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"Like too many great catastrophes, this one sprang from a place of love and hope. Two weeks earlier, Dr. Hank Pym journeyed into the Quantum Realm, searching for his long-lost wife. But in this universe, Janet van Dyne contracted a quantum virus that corrupted her brain. So when she finally reunited with her husband after 30 long years... Oof. That happened."
The Watcher[src]

The Zombie Apocalypse was a zombie pandemic that ravaged the Earth in 2018 in an alternative universe. It originated when Hank Pym managed to rescue his wife Janet from the Quantum Realm. However, having contracted the Quantum Virus during her stay, Janet infected and zombified Hank, who returned to the Earth and infected Scott Lang, his apprentice, before the contagion began spreading across northwestern United States.

To contain the epidemic and save the country, the Avengers reassembled and arrived in San Francisco to defeat the zombies, but Hank and the zombies proceeded to infect them as well, leading the virus to rapidly spread outward to the rest of the world, infecting almost all of humanity within a matter of weeks. A small group of survivors, led by Hank's daughter Hope, survived and sought ways to save the world and restore the infected.

As the Infinity War happened concurrently in outer space, the survivors found their way to Camp Lehigh despite losing some of their members to the zombies, where they discovered that Vision, with the Mind Stone, had the power to restore zombies back into humans, as he did with Lang's head. However, he was attracting survivors to feed the zombified Wanda Maximoff. To atone for his actions, Vision gave the Mind Stone to the remaining survivors, who decided to go to Wakanda to create a cure, unaware that Wakanda had already fallen to the zombies, as well as a zombified Thanos who waited with his almost completed Infinity Gauntlet.

Background

Rescue of Janet van Dyne

Janet van Dyne, the "Patient Zero" of Quantum Virus

In May 2018, the scientist Hank Pym, through the use of his Pym Particles, finally succeeded in rescuing his long-lost wife Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm. However, during her prolonged stay in the realm, Janet had contracted the Quantum Virus, a virus which transformed any sentient being into zombies. When Hank removed Janet's helmet, Janet quickly bit him and they left the Quantum Realm for Earth. Back to Earth, Hank's and Janet's daughter Hope alongside Hank's apprentice Scott Lang approached Hank and Janet after they exited the Quantum Tunnel, but they charged against Scott and infected him with Hope barely avoiding infection due to shrinking with her shrinking suit.[1]

Infection of the Avengers

The Avengers arrive to help before being infected

Within 24 hours, the population of the entire Pacific Northwest of the United States had been zombified. Despite parting ways due to the Avengers Civil War, the Avengers reassembled to see what they could do to defeat the zombies and save the country. Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Black Panther arrived in San Francisco to fight against the living dead and determine a way to contain the outbreak. However, in a twist of cruel irony, their heroism sealed humanity's fate. As Captain America prepared to give the order to strike against the zombies, a shrunken Hank Pym bit him in the neck and enlarged himself back to devour him as Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Black Panther fruitlessly defended themselves from the zombies, who easily outnumbered them.[1]

Conflict

Victims and Survivors of the Contagion

Some of the survivors of the Quantum Virus

With the Avengers zombified, no one else stood a chance to stop the outbreak which continued to rapidly spread. In addition to the infected Avengers in San Francisco, the reserve members Falcon and Wanda Maximoff were likewise zombified eventually as well.

This turn of events forced the Masters of the Mystic Arts into action. However, Doctor Strange, Wong, and presumably other sorcerers also fell victim to the virus. With Sling Rings and the Sanctum's doorways, combined with the Avengers technology, the infected Avengers and sorcerers and were able to traverse the world with portals within mere moments, rapidly spreading the Quantum Virus with speed and efficiency worldwide. Within two weeks, the regional epidemic became a global pandemic, with the entire world overrun with zombies.

