Paranormal Pop Comics

It was another big week for paranormal comics fans out there; a ton of quality releases came out, including new single issues of Buffy, Army Of Darkness, Solomon Grundy (a Blackest Night tie-in ?!?) and an awesome new ongoing Vertigo title called Sweet Tooth, about human-animal hybrids set in a post-apocalyptic world. But forget about all that right now and let's get to the meat of the week ...

Marvel Zombies Return: Spider-Man
Marvel Comics
Writen by Fred Van Lente, art by Nick Dragotta

No it's not just a clever name. After two confusing mini-series dealing with Deadpool's zombified head, a couple of horny robots, the Midnight Sons, A.R.M.O.R. and the Hood's plan to use the zombie virus as a weapon, the real Marvel Zombies are back. Remember those remaining infected heroes infused with the power of Galactus forcefully teleported away to another dimension by Malcolm Cortez at the end of Robert Kirkman's Marvel Zombies 2? Well, I barely remember myself, so let's thank Fred Van Lente (Modok's 11, Action Philosophers) for getting us back on track.

In this issue, the first installment of a five-part weekly series, we follow the exploits of Zombie Spider-man. Our undead web-slinger gets bit with a case of déjà vu when he realizes he’s not only in a different dimension, but a different time as well. It’s a page ripped straight from his college yearbook(or more like Amazing Spider-man #68) when he seizes the opportunity to once again stop the Sinister Six from getting their dirty mitts on a mysterious tablet.

Now, with a second chance to prove he may still have a hero inside him (and not one that he ate), can Zombie Spidey save the day? Will he unlock the secrets of the tablet and prevent the plague? Or will he just eat everyone? There's only one way to find out ... buy this book!

Now let me be frank. I've always had a bit of an issue with the interior art for all of the previous Marvel Zombie titles. I stick with it because I know with writers like Robert Kirkman and Fred Van Lente, it would be good even if Helen Keller was drawing. Don't get me wrong: the art’s not that bad, but I expected more and Nick Dragotta finally delivers.

First off, it’s much brighter. He still uses that black splattered ink effect to make it look gritty, but not so much that it looks like he's covering up stuff he was too lazy to draw. The art is strong to the point that even I - a seasoned professional in observing gory images - felt a bit queasy while absorbing each putrid panel.

Now that's how a zombie comic should make you feel!

Did I mention that the MZ Returns is weekly? Oh yeah, I did! But did I mention that it’s also a platform for some of today's hottest zombie novelists to sink their teeth into the Marvel Universe? With Van Lente writing every other comic on the shelf lately, how could he possibly have the time to do a weekly? In comes his buddy, David Wellington (Monster Island), to save the day with next week’s Iron Man issue. Then Marvel hits the ground running with Jonathan Mayberry (Patient Zero) tackling Wolverine, and none other than Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) “hulking out” in the issue after that. Then Van Lente wraps up the whole shebang in the final Avengers issue.

Thumbs up to Marvel for reinvigorating a series that may have been on its last shambling leg (no offense, Spidey).

-matt desiderio, Forbidden Planet