Black Panther (4th series) #30

Issue Date: 
September 2007
Story Title: 
Absolutely No Way to Win: Part 3 of 3

Reginald Hudlin (writer), Francis Portela (penciler), Val Staples (Colors), VC’s Cory Petit (Letters), Arthur Suydam (Cover), Daniel Ketchum (Assistant Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor), Joe Quesada (Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The zombie Skrulls with the powers of the Fantastic Four strike at the real Fantastic Four. The heroes do their best to destroy the monsters, knowing that they’re already dead. Quick thinking and quicker actions allow them to defeat the Skrull Thing and Lyja, but they have some troubles with Mr. Fantastic’s elastic body. The Skrull scientist manages to stop him with an energy blade, but not before the zombie bites the scientist’s arm. The Skrull Human Torch prepares for a sneak attack, but is incinerated by the cosmic powers of the other zombies.
The group of heroes turned monsters demand the transdimensional device from the FF, but the zombie Spider-Man suddenly has second thoughts about everything they’ve done. As the zombies bicker, the Fantastic Four transport away using King Solomon’s Frogs. They are transported just outside the crash site, so they have to escape on foot.
The zombies are then confronted by Thanos and Death, offering them eternal peace for a reward in all the death they have caused. The others state that they may be undead, but don’t want to die, however, Spider-Man throws himself at Thanos’s mercy. He quickly smells that it isn’t Thanos and Death, but rather two Skrulls. After devouring them, the Hulk complains that he wants to eat like Galactus did. The zombies consider this and use their cosmic power to devour the planet.
The Fantastic Four continue their escape as the planet begins to be torn asunder. They use the Frogs once more to make a quick exit, but the Frogs leave them stranded exactly where they were. Just then the bug from the Negative Zone pounces on them, and the zombies cause the planet to explode.
Sated, the zombies float through space.

Full Summary: 

The now zombie Skrull Fantastic Four look at glare down at the real deal hungrily. The Black Panther jumps into battle, explaining that they’re already dead, so strike to kill. The Human Torch begins to protest at T’Challa’s insistence that they hit the Invisible Woman first. Johnny says that she has the powers of his sister and looks just like someone he used to date.
With that, Lyja traps him in a force field cutting off his air.
She explains that she’ll let him go before he dies, live flesh tastes better. She’s struck down by one of the Black Panther’s energy blades, and Storm rushes air into the Human Torch. The Skrull Mr. Fantastic grabs Johnny before he has any chance to escape.
The Things slams a slab of concrete down on the Skrull Mr. Fantastic’s head, stopping him. The Skrull Human Torch tries to fry T’Challa, but has little luck as the Black Panther jumps and dodges his every attack. Storm blasts the zombie with a her winds extinguishing his flames and impaling him on a jagged rock.
The zombie Human Torch only gets angry, reigniting and threatening Storm. He begins to burn through the spike, but Storm sends rains down on him, once again extinguishing him. The Black Panther congratulates his wife and states that her rains also allow him to see Lyja’s invisible sneak attack. He flings another energy blade at her. Black Panther watches knowing that the dagger scrambles her thoughts and sees how quickly she recovers. He wonders how they can recover from severe brain trauma.
Suddenly the real Fantastic Four find the earth shaking beneath their feet. Outside the zombie Thing is moving the entire space ship, waiting for someone to attack them. He starts to smell something burning as the ship melts around him. The Human Torch superheated the ship covering the zombie. Storm quickly cooled him off using her winds, and froze the zombie Skrull in place.
Lyja, gathering her thoughts from T’Challa’s attack, begins to crawl away. The Black Panther grabs a piece of wreckage and swiftly decapitates her, hoping she’ll die, if possible. Her still living head falls to the ground cursing him. She lands near the Human Torch and opens her mouth ready to bite down, hoping to even the score. The Black Panther sees this and screams for Johnny to fly. Without thinking he does so and is spared the zombie’s bite. The head of Lyja tries to convince the Human Torch that it’s the girl he knew.
The Black Panther blasts the decapitated head with a Skrull energy gun. The blast obliterates Lyja’s head. T’Challa’s only happy the gun didn’t have safety locks. From behind him the Skrull Mr. Fantastic wraps around the Black Panther and pulls him toward his open maw.
The Thing slams two large pieces of wreckage against the zombie’s head, stating that he didn’t want to touch it. The zombie squeezes through the crack, still holding on to T’Challa. The Human Torch blasts the Mr. Fantastic impersonator, but that still doesn’t stop him. The Black Panther can only wonder how to dismember an elastic zombie.
Storm fries the dead monster, leaving him in a heap on the floor. The Human Torch wonders how she knew T’Challa was insulated. Storm smiles and says that they’ve played this game before.
Suddenly the Skrull scientist emerges with an energy blade and says that he must make a stand. As T’Challa tries to warn the scientist not to, the scientist shoves the blade through the zombies head. Unfortunately for him the Skrull Mr. Fantastic manages to bite down on his arm.
The Black Panther orders the Human Torch to burn them before the scientist turns. Johnny states that it’s disgusting, but he’s on it. The two are engulfed in flames. The Skrull Human Torch, with a gaping hole in his chest approaches, saying that they will pay for him no longer having a stomach. From nowhere a blast shoots him down and disintegrates the monster.
Luke Cage’s hand is still glowing with cosmic energy as he and the other zombies look hungrily at the Fantastic Four. Giant Man states that if they hand over the transdimensional device no one will get hurt. Johnny laughs and says that he really has no credibility for that statement. The zombie Spider-Man offers that they promise a quick and painless death instead of being eaten alive. The Hulk screams for him to be quiet, that he’s hungry. Spider-Man grows annoyed with how far they’ve fallen, stating that they used to be heroes, but now are the worst of them all.
Giant Man tries to reason that Reed Richards, the smartest of them all voluntarily turned zombie, so there has to be something to it. Iron Man agrees stating that they’ve wiped out menaces to the Earth: the Badoon, Shi’ar, and now the Skrulls. Spider-Man yells that they wiped out Earth first, though. Luke Cage grabs hold of the zombie Spider-Man and tells him to man up, they have to eat.
Wolverine and the Hulk agree with Cage and move in to attack. The Fantastic Four huddle together around King Solomon’s Frogs as the Thing says that it’s time to take a trip. They disappear, leaving the zombies angry at Spider-Man for his whining. The four reappear outside the crash, not far from the zombie’s backsides. T’Challa suggests they move quietly, while Storm shifts the winds to cover their scent. Giant Man seems happy enough to eat the remaining Skrulls, but Luke insists that they need the device. Iron Man mocks him, starting another fight between the two.
As the zombie Wolverine pokes around for live Skrulls, he’s approached by Thanos. Thanos ponders out loud if the zombies themselves are alive. As the group looks on surprised by his appearance, he introduces Death. He states that their appetites have attracted her attention. He states that his admiration for their nearly wiping out life outweighs his jealousy of their gift to her. The zombies agree that they hate cosmic stuff like this.
Thanos states that as a reward, Death is prepared to offer them her kiss, an eternal void. The zombie Wolverine is surprised saying that though they’re undead doesn’t mean they want to die. Giant Man says that the cosmic cube could undo all of this. Spider-Man says that his guilt is unbearable and he’s ready for the end. He throws himself at their feet. Wolverine wonders why the pair aren’t killing him. Spider-Man looks up and says that it smells like Skrull meat. Thanos and Death transform into two scared Skrulls. They offer to breed to give them more food, but the group of zombies descends upon them.

