"Marvel Zombies Halloween" #1 by Fred Van Lente and Alessandro Vitti is a one-shot that brings heart to the plight of a mother and her son left alone in the world of superheroes turned undead flesh eaters. While this story utilizes some of the Marvel players, it's really just the fond tale of a mother and son that brims with love for the eponymous holiday. In the end, not all characters are who they appear and we realise the core of this tale is tightly tied to the Marvel Universe.
The first half of this issue reads like nothing else the "Marvel Zombies" books have usually offered. While each miniseries was intent on bringing more gore and mythos to the undead superheroes, this issue builds a tale around a little boy. We spent time with him and his mother and we come to care for them before we know exactly who they are. This is an interesting move and a successful one as it makes this feel like something new instead of a rehash of what we've already seen numerous times.
Once the zombie action begins, and we get to see Darkhawk, Franklin Richards, and Squirrel Girl amongst other D-listers, the book seems to lose its heart and feel more obligatory in its showcasing of Marvel properties. The action is fun and thin but the conclusion is a little simple and lacks a severe bang an issue like this needs. You could see the overall final act play out well before the specifics hit the page.
Alessandro Vitti brings a gritty line to this issue, which makes the world feel old and very decayed. This tale takes place well after the razing of earth so it fits that Vitti's stark lines would penetrate the landscape and make everything feel worn. The colors from Jean-Francois Beaulieu are suitably muted and worn down to fit Vitti's lines. The world built here is one that passed on many years ago.
"Marvel Zombies Halloween" has that balance of heart and gore that most Halloween specials go for now. There is fun to be had and a smile still to remain at the end. Fred Van Lente seems to purposefully make this book a great treat to hand out to those who knock on your door on Halloween Night. If you dim the lights, full your boots with candy and get the fire crackling just right, this is a perfect bedtime read for parents and their kiddies.