However, some heroes and normal humans managed to survive the plague. Such heroes who survived the outbreak were Hope van Dyne, the Winter Soldier, Okoye, Spider-Man and Sharon Carter. Among the normal humans who survived were Happy Hogan and Kurt Goreshter. Their headquarters consisted of six trains Spidey webbed up between two buildings in New York City. The Hulk also managed to survive due to being offworld when the outbreak started. In addition, Wakanda apparently managed to resist the virus for some time due to its shield defenses and advance technology. In case any more survivors who could join their resistance had survived, Parker made a homemade orientation video with some of the survivors, like Kurt Goreshter, Happy Hogan, Winter Soldier and Carter, to inform survivors about how to protect themselves from infection and neutralize zombies.

From the Avengers who arrived at San Francisco, only Black Panther survived, having been rescued by Vision, who, due to being an android, was logically unable to be infected. Indeed, thanks to his powers given to the Mind Stone, Vision could reverse the effects of the virus, curing a beheaded Scott Lang from his zombified state, though Scott was forced to reside within a head jar to survive. However, Vision was unable to reverse Wanda's zombification due to her strong magic. Unable to bring himself to terminate her, Vision elected to confine her at Camp Lehigh, New Jersey until he could develop a proper cure. While doing so, he lured many human survivors to the location in order to feed them to Wanda as a means to sate her hunger and keep her docile. Prior to being discovered, Vision also fed Wanda with one of Black Panther's legs, whom he had imprisoned.[1]

Bruce Banner's Arrival

Some Zombies "greeting" Bruce Banner

Weeks later, upon being launched back to Earth from the outer space, Bruce Banner crashed into the New York Sanctum, hoping to find Doctor Strange and warn him about Thanos and the impending Infinity War. However, Banner found no one at the Sanctum, so he put on some clothes and left the building, only to find a desolate New York City. Fearing that maybe he had arrived too late, Banner witnessed Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian, two members of Thanos' Black Order, arrive to announce Thanos' coming. Banner found himself in trouble, as he couldn't transform back into the Hulk.

As Maw gave the announcement, Iron Man knocked away Maw with a blast through an Inter-Dimensional Portal, appearing on scene accompanied by Doctor Strange and Wong. Banner's joy at seeing them again was short-lived when Iron Man, Strange and Wong viciously killed and devoured Maw and Obsidian, infecting them into zombies. Banner tried to escape from the zombies, with Strange's former Cloak of Levitation aiding him to retain the zombies and behead Wong, but when the zombified Maw used his powers to drag Banner towards him, a swarm of ants send by the Wasp devoured Maw, Iron Man, Obsidian and Strange, with Hope finishing Iron Man off by beheading him. She then instructed Banner to go with the rest of the survivors, with Spider-Man taking Banner to meet them.[1]

Ambush at the Grand Central Terminal

The heroes at the Grand Central Terminal before being ambushed

After Bruce Banner joined the survivors and was instructed on how the zombies acted, Okoye informed the group about receiving a signal from Camp Lehigh about the development a possible cure to the Quantum Virus. To go to New Jersey, the survivors went to the Grand Central Terminal to take a train, where Okoye had van Dyne, Banner, Parker and Goreshter go to the station's track seven and hot-wire a train, while she and the rest stayed behind to guard the perimeter. This proved to be a terrible mistake, as Hawkeye, Falcon and many zombified citizens ambushed them, claiming Happy Hogan in the process, whom Sharon Carter was forced to kill to escape with her life while Okoye killed Falcon to save the Winter Soldier.[1]

Zombies on the Train

Fight aboard the train between the Winter Soldier and Captain America

With the train operable, the remaining survivors left Grand Central Terminal and got underway towards Camp Lehigh. However, Captain America had been hiding on the train's roof, ambushing and infecting an unprotected Sharon Carter. Arriving too late to save Carter, the Winter Soldier fought his former friend in a vicious fight until Barnes gained the upper hand and bisected Rogers with his own shield, kicking him off the train. Meanwhile, the zombified Carter swallowed the shrunken Wasp as she arrived to provide help, who enlarged herself inside Carter to blow her up. In doing so, van Dyne's suit was compromised, leading her to be cut and infected.

