Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness #3

Issue Date: 
July 2007
Story Title: 
Night of the Living Dead

John Layman (writer), Fabiano Neves (pencils), June Chung (colors), VC’s Rus Wooton (letters), Kate Levin (production), Robert Kirkman (consultant), Nicole Boose & John Barber (consulting editors), Arthur Suydam (cover, after Ross Andru), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Jon Rosenberg, Albert J. Park, Karol Mora at MGM

Brief Description: 

Ashley G. Williams – also known simply as “Ash” – led a boring life until the plague broke lose. He decided to give up his existence as a shop assistant, and chose to go for the life he always wanted for him… that of a super hero, despite the fact he doesn’t like those people. He kills a lot of infected super heroes, but is later shocked when he sees how his counterpart, Ash J. Williams, is killed by the infected Howard the Duck. Ash G. rescues Dazzler from Howard and kills the zombie with his chainsaw. They are later joined by the Scarlet Witch who welcomes them into Dr. Strange’s home, explaining he’s not there right now but instead with the resistance force at SHIELD. Once inside, the three are shocked to discover the infected Dr. Druid has managed to break in and killed Wong. Ash kills Druid and the three go to Strange’s library hoping to find the Necronomicon book there. Unfortunately it isn’t there, but Ash knows a thing or two about the dark arts. He touches some books and eventually learns from them the Necromicon is in fact in Latveria. Wanda has a Quinjet ready for take-off, but it’s outside and there, the infected Power Pack children are on a rampage. Luckily a diversion is created in the form of Nextwave, who are still unaffected and fight Power Pack. Ash, Dazzler and the Scarlet Witch fly to Latveria, where they find it under attack by a lot of zombies.

Full Summary: 

Ashley Williams always figured he was meant for greater things. Being a hero. Vanquishing the villains. Getting a girl like Dazzler. All in a day’s work. Instead, he was working the dead-end shift at the S-Mart housewares department. All day. Every day. And it was boring. Especially when elderly man come in and ask for “adult diapers” and can’t understand Ash the first time he explains directions. Besides, in this world, there were already enough heroes. Even Ash’s boss gets angry at him when he overdoes his break by five minutes, which Ash doesn’t even care about.

And none of these heroes, not even the sight of the Fantastic Four fighting off some monster, finds Ash particularly impressive. As far as he was concerned, these so-called super heroes were more trouble than they were worth. He even agrees with Jameson, who wants to lock up Spider-Man for good. A philosophy which was confirmed, in spades, that afternoon when the heroes started catching… and spreading… an infection which turned them into insatiable cannibal zombies.

When the events were spread across the news, Ash was only interested in selling a plasma TV to a customer. But, it was later that day Ash decided to step up, and become the hero he was always meant to be. He stole a shotgun and chainsaw from the store, and his boss yelled at him to bring it back, but Ash ignored it, telling the boss to “get bitten.” He saw a lot of things that were unspeakable terrible that day, for instance Hawkeye and She-Hulk who had just finished up eating a whole buss of people. There were other things that were unbelievable strange. He fought the infected Multiple Man with his chainsaw, but each time Ash stroke at Madrox, he just duplicated himself into another infected version of himself who wanted more food.

But amidst it all, all the spectacle, weirdness and abject horror, the strangest was not fighting and destroying heroes, such as Hulkling and cutting the robot body of Vision apart, but when Ashley G. Williams came face-to-face with Ashley J. Williams! He saw how Ash J. and Dazzler were only a few feet away from Dr. Strange’s sanctum sanctorum. What went through the head of Ash of this universe was almost indescribable. It was a perplexing sensation of déjà vu… mingled with the bittersweet regret of a lifetime of alternate choices… topped by the shocking realization that he was meeting the absolute personification of a destiny unfulfilled. But mostly, what went through that Ash’s head at that particular moment in time, was the blood-drenched bill of an anthropomorphized, extraterrestrial, infected, cannibal, zombie Howard the Duck eating the brain of Ash J. Williams!

