In one of the many realities of the Marvel Comics multiverse, the many heroes of Earth all succumb to an extra-terrestrial virus that transforms them into undead cannibals. The virus - which some of the infected heroes have referred to as the Hunger Gospel - originated from another dimension that was also heavily populated by meta-humans, which the virus seemed to prefer. One former hero - the Sentry - left his home dimension and arrived on Earth-2149. To the planet's inhabitants, the new arrival fell from the sky in a flash of light, and when it landed, everything changed... and everyone died.
The undead Sentry arrived in New York and immediately attacked the Avengers who were on the scene, infecting them and turning them into horrific zombie-like creatures who hungered for living flesh. Unlike typical zombie types, the Marvel zombies are not reduced to shambling, mindless animals. They completely retain their intelligence and many of their powers, but they physically decay and their minds are twisted by the Hunger, compromising their powers of reason. They still retain all their memories but no longer regard friends and loved ones with the same familiarity they once did, seeing them only as meat to be devoured. The Hunger seems to choose beings with powers to be its hosts, whereas unpowered humans are usually eaten completely before infection can take hold.
After three days, Earth-2149's entire metahuman population had been infected and just about all the normal humans had been consumed. The zombified Reed Richards then began experimenting with dimensional travel as a means to spread the Hunger Gospel. His labours were successful and he opened a gateway to the Ultimate Marvel universe, and he and the rest of his Fantastic Four vanished into the portal. The portal device would later be destroyed by Magneto, who had survived the apocalypse up to that point. After denying the other zombies new meat, they took their aggression out on Magneto and ate him.
The super-zombies would later be visited by their universe's version of the Silver Surfer, who heralded the coming of Galactus. The zombies did not know or care who he was, they just attacked and devoured him. Those zombies who consumed the Silver Surfer inadvertantly gained a portion of the Power Cosmic, suddenly able to conjure beams of energy and gain flight (if they did not have it before). When Galactus arrived, they used their new power to attack him and succeeded in bringing him down. A great battle took place between all of the zombified heroes and villains over who should get to eat Galactus. The Avengers who had consumed the Silver Surfer had the advantage and slaughtered most of the other zombies, and after consuming Galactus, gained an even greater degree of the Power Cosmic. The new Zombie Galacti left Earth and began travelling across the universe, attacking inhabited planets and devouring their entire populations. They would continue in this manner until they had completely consumed all life in the universe.
Notable Marvel Zombies
- Colonel America - The Earth-2149 version of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. He was the first Avenger to be infected by the virus and led the zombies on their rampage across the world. When he fought Magneto, the Master of Magnetism used the Colonel's vibranium shield to slice open his head. This did not kill Rogers, but left him with an obvious vulnerability. During the fight over Galactus, Colonel America had his brains scooped out by the Red Skull.
- Giant-Man - Henry 'Hank' Pym retained his size-alteration powers after becoming infected and used it to consume large numbers of people at once. After consuming part of Galactus, he became de facto leader of the zombie Galacti as they stripped the universe of all life.
- Iron Man - Although not superhuman, Tony Stark was still one of the greatest minds on Earth and his zombified former friends knew they might need him when they eventually ran out of food. Stark still retained his full intellect after infection and continued wearing his Iron Man armour, though he no longer needed it after gaining Galactus's Power Cosmic.
- Spider-Man - Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, was infected whilst trying to save civilians at the start of the zombie outbreak. After taking a shoulder bite from Colonel America, he hastened home to his Aunt May and wife Mary-Jane. He then succumbed to the virus and ate them both. Spider-Man retained his wall-crawling powers and super reflexes after infection and his spider-sense was enhanced to help him recognise fresh sources of meat. His organic web-shooters were compromised by the virus however, and he resorted to using his old mechanical web-shooters for a time. Unlike the other zombies, Parker still retains a degree of humanity about him. He becomes increasingly emotional after eating and laments over his family that he killed.
- Wolverine - Not even Wolverine was safe from the Hunger Gospel. After being bitten, his healing factor was cancelled out by the virus and he could no longer regenerate his wounds. As his flesh and bones deteriorated, the adamantium alloy covering his skeleton became increasingly heavy and started falling out of him. He lost a whole arm during the fight over Galactus because the ligaments holding the bones together had rotted away.
- Wasp - Janet van Dyne, aka Wasp, retained all her powers after being infected. With her shrinking power, she was capable of "living" off of a single victim over a long period, not that she resorted to such. After discovering her husband Giant-Man hoarding the mutilated but alive Black Panther, she threatened to expose him to the other zombies and Hank bit her head off to stop her. Wasp's head was spat out and later discovered by Black Panther and the still-human Forge, who took her up to Magneto's former base, Asteroid M. Wasp was outfitted with a cybernetic body and learned to let go of the Hunger.
- The Hulk - Dr. Bruce Banner was infected whilst still in human form since it would be almost impossible for zombies to take a bite out of the Hulk. Gripped by hunger, Banner becomes the Hulk and retains all of his incredible strength, but not his healing factor (though his decay seems to be slower than that of the other zombies). After eating, Hulk reverts back to Banner.