Hailing from Earth-2149, the Avengers are tragically transformed into flesh-eating zombies, aptly known as the Marvel Zombies who utterly decimate their own world.
Like many of its counterparts throughout the multiverse, Earth-2149 is long the home of superhumans, dubbed “Marvels” early on by the public and press, such as Steve Rogers, AKA Colonel America, who serves a part term as president of the United States.
In yet another alternate reality (designation unrevealed), the heroic Robert Reynolds, AKA Sentry, becomes infected with an extraterrestrial virus that transforms him into a flesh-eating zombie. At some point, Sentry becomes aware of Earth-2149, but not before encountering dimension-jumping adventurer Ashley “Ash” J. Williams of Earth-818793 in a realm Williams believed to be Heaven. Annoyed by Williams, Sentry strikes him, sending Ash through a dimensional breach, where he lands on Earth-2149. Soon after, Sentry somehow comes into contact with 2149’s Magneto, who sought a way to thin out humanity in favor of mutants. Through unrevealed methods, Magneto helps bring Sentry to his world, and as Sentry punches through dimensional barriers, he lands in Manhattan. The Avengers, led by Colonel America, and Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, arrive on the scene almost immediately, though Spider-Man briefly departs with Ash, who unsuccessfully tries to warn them of the danger. The zombie Sentry attacks the unprepared Avengers and infects them with the virus he carried. Hungry for flesh, the Avengers attack everyone around them, killing the humans who couldn’t fight back and infecting the superhumans that could, Spider-Man among them.
Spider-Man, worried over the chaos that was spreading, leaves Ash to his own defenses and returns home, where he completes his transformation into a zombie, killing his wife Mary Jane and Aunt May in the process. Ash, believing the cause of the zombies was the Necronomicon, an evil book of Sumerian origin (as opposed to the Earth-616 Necronomicon, which was written in the 8th century by Abdul Alhazred) he had encountered throughout other realities, begins to search for the tome. Horrified by his role in bringing the virus to this world, Magneto leaves the safety of Asteroid M to rescue survivors.
The extradimensional/extraterrestrial virus that infects the “Marvel Zombies” causes an overall change in their physiology. Once infected, usually through a bite from a previously infected host, sentient beings begin to feel the effects within moments, experiencing stomach pain and vomiting massive amounts of blood. Once the transformation is complete (usually within approximately five minutes), the infected being feels a hunger for flesh; however, due to the dramatic physical changes, actual consumption is no longer required, as all bodily functions except the brain and mobility have ceased. A zombie builds up a level of acid within its nonfunctioning digestive tract that simply dissolves the meat it consumes.
Their hunger drives the zombies into frenzies, though after they sate it, they regain a good measure of their mental facilities. This hunger soon returns, so infected beings can seldom perform complex tasks for long periods before the hunger overtakes their minds again. Without feeding, the hunger eventually fades, though this can take anywhere from days to decades depending on the willpower of the infected.
Though infected super-powered beings retain most of their abilities, previous regenerative powers (e.g. Wolverine’s healing factor) are rendered inert. Because of their nature, the zombies can survive massive injury and function with large parts of their body missing. Even a zombie head detached from its body is still driven by its hunger. It appears one of the few ways to destroy a zombie is to destroy the head completely, or at least separate the entire brain from it. Since most bodily processes are no longer active, the skin of an infected being almost immediately begins to decay; the eyes cloud over, leaving them with the appearance of being without iris or pupil; and the sense of smell becomes heightened, allowing zombies to detect living beings within their vicinity.
Humans and humanoids are not the only beings susceptible to the virus. Certain wild animals, such as Ka-Zar’s pet sabretooth cat Zabu, have carried it, as have anthropomorphic beings such as Howard the Duck. A few non-organic beings have been infected with the virus as well, though it doesn’t appear to be contagious to all robots and robot-like beings.
A half-dozen surviving zombies (the Galacti) now possess the Power Cosmic, enabling them to travel through space unaided. They can use this energy to create powerful energy blasts and feed on planet matter and, should they go too long without feeding, can feed upon the Power Cosmic in replacement, though this diminishes the Power as it occurs.
