Marvel What If…? Episode 5 Review
Ahh, the zombie apocalypse. It’s a classic horror film scenario, or the premise behind a long-running show like The Walking Dead. For superhero comics that use the concept of the multiverse theory, though, it’s all but mandatory to have one universe filled with zombies. Case in point, in 2005, Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead wrote a mini-series titled Marvel Zombies. In this alternate universe, a zombie apocalypse occurs and threatens to kill everyone in that universe. So, with the MCU now tapping into its own Multiverse, it was inevitable that What If…? would cover this. It ends up being one of the goriest things the MCU’s shown us; and that includes the Netflix series!
What If…? Zombies!?!
In the MCU film Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hanky Pym traveled to the Quantum Realm to find his long-lost wife, Janet. However, in this timeline, Janet got infected by a quantum virus that turned her into a zombie. Hank got infected, and when he got back, he spread it to the entire west coast of the US. The Avengers reunite to stop it, but…you can guess what happens.
Fighting a zombie apocalypse is already a terrifying prospect, but Marvel cranks it up to 11. While the MCU zombies are mindless beings driven only to multiply, they retain all the skills and abilities they had in life. Dr. Strange and Wong can use magic; Tony Stark’s got his armor. And Wanda? You don’t want to face her!
Considering how the last two episodes of the show have shown us universes where things don’t end well, this episode ups the ante. However, it stops short of being as dark as the story with Dr. Strange, as that episode ended with the entire universe being destroyed. Additionally, the story with the alternate Strange hit harder as it felt far more tragic with almost no humor. In contrast, Marvel balances out the horror with their trademark humor. It works, but a little too well at times.
Spider-Man Is the Smartest Survivor of the Zombie Apocalypse
In world-ending events like this, usually it falls on the oldest and most experienced to help everyone survive. However, in this zombie apocalypse, it’s the youngest member of the surviving heroes who proves to be the smartest: Spider-Man.
MCU Spidey’s repeatedly proven to be very pop-culture savvy, and while some may find it annoying, that knowledge has proven invaluable on numerous occasions. In this case, watching enough zombie films taught him how best to survive the undead. Which only makes it more frustrating to see the adults ignore his advice, which leads to several of them dying.
Spider-Man’s really the MVP of this entire episode (along with the Cloak of Levitation), giving the team sound advice that even Okoye admits she should’ve listened to. Moreover, his optimism in such a bleak scenario makes him all the more endearing. There’s a reason why he’s Marvel’s greatest hero, and this is why.
I’d Bail On this World, Too, Watcher!
Unlike last week, which saw the Watcher indirectly interact with that universe, here he maintains his distance. And you know what? I don’t blame him. While he could end up helping the heroes (if he could), he probably knows that it’s best not to make things worse. If he got infected, it would spread to other universes, and then the Multiverse would be screwed!
While by the end of the episode, the survivors have a ray of hope for a potential cure, the Watcher makes it clear that their odds aren’t great. A threat just as big has just made its way to Earth, only to get infected. As a result, this whole universe looks to be screwed. If they can’t cure the virus, then it’s best to get out of that universe quick!
This episode doesn’t reach the emotional highs as last week’s, and gets hampered at times by it’s own need to balance out the bleakness with comedy. However, it also makes up for it by being fun to watch. Also, it gave us this:
I Give “What If…Zombies?!?” a 3.9/5
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