Howard intends to eat Dazzler next, but she defends herself with her powers, blinding him. Though he’s not able to see, Howard can still smell Alison and continues to go after her. However, Ash intercepts and cuts Howard in half with his chainsaw! Alison is shocked to see Ash alive, and he begins bragging about what he just did. However, Howard is still alive and attacks Ash, who won’t listen to Alison’s warnings until it’s almost too late. Luckily for Ash, the Scarlet Witch shows up and casts a magic spell on Howard, which turns him into an ice cube. Now, Howard is both dead… and gone. To make sure, Ash kicks the ice cube, breaking it into a lot of tiny pieces.

Ash is impressed at the beauty of the Scarlet Witch and starts flirting with her, but she isn’t impressed. Dazzler asks how Ash can still be alive, as she thought Howard just killed him. Wanda checks the dead Ash’s driver’s license, which indicates he truly was Ash. She realizes what’s going on: the dead Ash came from another universe, meaning he was telling the truth about the Deadites. Alison asks what Wanda knows about this, as she heard on the news some of the Avengers were infected by this disease and were spreading it. Not “some” Avengers, Wanda cries, “all of them.”

She reveals Colonel America put out an S.O.S. on the Avengers comlink to assemble the entire roster, reserves like She-Hulk, Firestar, Hercules and Starfox included. They ended up infecting almost the entire roster, present and past. When Alison asks how she escaped, Wanda ashamedly admits that she ran away. She figured there was one slim chance she might escape, so she took it and used her magic powers to hold off the infected Avengers.

When Alison asks Wanda what she means by “one chance,. Wanda points to Ash. Ash’s claim that he knows of a book with a power to stop this thing. A slim chance is better than no chance. So she went after Ash, carefully, and convinced him to help out. But now she’s thinking it may be too late and that the end of the world is here. Ash hates to interrupt the Oprah moment, but he thinks the end will come sooner than they think if they don’t get moving on, because he sees the infected Thor flying in the air, looking for a midnight snack.

They run into Dr. Strange’s home, and Alison tells Wanda not to give up. She figured if anyone knows where this Necronomicon book is, it has to be Dr. Strange. Wanda reveals that Dr. Strange is aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier, and that most of the surviving heroes have gathered there as a defense plan, to start a resistance force against the infected. Ash kicks the door of the sanctum open, where they are shocked to discover the infected Dr. Druid has killed Wong!

Druid apologizes, as he didn’t mean for this to happen. He got bitten earlier today, fighting against the zombies. He tried to use his mystical powers to keep the infection at bay and came to Dr. Strange’s house hoping he could stop the infection, but he was gone. He didn’t want to hurt Wong, but the hunger was too painful. The more he eats, the hungrier he gets. And he also doesn’t want to eat Ash, Wanda and Alison but he has no more self-control left.

Ash tells Druid that if he can keep his hunger to himself for just a few minutes they’ll be the cavalry, as they know how to stop this virus. Druid is surprised to hear that, which Ash confirms. He mentions that they need to get to the library of this place first, so Druid points it’s upstairs. Ash thanks Druid, promising they’ll make it their top priority to turn him back to normal. He ask Druid if he can restrain himself from eating them a while longer. Druid thinks he can and asks Ash if he’s sure he can revert this. “No,” Ash smiles and he quickly kills Druid with his chainsaw. Ash apologizes but, since Druid is a Deadite, he won’t be coming back. Dead is dead, and Ash doesn’t care what universe Druid lives in.

After entering the library, Ash finds the section of a bookcase devoted to the dark arts, which contains some books like “The Infernus Diabolicon,” “Mortis Paratus” and “The Malagio Extermino.” Dazzler checks some books too but can’t find the Necronomicon book. Ash warns Alison to be careful when she touches those books, because some of them bite.