The Family That Eats Together
The Avengers on Earth-2149 get infected by a virus that causes them to desire and seek flesh and become ravenous. Despite how their hunger forces them to feed, they work together once their planet is ravaged by this plague and try to find food in other dimensions.
While Avengers Wanda Maximoff, AKA Scarlet Witch, Pietro Maximoff, AKA Quicksilver, T’Challa, AKA Black Panther, and Henry Pym, AKA Giant-Man, initially escape their former allies now zombies, it’s soon revealed that Wanda was an infected Mystique who in turn infected Pietro. Using his super speed, he traveled around the world spreading the virus looking for food, while the others also eventually turned into zombies as well.
The Marvel Zombies’ foes include any survivor who works against their insatiable hunger. Magneto having brought the Sentry to this world regretted his role in the zombie-pocalypse and joined with his enemies the X-Men. They meet up with other surviving heroes including Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. but eventually no heroes are left and everyone is turned or killed, though some remaining heroes are unaccounted for.
When the world-eating Galactus and his herald Silver Surfer arrived to Earth-2149, the remaining zombies fed on the Surfer and retained his Power Cosmic, fought and killed competing zombie Super Villains, and then fed on Galactus, retaining his powers. The remaining zombies Iron Man, Robert Bruce Banner, AKA Hulk, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Giant-Man and Wolverine became known as the Galacti and traveled to other worlds fulfilling their hunger.
The Marvel Zombies are allies only to their hunger but will work together to find more worlds and people to consume.
The Living Dead
After their initial feeding, the Avengers returned to their mansion in hopes of finding a cure to their illness, but instead murdered their butler Edwin Jarvis and placed a call for all reserve Avengers to answer. When the reserves arrived, many were turned into zombies as well, but Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Black Panther, and Giant-Man escaped. Quicksilver’s reprieve ended swiftly as he was turned while rescuing what he thought was his sister, but was actually the infected shape-shifter Mystique, whose team Freedom Force had fallen to the virus. The chaos was already spreading throughout New York, and Quicksilver’s super speed caused it to spread globally within hours as he traveled from continent to continent in search of victims. Giant-Man had been infected by his ex-wife Janet Van Dyne, AKA the Wasp, during his escape and took Black Panther prisoner, hoping to use him as a long-term food source. Elsewhere, Magneto joined forces with his enemies the X-Men, and they soon met with other surviving heroes on a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, where Nick Fury had gathered them. By this point, the virus had become so widespread that it had reached the Savage Land.
Meanwhile, Ash rescued the uninfected Alison Blaire, AKA Dazzler, who led him to Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, where they hoped to find a copy of the Necronomicon. Along the way and joined by Scarlet Witch, Ash witnessed the death of his Earth-2149 counterpart, Ashley G. Williams, who was slaughtered by an infected Howard the Duck. In Latveria, one of the last places the zombified Marvels had yet to penetrate, Nick Fury pleaded with Victor von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom for aid, to no avail. Back on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards, possibly driven insane by witnessing the deaths of his children Franklin and Valeria at the hands of Jennifer Walters, AKA She-Hulk, began to believe the virus was the next step in human evolution. He then purposely infected his fellow teammates with the virus and allowed them to bite him so that he could experience the transformation firsthand. The Fantastic Four rampaged throughout the craft and targeted Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, who was trying to build a dimensional transporter to send survivors to an uninfected world. The FF took Stark down, infecting him in the process, but Fury escaped with the device and had Thor destroy it to keep the zombies from using it. Outraged, the FF ripped Fury apart and infected the other heroes.
