8 Ways DCeased Is Nothing Like Marvel Zombies | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Although DCeased and Marvel Zombies might seem similar at first appearance, the two are very different in reality.
Marvel Zombies was Marvel’s way of capitalizing on the zombie craze of the 2000s. DC didn’t jump on that bandwagon as quickly as Marvel; while Blackest Night was technically a zombie story, it wasn’t a zombie dystopia story like Marvel’s was. DCeased was DC’s version of a zombie dystopia, challenging Marvel Zombies for superhero zombie story supremacy. Each one was a different look at a zombie apocalypse, taking advantage of what each publisher does best.
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DCeased seemingly took a lot of inspiration from one of Marvel’s most terrifying alternate worlds but there was also a lot about it that was different as well, setting it apart from the earlier stories.
Marvel Zombies had its share of tragedy but the whole thing was actually strangely light-hearted in a lot of ways. There were incongruent moments of humor through the various Marvel Zombies books that made the whole thing feel a little weird. A lot of it was Arthur Suydam’s parody covers but even the stories themselves had more jokes than one would imagine.
DCeased was pretty serious the whole way through, keeping up its more weighty horror story vibes much better than Marvel Zombies. It sold the stakes of the story better in a lot of ways.
Marvel Zombies built its entire universe by focusing on what would happen if the heroes got zombified. It was an interesting twist on the formula, as few zombie stories focused so much on the zombies. This is in stark contrast to DCeased. Heroes do get zombified in DCeased but they are no longer the focus of the story, beyond if they return to attack. Otherwise, the heroes are the heroes.
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This put each story on a different footing right away and made it work differently from Marvel Zombies. It gave DCeased a more traditional superhero story feel, which was very different from Marvel Zombies.
It’s kind of hard to say Marvel Zombies has much of a point other than seeing the Marvel Universe zombified. Readers follow the heroes of the Marvel Universe as they commit terrible atrocities to sate their hunger and it gives the story a very different feel. While later Marvel Zombies stories would introduce other story elements, for too long the whole thing was gratuitous violence and gore.
DCeased is all about the heroes trying to stop the infestation and save as much of humanity as possible and the sequels deal with them taking back the Earth. This gave the stories a focus that a lot of the Marvel Zombies stories lacked.
Marvel Zombies had such a strange tone and it wasn’t just because of the weird gallows humor. Most of the book’s page space was taken up by the zombified heroes, with a little bit given to the survivors. It was hard to know whether fans were supposed to be cheering on the zombie heroes or the few survivors or the villains or Galactus when he showed up.
DCeased outlined its stakes from the first issue on and was able to keep a consistent tone throughout because of that. This was a story of a horrific event and what the heroes of the Earth would go through to stop it, with every panel of every page putting that across.
One of the great things about DCeased is how much the DC Universe itself played into the story. The whole thing is started because of the Anti-Life Equation and spread accidentally by Cyborg. Black Canary gets a Green Lantern ring and Jon Kent plays a major role in the whole thing, playing into the legacy aspects of the DC Universe that are so important.
DCeased feels like a DC story in the DC Multiverse whereas Marvel Zombies feels like an excuse to see Spider-Man eat people. It doesn’t really feel like a Marvel story that uses the environs of the Marvel Universe to its advantage, so much as it feels like a story someone put Marvel characters in. It’s a fine difference but it’s a difference.
Marvel Zombies began after the Earth had already been suffering from the zombie infestation for a while. Later stories would go back to the beginning but for a while, readers didn’t know how that universe got zombified, just that it did. DCeased took a different direction with it, starting at the beginning and showing how the heroes dealt with the terrors and losses of the outbreak from the get-go.
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Seeing as how Robert Kirkman wrote the first couple Marvel Zombies and his opinion on showing the beginning of zombie apocalypses, it makes sense that it took time for readers to learn how it all began. By taking the opposite tack, DCeased was able to set itself apart from the beginning.
Marvel Zombies did a lot of things in a novel way when it came to its zombie story but its reveal of how the outbreak started, a virus from outer space carried by the Sentry, was quite pedestrian. DCeased went a different way, as the combination of the Anti-Life Equation and Cyborg’s Mother Box-based technology created the zombie virus and facilitated the infections.
This changed the story up and gave the heroes a way to later fight the virus. It was a nice twist on the zombie formula, as it wasn’t a simple virus that did it but something based in technology and the lore of the DC Universe.
The first Marvel Zombies was popular and so it begets sequels but once Robert Kirkman left Marvel, the sequels would quickly become diminishing returns. Marvel kept the franchise going much longer than they should have, with fans souring on them and the concept in general, although it has recently returned. DCeased has gone in a totally different direction and it’s worked much better.
People argue about which DCeased is better and with writer Tom Taylor still able to be along for the ride, fans look forward to if and when the story will continue. This is nothing like Marvel Zombies, a franchise that lost its steam ages ago but that Marvel kept going back to.
NEXT: Marvel Zombies & 9 Other Timelines Where Everything Went Wrong
David Harth has been reading comics for close to 30 years. He writes for several websites, makes killer pizza, goes to Disney World more than his budget allows, and has the cutest daughter in the world. He can prove it. Follow him on Twitter- https://www.twitter.com/harth_david.


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