Category Archives: kev walker

Review – Marvel Zombies 4 #4 (Marvel, 2009)

So, the fourth iteration of the Marvel Zombies comes to its conclusion. Overall, Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker have conjured up a nice, compact tale of voodoo drenched dark horror, alleviated by the occasional appearances from the head of Zombie Deadpool, and his silent companion and means of transport, Simon Garth. They get to play their parts, with Deadpool getting the better of the deal (but hey, everyone loves Deadpool, so that’s okay, right?).

The Midnight Sons, Man-Thing, The Hood – they all get their stories wrapped up. The plague cloud poses its threat. Hellcat makes a brief appearance. There are some Zombies in it, but this latest tale of the Marvel Zombies has been less concerned with the undead than a horror-mood. I think they managed to achieve it, making the title redolent of the many creature feature and horror titles that Marvel churned out in the 70’s. This tone, with the added mysticism that the Dread Dormammu added to the proceedings, gave the title a unique and generally successful air. Okay, maybe the conclusion is a little too neat and tidy, a little too pat – but taken as a whole, I enjoyed this tale of the Midnight Sons, and the fact that Van Lente and Walker raided the C and D lists of Marvel characters (again, like they did in MZ 3) and made something compelling and worth reading. Was the last issue entertaining? Not as much as the first couple of issues. Will I be reading the next chapter in the Marvel Zombies saga?

Hell yes – and it looks like we are going to be getting some Suydam covers as the franchise reinvents itself again – by going back to the characters from the first 2 Marvel Zombies series.

Review – Marvel Zombies 4 #1 (Marvel, 2009)

After reviving the Marvel Zombies franchise with its third iteration, starring Jocasta and (the superb) Machine Man, and just months after its finale, dynamic duo Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker have brought the first issue of the fourth installment of Marvel Zombies. I am glad to say it continues their good run of form. Marvel Zombies 4 is a lot of fun.

The idea of a supernatural super-team is nothing new, but in this context, having ‘The Midnight Sons’ chasing down the undead works perfectly as a concept, even though this first issue is really just re-establishing characters such as Morbius and Jack Russel (aka Werewolf by Night). There is plenty of humour streaked throughout these pages, whether it be Jennifer Kale poking fun at the Son Of Satan (aka Daemon Hellstrom) and his demonic laugh, or the fun to be had with a zombie Deadpool who is now nothing more than a head. Yes, a zombie Deadpool who is nothing more than a head. The beauty of this is, that teamed up with Zombie Simon Garth, Deadpool steals all the scenes he is, with some absurd situations working brilliantly thanks to the humour in Van Lentes writing and Kev Walkers great and gory art. There are even some undead in there, but not what you would expect at all. There is some darkness and a lot of blood and violence, with Morbius especially full of rage after his experiences in Marvel Zombies 3 (but this rage is what is propelling MZ4), but it is tempered by the lighter moments when Deadpool brings some excellent comic relief.

A great start – I think this is going to be one of Marvels strongest titles during its short run. Who would bet against there being a Marvel Zombies 5?

Marvel Zombies 4 #1, Written by Fred Van Lente / Art by Kev Walker, is out now.

Marvel Zombies 3 – issue 4 review (2009)



Spoilers!!

Let me start this review by saying that the third series of Marvel Zombies will not be the last. Anyone who reads comic books is hardly going to be surprised that Marvel are not going to kill off one of their cash cows (i assume that Marvel Zombies 3 has done comparable business to Kirkmans initial foray and its sequel). The fact that they have managed to build up a level of excitement (as far as I am concerned) for the next installment is a tribute to what Marvel are trying to do here.

So what do I think they are trying to do with Marvel Zombies? I think they are now using the success and recognition of the title as an opportunity to give a run out to some of the B and c list Superheroes in the Marvel Universe. In Marvel Zombies 3, it has done a great service to Jocasta and Machine Man as the central characters and heroes. Machine Man has been a revelation to me, as he has been showcased as an all-out action hero with elements of Schwazeneggers invincibilty and Willis’ humour, along with a formidable body-as-weapon arsenal. It worked for me.