Ash suggests the ladies watch and learn. He touches one of the dark books and an evil face with large teeth and yellow eyes appears on it. Ash explains to the book that he needs some information on one of their own, a work called the Necronomicon. The book refuses to answer, so Ash throws it into the fire place, burning it. Ash touches another book, a red one, which also turns into a face. Ash threatens the book with his chainsaw and the book quickly agrees to tell Ash what he wants to know.

The book reveals that, since its creation, since it was translated from forbidden texts of an ancient Sumerian death cult, writ in blood on the flesh of the tortured and the damned, the Necronomicon has been sought after, fought over, even routinely killed for, by practitioners of the dark arts. Ambitious occults have pursued that malevolent tome for the mysteries it holds, its corrupted power over the souls of the departed. For decades, the whereabouts of the book were unknown but, recently, it resurfaced in the arcane collection of a diabolical sorcerer.

Ash doesn’t care about the book’s history, he just wants to know where it is. “Latveria,” the book answers. Ash smiles that was simple. Alison and Wanda sigh upon hearing the name of the country, realizing what could be in store for them. Wanda mentions she’s got a Quinjet nearby, ready for launch, and asks Alison if the coast is clear. Alison checks outside and, seeing kids, feels sorry for them. Ash thinks Alison can better get used to that, despite how horrible it may be. “No,” Alison corrects, “these kids are the danger.” Ash looks outside and sees the infected members of Power Pack attacking humans.

Wanda still wants to go outside but Ash thinks they’ll need a distraction first. Surprisingly, Ash gets his wish, as Power Pack is attacked by the uninfected members of… Nextwave! Ash wants to go for it, but Alison thinks they should perhaps help Nextwave first. He doesn’t think there’s a point to it because they need a world to save. Alison and Wanda agree and they depart in the Quinjet, to… Latveria!

Several long hours later…

The whole trip long, Ash keeps flirting with Wanda and Alison, despite their many times asking Ash to stop it. He only does when they arrive at Latveria. When he asks if it’s a nice place or not, Alison sighs that it’s not. However, Wanda thinks it is, but unfortunately the place is ruled by Dr. Doom and she explains to Ash what an evil, diabolical menace of a leader he is.

Ash doesn’t understand how that’s any different from the other heroes now, to which Wanda mentions that Doom isn’t infected. “Not yet, anyway,” Dazzler points out. But she thinks that will only be a matter of time. Wanda fears that, in that case, it means they are the ones who are doomed. Ash looks outside, and the three can see how all of Latveria’s citizens have been killed by the infected, and how Doom’s castle is under attack by the infected Goliath and many more former heroes…

Characters Involved: 

Ash J. Williams

Ash G. Williams

Dazzler, Scarlet Witch (uninfected mutants)

Multiple Man (infected mutant)

Dr. Druid, Howard the Duck, Hulkling, Goliath, Thor, (infected heroes)

Energizer, Lightspeed, Mass Master, Zero-G (infected Power Pack)

Aaron Stack, the Captain, Elsa Bloodstone, Monica Rambeau, Tabitha Smith (all uninfected Nextwave)

Wong (killed assistant to Dr. Strange)

various people getting eaten by the infected (all unnamed)

In Scarlet Witch’s flashback:

Scarlet Witch

Colonel America, Firestar, Hercules, Justice, Luke Cage, Moondragon, She-Hulk, Starfox (all Avengers)

Black Cat (other infected hero)

On TV:

Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

J. Jonah Jameson

underground monster

Story Notes: 

The cover is an homage to the one-shot Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man.

The image Ash G. Williams sees on his TV of the Fantastic Four is from the cover of Fantastic Four (1st series) #1.

The Scarlet Witch is probably not aware that Dr. Strange and the other heroes aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier have now also been infected, as revealed in the one-shot Marvel Zombies: Dead Days.

Though it isn’t seen through the dust that shows up while they fight Power Pack, a note reveals that the unaffected members of Nextwave are killed a few moments after Dazzler, Wanda and Ash depart to Latveria.

Issue Information: 
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