Of all the horror-tinged tales and alternate takes of the Marvel Universe, the bestselling and most enduring is Marvel Zombies. Originating more than a decade ago from an Ultimate Fantastic Four story by Mark Millar and Greg Land, the undead-infested vision received its own miniseries by The Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman and artist Sean Phillips. Since then, Marvel has launched a slew of miniseries with the Marvel Zombies moniker, often showing a horrifically voracious take on its iconic superheroes and villains. The most recent of these is Marvel Zombies: Resurrection, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Leonard Kirk, repositioning the horror-tinged tale for more modern audiences.
In this latest miniseries, heroes on Earth receive a distress signal broadcast from deep space by Captain Marvel. With the Avengers, X-Men and Fantastic Four assembled, they set off to discover the seemingly deceased husk of Galactus. Entering the corpse of the omnipotent being to discover what exactly occurred, the heroes find an escalating undead horror that threatens to consume them, and the entire Marvel Universe.
What Johnson does very well is capture the various voices present in this first issue very well. This is no small task, given the sheer amount of iconic Marvel heroes brought together by this new, ravenous threat, and reflecting their contemporary appearances and attitudes: Magneto, Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men look like they've come straight from Krakoa; Thor sports his new metal arm and eye patch that he has acquired since becoming the king of Asgard; and the Fantastic Four maintain the same look from their recent relaunch. Johnson and Kirk are very much depicting a version of the characters that lines up with the current appearances in the main Marvel Universe.
What the creative team is actively working against is more than a decade of expectation with the Marvel Zombies franchise. Not counting one-shot specials and the occasional crossover, this is around the eighth volume of Marvel Zombies. That's certainly no fault of Johnson and Kirk, but they are tasked with adding something new to the well-worn horror take on the characters. To that effect, Johnson paces the escalating scares and zombie action well, including cosmic characters that haven't normally been associated with the Marvel Zombies series. However, there's little else that readers familiar with the franchise haven't seen before.
Just as Johnson's handling of the extensive cast is laudable, so is Kirk in bringing the large roster of superheroes to life. Working with colorist Guru-eFX, the artwork begins like a standard, contemporary superhero book in the Marvel Universe. As the assembled heroes begin to investigate the ominous mystery in deep space, the visuals quickly shift to reflect the terror-infused twist. Kirk is especially good at creating sinister, undead versions of several cosmic Marvel characters that haven't really gotten the full Marvel Zombies treatment before as the superheroes suddenly finding themselves facing a threat way over their heads.
For fans of Marvel Zombies or readers that haven't really given the terrifying vision of the Marvel Universe a try yet, Marvel Zombies: Resurrection is a good read capturing a contemporary incarnation of its superheroes quickly overwhelmed by a new, undead assault. The contemporary shift and inclusion of cosmic characters are welcome additions to the story but there isn't much new for readers that may have grown tired from the concept or feel as though its been overdone. For the zombie-faithful, the opening issue is a cracking read, for others, consider just revisiting the original volume instead.