If the continued strong sales of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead and the breakout success of Kirkman’s Marvel Zombies limited series are any indications, comic book fans love the flesh-eating undead. So while no one should be surprised there will be a 2007 follow-up to the bestselling Marvel limited series, exactly who the zombified Marvel icons will be trying to devour this time around is both surprising yet perfectly logical at the same time… His name is Ashley J. Williams… and here comes Marvel Zombies Vs. The Army of Darkness, a five-issue crossover limited series! Read on for details.
Marvel Zombies Vs. The Army of Darkness is a five-issue crossover limited series (packaged by Dynamite, solicited by Marvel), co-published by Dynamite Entertainment/Marvel Comics and Marvel’s first multi-part inter-company crossover since 2003′s JLA/Avengers. Debuting in March, the smash-up of the Marvel Universe and the cult horror film franchise will be written by John Layman, with art by Fabiano Neves and June Chung, and covers by Marvel Zombies cover artist Arthur Suydam. Oh, and serving as a creative consultant on the project is the aforementioned foremost authority on the comic book undead – particularly Marvel’s – Robert Kirkman.
Spinning directly out of the closing pages of Dynamite’s December release Army of Darkness #13 (which will go on hiatus for the length of this in-continuity crossover), Marvel Zombies Vs. The Army of Darkness takes place before the Ultimate Fantastic Four introducing a zombified Marvel Universe – and takes place concurrently with Kirkman’s own upcoming prequel to his 2005 limited series.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Army of Darkness since I first bought it on VHS a long time ago and watched it every night before going to sleep during my senior year of high school,” Kirkman told Newsarama. “I think people are well aware of how much I love zombies… a love that also extends to the `Marvel’ variety. This is a very good story that John Layman has concocted and I’m anxious to see it all come together.
“I’m on hand to ensure that this story weaves in seamlessly with the Marvel Zombie’s prequel one-shot I’ve written [May's 48-page Marvel Zombies: Dead Days, penciled by Sean Phillips, covers by Suydam], ensuring that this will be a cool read alongside that. I’ve advised John on what characters he could use, ones he couldn’t, and where everyone is at this point in the time line. John has taken that ball and run with it …I expect it to be a slam-dunk.”
So with Kirkman’s hand helping guide the way, what does writer John Layman have planned..? A Marvel Universe-type story with the wildest of wild cards thrown in? Or something in the tone of the always over-the-top AoD with Marvel toys to chainsaw through?
“I have every intention of it being both,” said Layman.
“It is absolutely a Marvel Zombies story, and it is absolutely an Army of Darkness story. Fortunately, I think there is a lot of overlap, because they both contain a generous (even excessive) heaping of humor with horror, comedy with the grotesque. This is a story of a guy who is used to fighting the undead, who is used to being a hero, flung into a strange universe full of heroes …heroes who are not only all crazed flesh-eating zombies, but ones with hundreds of different crazy super-powers.
“How’s a guy with a chainsaw, a shotgun, and a smart mouth supposed to survive that?”
That said, Layman told us it’s also a typical AoD story in that it shows Ash facing “impossible odds, and up against horrific adversaries”…
“But for Marvel Zombies fans, it’s another look into the hilariously twisted world of man-eating zombie superheroes,” Layman explained, “shown from almost a Marvels-style man-on-the-street perspective as the infection spreads out of control. Only, in this case, the man-on-the-street happens to be Ashley J. Williams, vanquisher of the Necromonmicon’s Army of Darkness, who defeated evil in several different millennia in several different realities. Now he’s in the Marvel U. It’s him and his chainsaw vs. hundred of zombie superheroes…
And Ash doesn’t plan on taking any $#!+!”