Review: Marvel Zombies 5 #1

Published on April 11th, 2010

April 7th came around pretty fast, and I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say I almost choked in excitment when I realised that this was the exact week marking the release of the first issue of Marvel Zombies 5! I was pretty excited to pick up this comic, and out of all the comics I got this week, this was a fun one. But before I go ahead with my review, I’d probably advise you check out the interview I did a couple of weeks ago with writer of the series; Fred Van Lente, just to update yourself and perhaps get a better understanding of this review. But if you already did, then good on you and congratulations! 

This is the first issue of the latest installement for the Marvel Zombies, marking it the 5th series. After a first read through of this issue, it is obviously less relevant to the stories in Marvel Zombies: Return, which passed by most recently, as it is now obvious that that series was bringing an end to the original zombies from Robert Kirkman’s series’. Marvel Zombies 5, on the other hand, is continuation on Marvel Zombies 3, and 4.

Although, Marvel Zombies 5 is still somewhat reminiscent of Marvel Zombies: Return, in the sense that each issue of the series is set in a different era and location. Which I had found out from Fred when I interviewed him, it was very cool to finally read this week.

marvel_zombies_5_1So, first impressions of this first issue? Decent. Decent is perhaps the perfect way to describe this first issue in my opinion. It was a well written story, with great dialouge and it had that sweet atmosphere that only a Marvel Zombies series has! The general story in this issue is built around a character called Mr Kane (a local gunslinging hero, with the appearance of Electro, in the Wild West Town called Rango, in which he lives), and his daughter Jacali Kane. Mr Kane is an ageing alcoholic with super-hero powers of intense aim and speed, but he seems to have given up the gun a while ago and he now sits in a local tavern, drinking his days away. Jacali Kane loves her father very much, and admires the hero he once was, but appears to get frustrated with his choise to not live up to the legacy he made for himself. But when a zombie virus breaks loose, Mr Kane snaps back into reality, and is called upon to take on the zombies that have infested his town. Unfortunatly, things do not work out so well for Mr Kane, and he meets a grave end at the hands of some of the undead outlaws he put down in his glory days. Machine Man, and his ‘not so surprise’ sidekick (more on that later in the review) come in to save the day as it were, and collect a sample of the zombie virus to save his pal back home.

What is interesting here, as Fred Van Lente told me in the interview I did with him, is that in each issue of this series, we will be seeing different kinds of zombies like the different kinds we see in the movies. This issue features the slow, yet ‘sometimes slightly more intellegent than the rest’ zombies known as ‘Romeros‘. They are just like the zombies from the infamous zombie classics by George A. Romero, and it really shines through in this issue! You can obviously tell that these are Romeros! I really must give a huge congratulations to Fred and artist Kano for capturing the Romero’s in such a great way. I just hope they can keep it up with the zombies in the following issues (as next week, we’ll see Machine Man and gang going up against some ‘Boyles‘!).

This issue would have been a lot better if Machine Man had played a bigger role. As he was only in this issue for the duration of about 4 pages towards the end. I don’t mind that much to be honest, because this is only the first issue. But from what we were shown of Machine Man in this issue, Fred wasn’t lieing at all when he said that he was re-shaping Machine Man as having a revived liking for beer, so that made me laugh! But like I say, in hindsight, this is only the first issue, and I was being satisfied by other aspects of this comic as well, aspects such as finding out who the mysterious sidekick is.

Which begs the question, “Who is Machine Man’s sidekick?”. Well, to be quite honest, when I saw it revealed in this issue, I was shocked. Flat out shocked. I did not know whether I wanted to laugh hysterically, or if I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry somewhere. ‘Howard the Duck’ is the mysterious sidekick.  No bloody wonder Marvel were keeping that one close to the chest! Now, I’ll tell you straight off, I demand some explanation in future issues as to why on Earth Howard the Duck is Machine Man’s sidekick. This was quite bizarre, and I am still quite taken back by it. I hope he grows on me.

So all in all, I’d say this first issue leveled out at fairly decent. It was worth the wait. It was a humourous and well written story, with beautiful artwork by Kano. Yet I do hope it picks up the pace a bit, and get’s more action based, but need I say that now that Machine Man is in the frame, we’re guaranteed to see more blood, guts and amazing storytelling, which is what I love!

Rob Andrews