Ah, Van Lente; you had me at "Space Hippie!" No wonder Cronin gave you a day.
Then there was Morbius. I kind of forgot he existed, so that was pretty cool. "Holy crap! It's Morbius! He's a character I have heard of before!" So that was cool. And it was nice that the Steve Gerber characters that showed up weren't slaughtered. Well, the ones I remembered. Siege wasn't one of his, was he?
Then Machine Man showed up. Having skipped his guest starring gig in Ms. Marvel (due to all of the Ms. Marvel in that comic), I'm not sure if his new status quo is using the template Ellis set up for him and putting him in less absurd situations, but I think it worked here. His crush on Jocasta? Genius! That and, as unnecessary as it is, I like this new super secret espionage organization they created, apparently run by the Native American Darkhawk I did not know existed. That was neat!
So, I enjoyed this a lot, even if the fact that the cover was homaging Army of Darkness, which the Marzoms crossed over with, is kind of masturbatory on a scale that makes me fear that it might be a portent of the apocalypse. I feel that a lot these days, though.
Kev Walker's art is nice. He's no Sean Phillips. That's not a criticism, he just isn't Sean Phillips. His art is completely different; it's less gritty (for lack of a better, less overused word) and much lighter. Hell, even that's literal; Jean Francois-Beaulieu employs a much lighter palette than what I've seen when of the original series.
That fits the tone here, which seems more in line with what I've read from Van Lente at Marvel than what I've skimmed of the original minis. This reads more like a Marvel superhero comic with zombies as antagonists than a horror story with Marvel Superheroes as zombie protagonists; which is more in my wheelhouse, admittedly.
The tonal change makes me wonder how well this mini will do in comparison to the first two. I still am not entirely sure why those comics were so popular, so it should be interesting to see what the commercial and even critical reaction is.
So, yeah, for someone who was kind of annoyed by their popularity to a degree that he wrote a post on a blog about it, I was quite fond of this opening salvo in their continued existence. I think one of my problems with the original series is that I don't think I want to read a story featuring my favorite superheroes as flesh eating monsters where they are the protagonists, even if it is a very dark comedy. The prospect of Machine Man fighting them in the name of the love of a good fembot/android/whatever Jocasta is? That's something I can get in on. Well, that and *GREAT HONKING SPOILERS!!!!!!!!*: Morbius is a zombie vampire! How can you top that?