Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1 (Marvel)

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CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 3.5/5 – Most Enjoyable When it’s at its Most Simple.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

When you get a book that’s titled Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies, you kind of expect it to be a fun and exciting read that puts you right between the action of two all-powerful and relentless forces. For about two quarters of this first issue it’s definitely that, it’s a showcase of Zombies and Ultrons behind Battleworld’s wall that grabbed my attention and lived up to the expectations I had for it. Unfortunately, the book takes a turn towards a more serious tone in the final act, slowing down the book’s momentum and ultimately my enjoyment of it.

Artist Steve Pugh provides the pencils for the opening act that’s strongest in both art and story. Tigra has been exiled behind the wall and is running for her life. As she’s close to death, she’s never felt more alive and you see it in her face and the way she moves. Pugh uses multiple angles and depth to show Tigra running through the forest while being hunted by a group of zombies that include Sabretooth, Boomerang, Mole Man and more. What’s so impressive with the art is that Pugh uses a style that’s so similar to original Marvel Zombies artist Sean Phillips.

Pugh’s pencils are dark with a heavy use of blacks that give the zombies the scary look they need, and allows the reds in Ultron’s eyes to cast an eerie glow. Ron Garney’s pencils are used for the flashback tale that shows in just a few pages how Ultron came to power. Garney uses a couple full page splashes, pencilling tons of characters in the midst of chaos and destruction. Then it’s back to Pugh’s pencils for the final act that takes place in 1872, and it’s here that writer James Robinson began to lose me.

Robinson’s abrupt switch towards the end feels almost like a different book entirely. If I hadn’t read the 1872 Secret Wars title, I’m not sure I would have known that was the time period/world I was reading about. There are no caption boxes to hint at the transition, and seeing Hank Pym in this time period after seeing him in the flashback sequence adds a layer of confusion to a book that read so well in the beginning because of it’s simplicity. The concept of this series is strong and I’ll be coming back for more because of it, but hopefully we go back to where this issue started and back to the fun of watching robots versus zombies.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
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