliens or any of its sequels, but the original Alien -- with all the cerebral horror and heart-stopping fright that that comparison implies.

Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #1 proves that there's always something new under the sun, particularly when you entrust your zombie yarn to top-flight creators. It's a slow-burning, nerve-wracking story that successfully taps the cosmic horror feel of the first Alien movie before exploding into disastrous, deadly carnage. There is lots of terror still to come … and this grandiose introduction promises intellectual as well as visceral scares in the future.

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Charles Martin's picture
I think this comic probably won my heart when Reed brought out the ol' "Every species sees Galactus as one of its own" chestnut and applied it to Big G's corpse. That's a first.