Ash, Scarlet Witch, and Dazzler used a Quinjet to travel to Latveria, where they had learned Dr. Doom had a copy of the Necronomicon. While Latveria had finally fallen, Castle Doom remained intact. Doom explained the virus was extraterrestrial, not supernatural as Ash had believed, and the Necronomicon itself confirmed this. Ash discovered Amora the Enchantress being held prisoner by Doom, fell under her spell, and freed her. Enchantress infected Dazzler, and Doom was forced to incinerate her along with the Enchantress before she turned as well. At that point, a massive army of Marvel Zombies assaulted the castle, having learned it housed hundreds of surviving refugees Doom deemed fit to continue the human race. Ash bluffed the sentient Necronomicon into helping him; since it was written in blood and bound in human flesh, Ash convinced it the infected hordes would eat it too. The book used its powers to raise an enormous army of Deadites, the supernatural zombies it controlled, from the remains of the Marvel Zombies’ victims. While the Deadites outnumbered the Marvel Zombies 10-to-1, they were no match for their superhuman abilities and were quickly destroyed, though they dispatched many of the Marvel Zombies in the process.
Aware that he was defeated and infected in the process of the battle, Doom began herding the survivors, including Ash, through a dimensional teleporter before the zombies could get to them. Ash departed, though he eventually found himself on Earth-7085, a similar world inhabited by super heroes-turned werewolves. Doom destroyed the machine after the last of the survivors had entered, and then fell prey to the virus.
Having almost completely depleted their Earth of food in only three days, the Marvel Zombies returned to Manhattan and turned towards finding other Earths to spread the “Hunger Gospel.” Reed Richards made contact with his youthful counterpart on one such world, Earth- 1610, and, pretending to be benevolent, convinced him to cross over. Once there, the uninfected Reed found himself assaulted by the zombie FF and other heroes before he was rescued by Magneto, who had located only a handful of survivors that he kept hidden. The zombified FF traveled to Earth-1610, arriving in the Baxter Building, but they were quickly defeated and contained by the other three members of that world’s FF. The Earth-1610’s FF then traveled to the zombies’ world, where they rescued their Reed. Magneto sent them and three human survivors back to Earth-1610 before destroying the teleporter. As they had done with Nick Fury, the enraged zombies then tore Magneto apart for keeping them from escaping their world.
Shortly after, a group of zombies witnessed the first arrival on Earth of Norrin Rad, AKA Silver Surfer, who heralded the coming of his master, Galactus. Giant-Man returned to his secret lab, where he continued to feed piece by piece off a still living but horribly mutilated Black Panther. The Wasp followed Giant-Man there, but had her head bitten off by her ex-husband when she discovered his secret captive. When the Surfer returned, the infected heroes attacked him and eventually killed him when the Hulk bit off his head. As they fed on his body, they realized they were absorbing some of his Power Cosmic.
Meanwhile, Black Panther escaped his prison and encountered the uninfected Acolytes, who had come to Earth from Asteroid M in search of their leader, Magneto. Panther returned with the Acolytes to Asteroid M, taking along the still-sentient head of the Wasp to study.
Galactus arrived on Earth, as he had on the countless other worlds he had devoured, and was stunned to find the heroes attacking him not in defense of their planet, but in hunger. Though turned back at first, the zombies used an amplifier device to channel their Power Cosmic and attacked Galactus a second time. This injured Galactus, but before they could strike a killing blow, the zombies had to fight off a group of competing zombie super-villains. Most of the zombies, including Colonel America, were destroyed in the battle. With only six Marvel Zombies left in the aftermath (Iron Man, Hulk, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Giant-Man and Wolverine), they attacked and began ripping Galactus apart, absorbing his powers in the process.
Back on Earth-1610, the captured zombie FF, now calling themselves the Frightful Four, launched an escape attempt, but they found themselves trapped in the Baxter Building. At the same time, Johnny Storm, AKA Human Torch, had been mystically infected by that world’s Victor van Damme, AKA Doctor Doom, with the demonic Great Old One known as Zvilpogghua in an elaborate scheme to humiliate Reed Richards. To gain Doom’s help ridding the Torch of Zvilpogghua, Reed had to switch minds with his enemy, who planned to “cure” the Torch and defeat the Frightful Four in Reed’s body, proving he was Reed’s better. However, once Doom (in Reed’s body) mystically removed Zvilpogghua from the Torch’s body, the Great Old One then found a new host: Doom’s body, which housed Reed’s mind. With the Four unable to infect Doom’s metal body, Doom/Reed used the ancient magics of Zvilpogghua to destroy them, before forcing Doom to admit what he had done. Not wanting Reed to gain the glory of saving the world, Doom reversed the mind transfer and, back in his own body, entered a dimensional teleporter, taking Zvilpogghua with him. He arrived on Earth-2149 to find the six remaining Marvel Zombies feasting on the last of Galactus’ remains. The details of this confrontation remain unrevealed, but Doom has since returned to Earth-1610. After absorbing the powers of Galactus, the six Marvel Zombies took on appearances resembling his and found they had the power to leave Earth in search of more food. Enabled by the Power Cosmic, they departed Earth, believing it uninhabited.
