Avengers versus zombies in a manga style? Sign me up!
Zombies Assemble Vol. 2 is a continuation of Yusaku Komiyama’s manga series, adapted into English by Jim Zub. It’s a unique read for a number of reasons–not only do we get to see the Avengers interpreted in a different style than usual, we get to see that style applied to their film iterations. We also get to see Earth’s mightiest heroes take on a zombie outbreak engineered by a brand new villain. There’s a lot going on here, but is it good?
As I mentioned previously, Zombies Assemble features an Avengers team that is clearly based off of the film series. I’m not usually a very big fan of that particular line-up, but Komiyama and Zub make them cooler than I have ever seen them be before. Split-second morality debates between Captain America and Iron Man up the tension, and each member of the team gets some moments to shine. With that said, Iron Man is the standout character of the volume. His narrative arc about why he left the weapons manufacturing business is great and probes deeper than most average Avengers comics, much less ones rooted in adaptation of other media.
This volume includes a lot of elements that aren’t usually seen in Avengers stories. The choice of threat–a zombie hoard–is something Marvel doesn’t utilize very frequently except for in Marvel Zombies series. Seeing the heroes struggle with how to approach this kind of battle is great, as they know that they can’t just fire away at the zombies without killing innocent people. My main complaint with this volume story-wise is just that some members of the team get significantly less focus than others. They all have at least a few cool action moments, but Iron Man easily receives the best character arc. There are also one or two plot elements that I wish had gotten just a little more development.
With all that said, it’s not the writing that most catches my attention in Zombies Assemble; it’s the art. Seeing familiar characters in a new style is always cool, so the premise of an Avengers manga intrigued me immediately. Thankfully, Komiyama does not disappoint–his style is fantastic. The intricacy of detail throughout is impressive, as is the sense of movement in the action scenes. The volume’s latter half unexpectedly incorporates body horror, effectively amping up the terror and contributing to the sense that this is an Avengers story unlike any other.
Overall, Zombies Assemble Vol. 2 is great. Komiyama and Zub deliver a version of the Avengers that channels multiple influences into one badass final product. The artwork is fantastic, the threat is unique, and the story catches one off-guard with twists that are logical but still unexpected. I highly recommend this volume.