I’m not much of a zombie fan. In fact, the only zombie movies I’ve ever rewatched are Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, and that’s because they’re both also comedies. So it should come to no surprise that I haven’t read the Marvel Zombies books and I don’t plan to. Ultron on the other hand is awesome. When they first announced this Secret Wars tie-in, I put it on my maybe list. I only picked up three other comics this week, so I decided to give this a chance. Was it worth it? There will be spoilers in this review, but I feel it’s necessary to properly talk about this comic.
The comic opens with Tigra, banished from an unspecified domain, running around in the deadlands and evading a large group of superpowered zombies. Her narration states that although she’s probably going to die, she’s never felt more alive. It’s a fun scene with great dialogue from the zombies and some good action. And then of course the Ultrons attack. The comic then moves to explore the background in this Age of Ultron realm, and then introduces a Hank Pym from a western territory. He’s also being banished beyond the SHIELD wall and of course, he chooses to be dropped off in Ultron’s territory called Perfection.
All of these scenes work by themselves and James Robinson’s writing is fine. The problem is when they’re thrown together, the comic feels a bit unfocused. The opening scene is fun and amusing. The Ultron backstory is decent, but maybe takes too much time with two 2-page spreads in a row and one paragraph’s worth of text between them. The Hank Pym scene feels more dramatic than anything, and it’s clearly just a way to introduce this version of Hank Pym. He runs across a group of zombies in the Ultron territory, but before there’s enough time to have a good chase scene, a group of other superheroes show up and blast the zombies into oblivion. All of these feel like they deserve a full comic, or at least shorten down the Ultron scene to give Hank’s adventure more time.
The art by Steve Pugh is mostly good. Tigra’s look of excitement fits her feral nature perfectly. The deadlands are a good mix of overgrown plant life and what remains of the buildings in the area. The action looks good, especially in the 2-page spreads mentioned earlier. The best 2-page spread is probably the second, where the Ultrons are tearing apart the superheroes in their territory. However, for someone about to be sent beyond the wall, Hank Pym looks kind of bored. Even when the other superheroes show up, he doesn’t look all that shocked or relieved. I believe Mystery Science Theatre 3000 calls his expression “dull surprise”.
This feels like it could have been a great comic, but the shifting mood and the lack of focus holds it back. Depending on how many other comics release that week I might pick up the second issue. If you’re really interested in this story this is at least worth a read, but for those on the fence, I wouldn’t recommend this. Overall it’s alright, but nothing special.