After five years without detecting the zombies’ presence on Earth-2149 (the fates of Kingpin, Black Bolt and Dr. Strange—the only known surviving zombies of Machine Man’s assault—remain unrevealed), the Acolytes and Black Panther returned to the planet, accompanied by the Wasp, whose head was now fitted with a robotic body that kept her hunger in check. In that time, the Panther had been given cybernetic limbs to replace his missing ones.
The survivors were unaware that the zombies had become the new Galactus (AKA the Galacti), the scourge of the universe, venturing from world to world and decimating the populations of each.
At one point, the Galacti arrived on a world inhabited by Skrulls, only to find themselves up against not only Skrulls, but Earth-616’s Fantastic Four (Black Panther, Human Torch, Storm and The Thing), who had traveled there by accident while trying to return an insect-like creature to the Negative Zone. As the other zombies ravaged the area, Luke Cage realized the Earth-616 FF possessed devices (the Brass Frogs of King Solomon) that would allow them to travel back to that reality to feed. The FF, as well as a Skrull quartet possessing the powers of the original FF, attacked him, with the four Skrulls ultimately sacrificing themselves so that the other Skrulls and the FF could escape. While the Panther contacted Earth and found one of the few survivors was his own Earth-2149 counterpart, the zombified Cage alerted the other zombies to the presence of King Solomon’s Frogs. They pursued the FF, and found them in combat with the Skrull “FF” quartet, now zombies themselves. After the FF temporarily escaped, the Galacti realized that they had the power to feed on more than just other beings. They used the Power Cosmic to begin feeding off the planet itself. With seconds left, the FF teleported to another reality, leaving the Galacti to feast on their meal.
As the Galacti continued to ravage the universe, the survivors on Earth rebuilt civilization as best they could. Panther and Fabian Cortez vied for leadership of the remaining humans, with Panther winning out and renaming the now-Earthbound Asteroid M “New Wakanda.” Panther and Hendricks had a child, T’Channa, who was assassinated as a young man by Cortez’s scheming son, Malcolm, who also killed Forge’s daughter—T’Channa’s wife. The Acolyte Reynolds secretly recovered T’Channa’s body and after he also found the intact brain of Colonel America, began experiments to fuse the two. Malcolm sought to overthrow T’Challa eventually, and sabotaged the dimensional transporter Forge had recovered from the Baxter Building in order to do so. Over the decades with no way to feed her hunger, the Wasp eventually lost the hunger, becoming one of Panther’s most trusted aides.
In the meantime, the Galacti added to their ranks, turning Thanos, Gladiator, Firelord and Dark Phoenix to the hunger, and Iron Man’s hunger subsided long enough for him to create robotic limbs to replace those previously lost. Eventually, they realized they were nearing the point of having nothing left to eat in the universe. Remembering Reed Richards’ dimensional transporter, they opted to return to Earth, though not before Hulk destroyed Thanos in a hunger-induced rage. Along their way, they encountered and fed on Ego the Living Planet, though Spider- Man began to notice his hunger was fading as time passed. On Earth, the Black Panther’s grandson K’Shamba found the disembodied head of Hawkeye buried under wreckage, where it had remained sentient for decades. Hawkeye, like Wasp, no longer hungered, and was fitted with one of her old robotic bodies. Malcolm Cortez, seeing the time to strike, sent an assassin to kill T’Challa, but the Panther was only mortally wounded. Seeking to keep him “alive” any way possible, Wasp bit and infected him with the zombie virus. As the Panther and Wasp detained themselves within a cell until the hunger was purged, Malcolm took control of New Wakanda. When his plans to execute the zombies drew nearer, Forge and the Acolyte Reynolds freed them though their escape attempt was not only ended by a wary Malcolm, but the freshly arriving Galacti as well.
