Comics : Ultimate Fantastic Four #23

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This story is part of an Arc: "Crossover"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2006.


Reed Richards, having been contacted by a parallel, older version of himself from a different dimension, was tricked into creating a doorway between the two dimensions. Walking through into the parallel universe, Reed finds himself in a post-apocalyptic version of New York city, which is now swarming with zombified versions of Marvel's Super Heroes, who want nothing more than to strip the flesh off of young Reed's body.

Running for his very survival Reed manages to get himself between a rock and a hard place, but just when it looks like they've finally gotten him exactly where they want him, Reed gets help from the most unlikely source, Magneto, the last being with powers left on Earth who has not become infected by the space-born virus.

Taking Reed back to his hideout, Reed and Magneto decide that they must destroy the doorway Reed created to get here. With it open there's no question where all of the zombies are heading, straight into Reed's universe, full of fresh, uninfected meat. What they don't know is that the infected Fantastic Four have already gone through.

In Detail...

Ultimate Fantastic Four #23
Nov 2005 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man and Spider-Woman from Zombie Universe Appear
Arc: Part 3 of "Crossover"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Mark Millar
Pencils:  Greg Land
Inker:  Matt Ryan
Staff Only

In Reed's lab in the Baxter Building, Sue, Johnny and Ben get the surprise of their lives as they come face-to-face with the zombie versions of the themselves along with the infected Reed. They do manage to get out of the lab trapping them still inside,cut off between themselves by five layers of airtight doors, but that only slows down Zombie-Reed who manages to stretch his body so thin that he can get through them. Only having to deal with the infected Reed, The Thing and the Human Torch keep him busy long enough for the Invisible Girl to collapse the left synapse in his brain, in effect, giving him brain damage.

The building's security force show up and Sue tells them they are not to touch any of the infected versions of themselves without wearing protective gear and not until they are possitive that they are completely incapacitated. Sue is smart enough to know an infection when she sees one. Johnny asks her if they should tell their father what has happened, but Sue decides to hold off on informing him about the zombies, not before they can get away with doing something Sue has in mind.

Back in the Zombie dimension, we see a stretched-out blue streak running through the city and Zombie-Wolverine seeming to pick up a scent of something or someone. Back in Magneto's and the rest of the survivor's hideout in the abandoned, underground train station, Magneto is arguing with one of the survivors trying to convince him that they must get to the Baxter Building to shut down Reed's teleporter. Magneto seems like more of a hero on this dimension saying that none of their lives matter compared with the lives of the billions of people in Reed's universe. The survivor, who I have forgotten his name, thinks it's stupid and that he's only concern is for his daughter's safety. Mindy, the daughter, argues that she'd rather be dead than stay here plus she's running out of insulin anyway.

Reed returns from scouting the area with good and bad news. It looks like the Zombies pretty much have the city covered with no way safely to the Baxter Building, but he did manage to find a pharmacy and bring back some insulin for Mandy. While everyone is still arguing Mindy comes up with a pretty decent idea. Why can't they all use the teleporter themselves and take refuge in the uninfected dimension. That pretty much clinches their plans for staying in the train station, that and the fact that Zombie-Thor has just busted in on them. Magneto hurls a train at them giving everyone enough time to escape out at the station.

Outside it appears that every single zombie has shown up ready for fresh food, but something happens to all of their eyes making them blind. Magneto asks Reed how he did that, but Sue, the uninfected Sue, has shown up along with the rest of the clean Fantastic Four. It was she who turned all the zombies' optic nerves invisible, causing their temporary blindness. Johnny uses his flames to create a pathway through the zombies but out of no where Zombie-Hulk comes jumping in saying how he'll peel the flesh from their bones. Ben steps up saying how he always wanted to know if he could take the Hulk and he does, knocking him out cold.

Reaching the Baxter Building and using Sue's force field, everyone stands on an invisible circle that Sue use's to left everyone up through the building as Johnny burns a hole straight up through each of the floors. At the teleporter Magneto stops and explains why he can;t go with them. He must stay behind to make sure that the machine is completely destroyed so that none of the zombies can follow them into Reed's world. As they make the jump, the entire building blows up in a fire ball that takes out most of the neighboring buildings, along with (hopefully) all of the zombies.

Back now in the safety of a mostly zombie-free universe (remember, the zombie versions of the Fantastic Four are still here but they should be locked up somewhere in the building), before they all have a chance to have a breath, Johnny and Sue's father introduces them to their estranged mother who they haven't seen in fifteen years.

In General...

Reed's now in the zombie dimension and has teamed up with the last surviving super-powered being, Magneto. Magneto and Reed decide that no matter what happens they must get back to the Baxter Building and destroy the teleporter that leads into Reed's dimension. If even one of the zombies made it through it could mean the end for billions of people. Too bad the Zombie versions of the Fantastic Four have already "beamed" over.

Mindy, one of the few survivors, is the only one who realizes that they could use the teleporter themselves to get out of this hell-hole and close it behind themselves. It seems a little strange that Reed, being the smartest man alive, didn't think of this first but maybe it was just that he was still dealing with the situation he was just recently thrown into.

The one problem I had with this issue was how easy the zombies were dealt with throughout the story. It appeared like they don't really pose any kind of threat because of how easily they could be defeated. Back in the Ultimate dimension, Sue, Johnny and the Thing easily deal with all four of the Zombie versions of the Fantastic Four, who are both older and have more experience with their powers. And then back on Zombie-world, it's hard to believe that Magneto and the Fantastic Four can deal with and get away from the ENTIRE roster of Marvel super heroes.

Yes, one could argue that because of the infection that they are all contaminated with has somehow slowed down they're thinking but it appears that the virus hasn't inhibited their powers at all. And yes it's hard to fight when you're body is decaying but still, the sheer number of them against only five clean heroes, I would think that the zombies would put up more of a fight.

It did seem a bit too self-sacrificing of Magneto to volunteer to stay behind as everyone else used the teleporter to get to Reed's dimension, so that he could destroy the device and keep the zombies back long enough for everyone to make it through. I don't see why they couldn't use the portal and then merely destroy it on the other side so that nothing can follow them through but oh well. What do I know?

Overall Rating...

I love the idea of the Marvel zombies, even though I was at first a little apprehensive about the whole thing, which is why the book has a high rating. The only thing keeping it less than a perfect grade was how easily the zombies were dealt with. I'm sorry but if you take the entire Marvel gallery of super heroes and then turn them into zombies, while letting them keep their powers, it's going to take more than the Fantastic Four and Magneto to be able to get away easily from them. I mean, in one panel we see Nightcrawler teleporting onto the Giant Man's shoulder, but then we don't see him in the rest of the issue. He could teleport right next to any of the survivors and then teleport them wherever he wants them.

One could argue that he was temporarily blinded by Sue turning all of their Optical nerves invisible but then what about Daredevil? He's blind already so he should have still been a threat. This kind of argumentation could just go on and on.

But, I still really loved seeing all of my favorite Super Heroes turn into flesh eating members of the walking dead so it keeps its high rating.


Spider-Man only appears once in the very first page that has the "Previously in Ultimate Fantastic Four" section but Spider-Woman appears twice in the actual story.