What If…? unpacks a ghoulishly delicious zombie outing

In an alternate reality, Bruce Banner arrives on Earth to warn the Avengers about the coming of Thanos, only the planet has already been decimated by a zombie outbreak and most of the Avengers have joined the ranks of the undead. Now, Banner and a few other surviving heroes must make their way across the state in search of a cure.

Where the T’Challa as Star-Lord episode was touching and the Doctor Strange episode was heart-breaking, Marvel Zombies is a strange mix of horror and comedy. I wish I could say that the mix works all the time, but there are numerous moments when one half of the formula works directly against the others. Truthfully, this is another episode of “What If…?” that could have benefitted from being a two-parter instead of cramming more story into its half hour runtime than it could handle.

For one, it seems like the heroes never get a chance to process any of the deaths around them, especially when their numbers are slowly whittled away. One of them gets killed and a character says, “No, [redacted character’s name] and that’s mostly it. Other times, there is no processing and it just segues into a joke which seems strangely inappropriate.

That being said, this episode does manage some genuine horror. I don’t want to give much of it away, but there are times when members of The Avengers are encountered in zombie form that are truly frightening and sad and, when it works, it works.

This Marvel Zombies episode could have worked a lot better if it had committed to either being tongue in cheek comedy, or straight horror. Either genre would have worked, but both at the same time not so much.

Still, it has horror, some of the comedy actually does work, it has moments of strange, terrible beauty, and, all in all, it’s a lot of fun. It was stronger than the Captain Carter episode, but can’t hold a candle to the other installments.

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