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Marvel Zombies / Army of Darkness # 2

Issue Date: June 2007

Story Title: Marvel Team-Ups

Staff: John Layman (writer), Fabiano Neves (pencils), June Chung (colors), VC’s Rus Wooton (letters), Omar Otieku (production), Robert Kirkman (consultant), Arthur Suydam (cover, after Jim Lee), Nicole Boose & John Barber (consulting editors), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (pubslisher)

Brief Description:
Spider-Man manages to convince the infected Avengers to let him eat Ash himself. Afterward, he web-slings away with Ash to a roof, where they stop to have a talk. Spidey isn’t infected yet, but the wound he received earlier from Colonel America still hurts. They talk about what’s happening right now and, when he realizes Aunt May and Mary Jane may be in grave danger, Peter web-slings away to them and leaves Ash behind, alone. He is soon accompanied by the Punisher. After they discuss what’s happening as well, Castle promises to help Ash find his book to stop the Deadites after Ash helps him do another thing first. Ash agrees, and together they kill the Kingpin, the Owl and Hammerhead! The Punisher later wants to turn Ash into his sidekick while he fights the infected, but Ash disagrees. Not listening to what Ash says, the Punisher runs into action alone, but is soon overpowered by other infected heroes and villains who kill him. Ash runs believing he’s got the best shot at stopping this mess if he works alone. That is, until he lays his eyes on a beautiful female super-hero… Dazzler. Alison is still uninfected, but that is about to change as an infected Winter Soldier tries to rape her and turn her into an infected as well. Ash kills the Soldier and he explains to Dazzler what’s going on. At first she cries for the loss of her many friends, but later realizes to whom they can turn to help on finding the book: Dr. Strange. They arrive in front of Strange’s sanctum, and he appears to be at home. However, before they can go inside, Ash is grabbed by one of the infected, who eats his brain. And that infected is… Howard the Duck!

Full Synopsis:
An angry, infected Spider-Man sits on the infected Hawkeye’s back. He warns the other infected to take three steps back, or else he’ll eat the archer’s brains, joking that nobody wants to see Hawkeye dead. Black Widow warns Spidey not to do that. And not because they’re already dead and don’t breathe, Luke mentions. “We taste terrible,” Natasha jokes. Carol makes it clear Natasha knows what she’s talking about. Spider-Man warns the others to let Ash go… and to leave the loudmouth to him!

Luke doesn’t understand it. There’s a whole city out there for the taking. An entire world, even! “Exactly,” Spidey explains, so what’s one more guy? He’s the one who had to lug Ash all over the city and listen to his non-stop nonsense. He wants Ash to be left to him. Ash looks scared. Ms. Marvel doesn’t care and tells Spider-Man he can go eat Hawkeye. It’ll be one less mouth to feed for the rest of them. Plus, they don’t even know if destroying the brain stops… stops whatever it is that happened to them.

While everyone is talking about him, Ash takes the chance to try to escape. Unfortunately, Cage sees it and stops him. He picks up Ash, who shouts at Luke to let him go. He explains he told them already: he’s there to save them. He’s their last, best hope for putting a stop to this Deadite monster plague they’ve got going around. Luke grins Ash’s got it all wrong. He can’t stop them, and they don’t want saving.

Colonel America tells everyone to stop the bickering. They might need Clint later. And they’re still a team, even if their priorities have… changed. He tells Spidey to go for it. Spidey picks Ash up and web-slings away with him. “Bon appetite,” Colonel America wishes him.

A few minutes later, Spidey and Ash land on a rooftop where Spidey thinks they’ll be safe from the others, at least for a little while. He drops Ash and asks where were they… With an angry look on his face, Ash says he believes Spidey was making lunch plans… and hits Spidey in his face! As Spidey falls down, Ash puts on his chainsaw, ready to kill the web-slinger! Spider-Man tries to calm Ash down, promising that eating him is the last thing he wants to do. To prove it, Spidey takes off his mask… and proves that he’s still human!

Ash is surprised and asks how that’s possible. Peter thinks he dislocated his jaw when he took a header. And that sucker punch of Ash didn’t exactly help. He checks the wound on his shoulder, and mentions that his powers are probably working overtime to stave off the bite Colonel America gave him. Peter attaches his head back onto his shoulders, which grosses Ash to no end. If Ash wants gross, he should take a look below. They both have a look into the city, where lots of heroes and villains are eating humans. Among the crowd, the Black Cat turns Iron Fist into one of the infected by biting Fist into his neck. As they view this, neither Spidey nor Ash realize they’re being watched by someone lurking in the shadows behind them.