Initially, the Hulk attempted to slaughter the humans, but Giant-Man held him back, trying to reason with his fellow zombies that they needed to think of the future and turn New Wakanda into a breeding camp. Disgusted with this notion, Spider-Man turned on his fellow infected, with Cage siding with him in protecting the humans. Reynolds raised a force field around New Wakanda, and the Iron Man-led zombies departed to the Baxter Building to locate Richards’ machine. Not finding it there, they returned to New Wakanda and once again confronted the human- sympathetic zombies. During the melee, Reynolds released T’Channa, now with Colonel America’s brain, to help. The zombies eventually made their way into the village, but just as Giant-Man went to feed on their first victim, he realized the hunger was gone. The Hulk’s simple mind could not understand this and he continued to rampage, destroying Iron Man and Firelord. Reynolds, believing the Wasp—whom he had recently admitted to falling in love with—was dead, sacrificed himself to the Hulk. Fed, the Hulk reverted back to Banner, who successfully begged the other zombies to execute him before the Hulk could take over again.
With the remaining zombies (Spider-Man, Cage, Black Panther, Wasp, Wolverine, Giant-Man and Colonel America) complacent and seeking to help repair the damage they had caused, Malcolm saw his opportunity. Luring them to the dimensional transporter, he revealed his true intentions before turning on the device and teleporting the zombies out of the universe. Malcolm Cortez then apparently murdered Forge, his one remaining opponent. Where the zombies were transported to remains unrevealed.
However, a small group of Zombies had gone into hiding and, led by an infected Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin, began a process to supply themselves with food. Forming an alliance with the infected Inhumans, Fisk had his agent Miles Warren, AKA the Jackal, create clones of humans upon which to feast. After locating Doctor Strange, Fisk used the now-lobotomized sorcerer to cast spells to other dimensions. Locating Earth-616, Fisk sent zombies Morbius and Deadpool there. Morbius secretly infiltrated the Alternate Reality Monitoring and Operational Response (A.R.M.O.R.) organization, capturing and replacing his Earth-616 counterpart, Dr. Michael Morbius, AKA Morbius, the Living Vampire, while Deadpool lured the Fifty States Initiative team the Command to him in an attempt to start infecting 616’s superhumans. The Command was quickly dismantled, as Siege and Aquarian were infected and the Conquistador was torn apart. Siege’s cyborg functions, detecting the virus, forced him to commit suicide while Aquarian placed himself in hibernation, hoping to overcome the virus.
Unaware that “Morbius” was planning to infect all superhumans with the virus under the guise of a vaccine, A.R.M.O.R. director Charles Little Sky, AKA Portal, sent robotic heroes Machine Man and Jocasta to Earth-2149 to obtain human blood samples from that reality. They were successful in finding Vanessa Fisk, the Kingpin’s wife, who remained uninfected due to his love for her and his immense willpower. Though she opted to remain on the zombie-overrun world, she aided the two in their quest. Machine Man, furious with the cloning project and seeing it as something similar to how humans treated robots, lashed out at the zombies by himself, sending Jocasta away to complete their mission. When it was time for Portal to return for Jocasta and Machine Man, Jocasta accompanied him home, regrettably leaving Machine Man behind. Machine Man managed to destroy most of the remaining zombies before forcing the infected Lockjaw to teleport him back to Earth-616. Machine Man killed Lockjaw as well as the Morbius-infected Captain Mexica of Earth-1519, one of several alternate reality beings kept in containment in A.R.M.O.R.’s faculties. The zombie Morbius was staked and destroyed by the 616 Morbius, but not before an undetermined number of the infected managed to teleport out of the facility. A.R.M.O.R. authorized Morbius to put together a new Midnight Sons team to track them down.