Jocasta, also, flourished in a role where nothing but desperate actions on her part would secure Earths survival. Throughout this series in particular, without the novelty of seeing the big guns ‘zombiefied’ (Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine etc), those Zombies that have been present have taken less prominence. The tone of the title has changed. However, there are still a lot of characters that they can play around with who provide entertainment (Black Bolt, Lockjaw, Kingpin – Kingpin in particular has a great scene towards the end of issue 4).

Whereas the focus of 1 & 2 was on the perspective of the Zombies and their hunger driven devastation of worlds, Marvel Zombies 3 has been about how Heroes have tried to combat the threat. So the title ends with the exciting build up to part 4. With Machine Man and Jocasta exiting stage left, Morbius steps up to the centre stage full of purpose and revenge and bringing with him a tantalising supporting cast.
This is where my point about showcasing the lesser known heroes is clearly illustrated; does anyone want a new title starring the ‘Midnight Sons‘?? Probably not.
Will people read Marvel Zombies 4, starring the ‘Midnight Sons’? Probably. It is another High Concept; ‘Monsters vs. Zombies’. This one, has a good feel to it.

As a standalone issue, the fourth and final issue had maintained the fun, fury, action and gore of the previous three issues. As a series, Marvel Zombies 3 managed something that I thought would not have been possible when I heard of its inception – it managed to be as good as the Kirkman titles previously in the series. Great writing from Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker got the art spot on with a visceral, humourous style. Let’s hope that ‘4’ is an equal to those that have gone before it.

Marvel Zombies 3 – a review at the halfway point (2008)

After Robert Kirkman confirmed he would not be following up on his first 2 series of Marvel Zombies, I wondered, when the inevitable (because of the popularity of the franchise) Marvel Zombies 3 was announced, if the title could recover from the loss of a talent like Kirkman. Personally, I thought the fist episode of this new series was a scene setter and it took a little time to get used to. Maybe it was the change in emphasis, like the new characters and the action being based on ‘this’ Earth (and lets face it, there aren’t going to be any major superhero fatalities here, are there??), but issue number 1 didn’t quite gel. Maybe I was just being prejudiced, but I didn’t have high hopes for this third instalment of the franchise. However, after reading the second issue, I am firmly of the belief that this could turn out to be as good as the previous series.

The writer, Fred Van Lente has excelled himself here, giving lower division heroes a chance to shine. Both Machine Man and Jocasta take centre stage and are great in this second issue, establishing a sparky sort of camaraderie you would need in such dire circumstances. Machine Man is especially good, portrayed as a tragic hero, his bluster and adopted ‘human’ negativity eventually being over-ridden by his innate goodness.

Being part of the ‘interdimensional defence agency A.R.M.O.R’ these two heroes have been sent from ‘our world’, the world that houses the majority of the heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe, to a parallel world where the zombie infestation began and left utter devastation in its terrible wake. As our world is threatened, it is up to Machine Man and Jocasta to find a human on that other world and collect some blood from them in the hope that this will provide the basis of a cure to the virus of the undead. That is the plot, but in that you get plenty of gory action and gross humour (like swinging on intestines until they split, and guess what pops out??), and also the other more sombre and chilling moments that make this episode stand out. You’ll know what I mean when you get to the bit where the Inhumans (the undead Inhumans…) turn up for a Banquet…..

Having the Kingpin as the main Zombie makes sense, after all, who else would be able to seize power so efficiently in a power vacuum? His secret is also perfectly believable in this unreal and undead world.

Towards the end of the episode, when Machine Man sees such terrible things that his anger at the human race is dwarfed by his revulsion of the zombies, and he goes into all out action mode, thenthe whole thing really gets elevated to the category of ‘great comic book’. This is helped immensely by the artwork of Kev Walker who does a grand job of portraying the misery of the damned, the evil and debased undead and some stirring staging of action scenes. A great cliffhanger at the end as well.

If you haven’t indulged in Marvel Zombies 3 yet, don’t wait for the Trade, pick it up now and get into the sleeper hit of the autumn – it is shaping up to be that good.