So you wanna survive the zombie apocalypse.
After Thanos’ destruction of Thor’s Asgardian refugee ship, Heimdall uses the last of his power to send Dr. Bruce Banner aka The Hulk back to Earth to warn the Avengers of the impending danger. However, landing in Doctor Strange’s empty Sanctum Santorum, Bruce discovers a ravaged world full of zombies infected by a quantumverse virus brought back by Dr. Hank Pym. Running for his life from the undead versions of Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Wong, Bruce is saved just in time by Peter Parker aka Spider-man, and Hope Van Dyne aka The Wasp.
Taking refuge among other Avenger survivors like Okoye, General of the Dora Milaje, Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier, Sharon Carter, Happy Hogan, and Kurt Goreshter, they discover a signal from another survivor camp located at Camp Lehigh, the base where Steve Rogers trained during World War 2. Fighting through waves of zombies led by the undead Clint Barton aka Hawkeye, Sam Wilson aka Falcon, and Steve Rogers aka Captain America, they arrive at Camp Lehigh and find Vision, who believes he’s discovered a cure to the quantum zombie plague with the Mind Stone after a successful test performed on the reanimated, dad-joke spewing head of Scott Lang aka Ant-Man. But after a thorough exploration of the camp, they discover Vision is keeping a dark secret; the undead Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch.
Since her undeath, Vision has been luring survivors to the camp to feed Wanda while he tried to find a cure, but her powers proved too strong. Hoping to make amends for his deception, Vision sacrifices himself and gives the Mind Stone to Peter and the few remaining survivors so they can travel to Wakanda and use their technology and the Stone to counteract the virus. Because of Wakanda’s shields, they hope to find the African nation free of the zombie plague. What greets them, however, is a zombie horde led by an undead Thanos.
“What if… Zombies?!” brings to the MCU one of my favorite things; zombies! As a fan of zombie narratives and action, I’d like to admit my own bias for this episode. I knew it was coming, and now that I’ve seen it, I know the wait was worth it. From the first scene of Bruce arriving in New York, this episode delivered a fun, gory, action packed adventure worthy of being a part of the MCU. While the story was full of heart breaking moments, like Happy’s death or Hope’s tragic sacrifice, the strength of this episode comes from Peter Parker, voiced by Hudson Thames, Kurt Goreshter, voiced by David Dasmalchian, and the overall comedy as they try to lead everyone through popular zombie movie cliches.
As unique as this episode was, the story felt rushed as it squeezed a number of heavy plot points in 30 minutes. The narrative would benefit from a longer runtime, or even better if it were a series unto itself. While I know many are burnt out over zombies and the multiple Walking Dead series, a zombie series with our favorite Avengers that is the same quality as this episode would be a fun and worthwhile addition to the MCU, even if it remained an animated series. This episode also misses out on an opportunity of making a Walking Dead reference between Peter and Okoye, voiced by Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead’s fan-favorite Michonne.
Despite “What If… Zombies?!” flaws, this episode was a fun and thrilling adventure that made me laugh, and almost made me cry. It’s evidence that the best stories are the ones that have fun.