The team included Jack Russell, AKA Werewolf by Night, Daimon Hellstorm, AKA Hellstorm, and the witch Jennifer Kale. The undead that escaped A.R.M.O.R.’s clutches were the voodoo zombie Simon Garth who carried the head of the Zombie Deadpool. Morbius vaccinated the new Midnight Sons from zombie-dom and caused the infected to explode if exposed to oxygen. The team tracked the zombies on the run to an island nation Taino, where the voodoo sorcerer Black Talon captured them. Talon desired to sell his captives and their hero-killing disease to Parker Robbins, AKA the Hood, the kingpin of Super Villains. But the Midnight Sons interrupted the sale, and Z-Pool and Garth escaped, but not before Talon infected the locals with the virus. Morbius tried to use his vaccine but the plague mutated into a strain that could kill and feed as a free-floating cloud, and Russell became infected. Russell attacked Kale, who protected herself by using her powers from lord of the Dark Dimension Dormammu. However, Dormammu subsumed Kale’s consciousness and desired to destroy the world with the zombie plague. Meanwhile, A.R.M.O.R. planned to send a nuclear strike to the island to contain the infection. As the team fought both Russell and Dormammu-Kale, Kale eventually freed herself with Daimon’s help. Morbius realized that Russell’s werewolf half wasn’t infected and so Kale used her powers to shoot pure moonlight at him, which transformed him. Kale informed Morbius that Dormammu’s sorcery had frozen the “virus cloud” in a holding pattern and Deadpool tapped into its collective consciousness. She suggested to transfer the “hive-mind” and the microorganisms it controls into another entity. Morbius convinced Black Talon to merge his voodoo with Kale’s sorcery. The hive mind sensed it and sent a zombie to attack but Ted Sallis, AKA Man-Thing, appeared and saved them from it by purging it with fire. They transferred the virus-mind into Simon Garth but the Z-Pool head escaped.
As for Earth-2149’s surviving zombies Spider-Man, Luke Cage, the Wasp, Wolverine, Giant-Man, and Black Panther—the last time they were seen was when Malcom sent them through a transporter. They ended up in an alternate universe known as Earth-Z. Zombie Spider-Man realized that he had landed in a time and place where Kingpin had not yet stolen the Lifeline Tablet, an artifact he could use to become human again. But on his way to get it, he ran into the Sinister Six, all of whom he killed and zombified, save Sandman. The new zombies out of revenge killed this Earth’s friends of Spider-Man while Sandman accidentally killed Earth-Z’s Spider-Man thinking him to be the flesh-eating wall-crawler.
With the world infected, Spider-Man set off to find a cure. Giant-Man also arrived to the same planet, except on the Blue Area of the Moon which orbited Earth-Z. There he infected the monstrous Hulk with the zombie plague. The Hulk in turn turned the Sentry into a felsh-eater, and together they decimate Earth-Z. The planet was all but annihilated and the Avengers of this reality slayed Earth-2149’s Luke Cage, Black Panther, and the Wasp, as Giant-Man worked on a teleporter so that they could devour more universes. The zombified Professor X leads the Avengers to a trap where they end up in a battle with zombie Spider-Man and the New Avengers. Giant-Man teletransports them to Uatu the Watcher’s lab so that there the Sentry could be used to power the transporter. Sandman ended up killing all the zombies except Sentry. Uatu then sent the Sentry through time and he arrived back on Earth-2149, closing the time loop and containing the virus on Earth-Z and 2149 since it cannot be destroyed.
Since Russell had been infected, Morbius sought a cure for his friend. He sent Machine Man and Howard the Duck to five different dimensions to hunt the zombies of the omniverse and retrieve samples. On their first stop, they were joined by the quickdrawin’ cowgirl Jacali Kane, and the three bonded over undead babies, medieval demons, and evil robot exes. They found the final sample on Earth-0000, an utterly normal alterniverse (our universe) and only a singular zombie man who was dressed as all kinds of heroes but frozen with rigor mortis. After taking the sample, they set him on fire.