The Tie-Ins That Bind: Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness by John Layman and Fabiano Neves

This week I’m doing two Marvel horror tie-ins. Honestly I could do several. There’s a novelization of Blade Trinity I have. I’ve got a couple of Doctor Strange novels. And there are comics tying to Man-Thing’s movie. But why dream small? Today and tomorrow I’m looking at two times Marvel didn’t just get into horror, it got into icons.

So let’s start with the ultimate horror hero. Nobody can touch Ash Williams. Swaggering, shotgun wielding, chainsaw handed Ashley J. “Ash” Williams is the man. He’s so awesome his rejected fight with Freddy and Jason made it to a kickass graphic novel. I don’t need to sell the Evil Dead trilogy to anyone. The character rules.

You know what ruled briefly too? Marvel Zombies. It was a fun, cool concept of the Marvel universe consumed by a zombie plague. It had a giant problem though. Since it could never actually reach the Marvel mainline universe in any more that a toe touch, it burnt itself out in alternate universes. Still, it got three good minis. The main mini, a sequel, and this prequel miniseries.

The premise is simple. Ash in Heaven knocks a zombified Sentry to Earth unleashing the plague. What follows is a mad dash by Ash to escape the universe while the plague sweeps the globe. In the process he meets every major Marvel character and annoys them.

This is, truth be told, my favorite Marvel zombie story. Like it’s not even close how good this is. Layman and Neves have so much fun with the black comedy element that was missing from most of it. We get things like zombie Runaways eating Old Lace as a background joke and zombie Howard the Duck killing (this universe’s) Ash. This book is funny as hell.

Of course it’s also funny as hell because the book follows the first rule of crossovers and exploits every possibility. This is the best possible story to get Ash in the Marvel universe since it puts it on his level. It’s such a logical story for him and Layman, a great at this kind of work, just plain crushes it. This is a very amped up Ash and it’s perfect.

Then there’s the thing this does right that the other MZ stories lacked. This has an actual arc. Things don’t start bad. They get bad. It’s a blast watching things fall apart like a good zombie apocalypse. And we’re watching them collapse with the king as our guide. That’s a hoot, especially under Neves’ stellar pencils.

So of course this story is out of print. Let me groan about that. It only ever got one trade and rights will keep it out of print. That said it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Search it out and get a perfect halloween blast.

We’re not done though. Tomorrow the public domain allows a crossover worth reading.

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