Outside the Fantastic Four continue to race as far away from the zombies as they can. Johnny begs to fly, but T’Challa tells him that Giant Man would be able to spot his flames and clearly the Human Torch needs some non-powers-based training. The Thing picks the Human Torch up and places him on his shoulder. The Things states that the Black Panther is pretty formidable. The Human Torch laughs and agrees, but says he can’t even keep up with Storm. She turns and tells that that this is no time for jokes. The pair of original members of the Fantastic Four laugh and agree that there’s always time for jokes.

The zombies finish off the Skrulls and wonder if they do need some kind of breeding program. Spider-Man wonders if they’ve totally lost touch with humanity. Iron Man states that he probably has, since they no have cosmic powers and have been devouring entire species. The Hulk rages and screams that he’s sick of talking and of aliens. He yells that he wants roughage. The zombie Wolverine looks at him and asks if he wants to eat a tree. The Hulk yells and states that he wants to eat like the man with the boomerang in his head. He says that if he could, he’d eat the whole thing.
The zombies realize that he’s talking about Galactus. They agree that the Hulk may be on to something since they’ve not explored that aspect of their abilities. Together, they begin to devour the planet.

Elsewhere, the Fantastic Four are thrown to the ground as the planet itself begins to shake. Storm realizes that the planet is under attack, the magnetic fields are shifting. She says that they’ll never find a ship off the planet in time, that there’s only one way. The Panther agrees the have to use the frogs. The frogs transport them, but the four quickly realize they were sent to the exact same spot. The planet continues to quake as the bug from the Negative Zone pounces down upon them from above.

Just then the planet explodes, leaving the sated zombies floating through space. Luke Cage states that that is good eating.

Characters Involved: 

Black Panther, Human Torch, Storm, Thing (All Fantastic Four)

Skrull Death

Skrull with Human Torch Powers

Skrull with Mr. Fantastic Powers

Skrull Scientist

Skrull Thanos

Skrull with Thing Powers

Zombie-verse Lyja with Invisible Woman Powers

Negative Zone Bug Warrior

Zombie Luke Cage

Zombie Giant Man

Zombie Hulk

Zombie Iron Man

Zombie Spider-Man

Zombie Wolverine


Story Notes: 

This issue is part of the Initiative crossover dealing with the fallout of Civil War.

The Black Panther and Storm joined the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #543 because Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman decided to take a leave of absence to work on their marriage. Also, in Civil War #7 the Wakandan Embassy, where T’Challa and Ororo had been staying, was destroyed.

The Zombie Heroes’ adventures are chronicled in the Marvel Zombies mini-series. The first appeared in the Ultimate Fantastic Four Series, then movies into their own mini-series. With their introduction in the main Marvel Universe, the distinction between the completely separate Marvel Universe (616) and the Ultimate Universe seems to be fading.

Thanos has long had a desire to please Death herself. He expressed this when he killed off most of the universe with the Infinity Gauntlet. Though the few remaining heroes managed to set the world right.

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