What If… Zombies?! is grisly, gripping fun!

What If...? Zombies

It may not be the most pressing, or indeed grammatically structured question posed by Marvel’s animated AU series but WHAT IF… ZOMBIES?! might just be the most fun.

Returning from the Quantum Realm (as seen in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP), an infected Janet Van Dyne attacks Hank Pym and together they bring the virus back, unleashing a zombie outbreak on an unsuspecting world. Things go from bad to worse when the Avengers attempt to combat the undead horde only to fall victim to the virus themselves and, with super-powered zombies to contend with, the rest of the world soon follows. Also falling, but in a very different way, is Bruce Banner – riding Heimdall’s rainbow bridge straight through Doctor Strange’s roof.

I’m not a huge fan of the zombie genre (and naturally I’d never checked out any of the existing Marvel Zombie comics) so I wasn’t expecting much from this episode and while it may have less potential to “infect” the mainstream MCU than its predecessors, WHAT IF… ZOMBIES?! replaces paradigm-shifting revelation with action, horror and a neat line of black humour.

The deviation from the normal course of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR events is pretty sharp and plenty entertaining. Not only do we quickly get introduced to zombie Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Wong but we get a gloriously bad-ass reintroduction to The Wasp before we join up with the remaining heroes: Bucky Barnes, Okoye, Peter Parker, Happy Hogan, Sharon Carter, the aforementioned Bruce “unable to hulk out” Banner and, gloriously, Kurt (David Dastmalchian) – with some welcome assistance from the ever-loyal Cloak of Levitation.

As the story progresses, we get some fantastic fight scenes between some interesting pairings. There’s a truly superb Bucky versus Zombie Cap moment, too, that ends with a final quip that’s just… *chef’s kiss*. It’s one of the many highlights of a kinetic, fast-paced ride of an episode, taking inspiration from a variety of classic zombie movies (and a sound effect from Peter Parker’s favourite old movie THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) and giving them an MCU twist.

The artwork in this episode is noteworthy too, with the animation style working particularly well for the more gory and grisly moments in this bleakly bombastic adventure. Perhaps Groundskeeper Willie said it best: “Ach – Zombies! Pretty as a picture.”

score-9

9/10

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