Ash remarks it looks like no one who sets foot on the streets is safe anymore. Peter realizes Ash is right and fears about the safety of Aunt May and Mary Jane. He pulls his mask back on and apologizes to Ash but he has to go home. Ash gets upset over this, but Peter ignores it and leaves. Ash shouts after Spidey – what happened to helping find him the Necronomicon and stopping this thing? What happened to “no more innocents die on my watch?”

The mysterious person steps out of the shadows, and states that this is New York City… nobody is innocent. The person prepares his gun, walks over to Ash and is revealed to be none other than… the Punisher! The Punisher asks Ash if he’s friends with Spider-Man. Ash jokes that’s a bit of an understatement. He asks the same to Castle, who just answers by saying, “Somethin’ like that.” He notices Ash’s chainsaw-for-an-hand and remarks he likes it. When he asks Ash what he’s doing up there, Ash explains he’s supposed to be saving the world. He tells the Punisher, in case he hasn’t noticed, it’s World War Apocalypse down there, with all those zombified super-creeps killing everybody in sight.

The Punisher leaves, mentioning he is going to get to that next. Punisher walks down some stairs and Ash follows. He reveals to Castle he has dealt with these sorts before… they’re Deadites. He needs to find the Sumerian Book of the Dead – the Necronomicon – and figure out how to reverse whatever it was that started this mess. And he could use some of the firepower the Punisher has as he lost his Boomstick to one of those Avenger guys. The Punisher introduces himself, and Ash does the same. Castle suggests, if Ash helps him first, he’ll help him find the book.

Ash can’t believe hearing that… it’s the end of the world! What could the Punisher be doing that’s more important? They stop in front of a big door and the Punisher jokes he’ll be doing some house cleaning. He warns Ash to cover his ears and tapes a bomb on the door, which a few seconds later explodes! As the dust clears, the Punisher meets up with… Hammerhead, the Kingpin and the Owl!

Hammerhead immediately points his gun towards the Punisher, but the Kingpin tells his associate to put it away. Kingpin admits he never thought he’d say this, but he is glad Castle is there. Punisher reveals he has been watching the Kingpin, and waiting. He knows Fisk has regular meetings with his underbosses, and he needed to find a time when the capes, the cops and Kingpin’s cronies were otherwise occupied. Kingpin looks out of his window and wants Castle to get over himself. He asks Castle if he’s seen what’s happening outside. The rules have changed now. They’re on the same team. The time for playing cops-and-robbers has passed. At the rate this thing is spreading, they’re fighting for the very survival of humanity. They’re in this together now. “Us versus them,” as Kingpin describes it. Human versus zombie.

Punisher doesn’t think so. As far as he’s concerned… the Kingpin never was human. He opens fire and kills Hammerhead, Kingpin and the Owl! Ash is a bit shocked and asks Castle if he’s supposed to be one of the good guys. “Exactly,” Punisher answers. He leaves, wanting to go find that book Ash mentioned…

Outside…
Some infected heroes are feasting on a dead body. Behind them, the Blob is literally running for his life, while lots of infected heroes and villains are chasing him, so they can eat him. The Punisher and Ash observe all this safely behind a window at Fisk Towers, and Kingpin now understands Ash was right. Ash explains it’s a mess out there. And it’s spreading… fast!

The Punisher throws a bag into Ash’s arm, believing he’s going to need more guns for this. He asks Ash to hold onto his bag. He’s got enough firepower to level half of Manhattan. When he gives the word, he wants Ash to toss him two fresh clips. And when he runs out of those, two more. And so on. Ash doesn’t like being given orders. He thinks Castle has the wrong idea about exactly who got cast as leading man and who’s playing second banana. The Punisher holds two guns ready, but Ash asks him to wait… he can’t do this!

Ash again looks outside and sees Thunderball getting surrounded by infected heroes and villains. Ash recognizes him from before. And… Thunderball’s not infected. As a tear comes to Thunderball’s eye, he begs the infected to please get away from him. The Punisher doesn’t care how Ash thinks about Thunderball, as he’s criminal scum. And he’s got it coming, too. The Punisher runs into action and kills some of the infected, but most of them are still standing. When he runs out of bullets, he calls out to Ash, but… he’s gone! The remaining infected quickly outnumber the Punisher… and eat him!