Unfortunately, the train ran out of fuel as they approached Camp Lehigh and the group discovered that the camp's perimeter was surrounded by an enormous horde of zombies. Desiring to fix what she started with her final moments, Hope enlarged herself and brought Kurt Goreshter, Bruce Banner, Spider-Man, the Winter Soldier and Okoye safely into Camp Lehigh, dropping them on the other side of the fence before falling to allow the zombies to swarm her and cause a distraction.[1]

Discovering the Truth

The survivors facing Scarlet Witch

Once at Camp Lehigh, the survivors encountered Vision, who showed them how he had cured Scott Lang using the Mind Stone and placed his disinfected head in a jar, leading Bruce Banner to see the possibilities they had to use Stone to cure all zombies. However, when the Winter Soldier explored the base to locate transport, he discovered a zombified Wanda Maximoff and a one-legged Black Panther, who urged him not to anger her. The Winter Soldier took Black Panther with him and demanded Vision to confess the truth, leading Vision to explain to the rest what he had done, but defended himself that all his efforts were borne of logic and in the name of his love for Maximoff.

Hulk buying time for his friends

However, Bucky's rescue of T'Challa awakened Wanda from her sleep, having not eaten in days. As she engaged the group, she restrained and devoured Kurt Goreshter and Okoye, leading Vision to help the remaining survivors to escape by destroying the bunker where Wanda was to delay her and ordering the rest to go for a Quadjet stored in a hangar. Unable to abandon Wanda and seeking to atone for his actions, Vision tore out the Mind Stone from himself, killing himself in the process and allowing the survivors to take the Stone to Wakanda so they could develop a cure. As the survivors retrieve the Stone, Wanda emerged from the rumble and noticed Vision's body, leading the Winter Soldier to stay behind to deal with the now grieving Maximoff, who effortlessly threw him far away in her rage.

As the zombie horde began pouring into the base, Banner elected to also stay behind to buy time for Spider-Man, Lang, the Cloak of Levitation and Black Panther to escape. Banner then charged into the horde, where he successfully transformed into the Hulk. He proceeded to fight the remaining zombies before entering a brutal brawl against Maximoff, allowing his team to escape the base so they could avenge them. However, before they could fully escape, a now zombified enlarged Wasp tried to drag the Quadjet back towards the zombies, but the survivors fired the Quadjet's thrusters to escape her grasp.[1]

Aftermath

Trip to Wakanda

The last surviving humans

After escaping from the United States, the Quadjet with the survivors began making its way towards Wakanda to create a cure with the Mind Stone. During the trip, Spider-Man confided with Black Panther and Scott Lang about the losses they had endured that day, so T'Challa consoled him by telling Parker that in Wakandan culture, death isn't the end and that their fallen friends would remain with them as long they remembered them, and that they, as part of the Avengers, were still with him, making Parker feel better.

Zombified Thanos waiting for the Mind Stone

However, unknown to all of them, Wakanda had already been sieged by the zombies as they kept flying there, with a zombified Thanos only missing the Mind Stone for his Infinity Gauntlet, still wanting to accomplish his goals. Having watched all these events as part of his multiversal duties, The Watcher concluded that even in the darkest of times, humans will always give all to save their planet, even if doing so could bring an end to their universe.[1]

Trivia

  • Vision noted that the zombies have no interest in him, since he is a synthetic being made of false flesh and vibranium.
  • In the comics, the Hunger was a zombie virus which took over two alternate Earths similar to the main Marvel Universe, infecting almost all superheroes and villains in the world until devouring all living beings. Though many explanations were given to the Hunger's origins, it was ultimately revealed that its origin was a time loop created by an alternate version of The Watcher to contain the virus in those two universes and prevent it from expanding in the Multiverse.

References

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