Ash has run outside with the Punisher’s bag and he thinks all of the costumed people are crazy. He passes the infected Cloak and Dagger and says this entire world is nuts. And he thinks this world was probably nuts before infectious Deadite cannibals showed up. He believes he had it right to begin with. Steer clear of the super-losers and get the job done himself. Ash Williams works best with Ash Williams. Last thing he needs is some deadweight wannabe hero dragging him down. He runs into an alley, where he notices something. “Then again,” Ash says with a huge smile, “Hell-o!”

He sees the infected Winter Soldier trying to rape Dazzler, who is still uninfected. Alison shouts at the Soldier to get off of her, but he refuses. She looks so sweet, so luscious and delectable. He just wants a little bite. He wants her to give him some sugar. Ash sneaks up on the Winder Soldier, points his gun to his head and jokes “Sorry, bunky, that’s my line” Ash pulls the trigger… and kills the Winter Soldier! Ash helps Dazzler up, who thanks him for the rescue. He promises he isn’t coming back from that one.

Alison introduces herself, and mentions people call her Dazzler. Ash jokes that “they” are right, as he is impressed by Alison’s beauty. Ash introduces himself, and checks out Dazzler’s body for “zombie bites.” He explains if she turns into one of those flesh-eating monstrosities five minutes from now, that won’t do neither of them good. He can’t be too careful. He has already seen Earth’s so-called “Mightiest Heroes” go down like a bunch of bowling pins, seen a spider drop like a fly, and then what the Punisher did. Dazzler cries for the loss of all her friends.

Ash tries to cheer her up. She thinks it’s really the end of the world. Ash thinks so, too. He remembers what the Necronomicon told him earlier “this world will die and an army of the dead will rise.” When Alison asks what Ash means by “this world,” Ash replies that Alison won’t believe what he’s about to say, as he wouldn’t believe it either if he hadn’t lived through it. All this mess, all the killing and the craziness… it’s all because of a book. A very evil book known as the Necronomicon. Him and the book go way back. It has sent him through time, into the past, the future, to different worlds… and every time he’s got the better of the infernal thing. And he’s certain this time won’t be any different.

He thinks Alison doesn’t believe her. She admits it’s all a little farfetched, but not any less believable than everything else that’s going on. And he did save her, too. So if all Ash needs is to get his hands on that dark magic book, she believes that will be easy enough to accomplish. Ash reminds Alison he has tangled with the Necronomicon a few times before, and it was never easy. “Greenwich Village,” Alison smiles. Ash doesn’t understand. Alison mentions they’re in the right neighborhood. She walks to a house on Bleecker Street and explains it’s Doctor Stephen Strange’s sanctum sanctorum.

Ash doesn’t know what that is. Alison looks to the window on the house’s roof, where the lights are on, and sees someone in a cape. She thinks that means Dr. Strange is home. Ash still doesn’t know who that is. Alison explains Stephen Strange is otherwise known as Dr. Strange. The guy knows more about magic and the occult than pretty much anybody on Earth. If he’s not in possession of that supernatural book Ash is looking for, he’ll at least know where to find it. And if that Necronomicon is behind this like Ash says, than that means they’re one step closer to stopping this zombie plague and saving the entire world.

On that moment, Ash gets grabbed from behind, and then… a “cronch” noise is heard. Alison looks behind her, and hears a very loud burp. She finds Ash lying on the ground, with his brain eaten by… an infected Howard the Duck! “Yummm,” Howard says about the brain, “tastes like chicken.”

Characters:
Ash J. Williams

Black Widow, Colonel America, Hawkeye, Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Wasp (all infected Avengers)

Black Cat, Cloak, Dagger, Daredevil, Elektra, Howard the Duck, Mockingbird, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, Winter Soldier (other infected heroes)

Bulldozer, Diamondback, Dr. Octopus, the Leader, Rhino, Wrecker (all infected villains) The Punisher (uninfected “hero”)

Hammerhead, Kingpin, the Owl, Thunderball (uninfected villains)

Dazzler (uninfected mutant)

Domino, Meltdown, Pyro, Toad (infected mutants)

Blob (uninfected mutant)

various people getting killed by the infected (all unnamed)

in Ash’s memory:
Necronomicon

Notes:
The cover is an homage to Uncanny X-Men #268.

Issue Summary written by: Homer Jay


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