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Recapping and Rethinking the Call of Duty Zombies Comics


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Today I had this random thought: Why does Victis need to get the Elemental Shard in the comics again? I've asked several other questions like it for a while now like: Why did Sophia appear in what seemed to be a Broken Arrow base? How exactly did Victis get into Zero Base? What was Primis Richtofen's plan? 


Because the comics are difficult to find online, the story contained within them seems to often get overlooked with the abbreviated version of events in the comics sufficing. But with Victis' story wrapped up (seemingly,) I'd like to revisit the comics and do a basic recap of events, while also discussing what we overlooked that was significant.


Issue #1

The story begins on an unknown street as Victis arrives through a portal, one created by Primis Richtofen, who is now giving orders to Stuhlinger nearly a month after Maxis' hollow victory in Buried.


Here Misty and Marlton have established a temporary encampment, originally clear of undead, but more have just arrived, led by a zombie in German military fatigues, who we later learn is Ultimis Richtofen. Russman and Stuhlinger have split off from the group, searching for food and supplies, only to be ambushed by undead. Their coordinated attack forces Victis back together with nowhere to run. Stuhlinger informs the group that their only escape is through collecting items for Richtofen, items which will require all of them to be together to acquire. This issue ends with Victis walking through another portal together, as undead Richtofen grins an evil grin.

Issue #2

Victis arrives in an abandoned Broken Arrow facility, and the date is June 24th, 1996. Richtofen is unable to directly communicate as Stuhlinger posits that he might be "out of range." Because of this, the portal they arrived through remains open, allowing undead Richtofen and his army to pass through. Victis are pushed into the base, as Russman's spotty memory tells him there is something evil about this place. Stuhlinger says that they need to find "the element." Russman remembers an experiment with the "Elemental Shard," in which it was used to change animal subjects into indestructible, violent killing machines in order to gain an edge in the Cold War.


As Marlton returns power to the facility, the Bios are reanimated and begin to attack both Victis and the undead. Victis heads toward the Elemental Shard, led by Russman as he has flashbacks to the day in 1986 in which the Bios overran the facility. He tells them that the Bios are brought back to life as long as the Elemental Shard is active.


With the Shard in hand, Richtofen reaches back out to Stuhlinger and confirms that the Shard is what they needed.

Issue #3

As the undead encroach on Victis' position, they learn that the zombie in German uniform is being protected by the others. The portal finally arrives, and they pass through into Zero Base. Again, the portal is left open upon their arrival, allowing the undead to follow them through. It is unknown where this version of the base is, but it is not within the Empty Earth. As Marlton attempts to access the security system, he is met with a hologram and German voice of S.O.P.H.I.A.


Without a proper access code, security counter-measures are activated and Marlton is split off from the rest of the group. Marlton begins hacking into the system, deactivating a laser grid keeping the zombies away, but also allowing the rest of Victis to move further into Zero Base. S.O.P.H.I.A.'s full intelligence within the base's electronics comes to life, creating arrows in the walls of the base to lead undead towards Victis' position. Misty, Russman, and Stuhlinger arrive in some sort of storage area or garbage disposal with many assorted objects, including a Broken Arrow T.E.D.D. robot.


Meanwhile, Marlton is traversing the ventilation system as S.O.P.H.I.A. has released Chlorine Gas into the ducts. He arrives near a set of computer systems as the gas is vented, and Marlton suggests she did not want the gas corroding her systems. He then uses an axe to destroy the systems before regrouping with Victis.


We get a glimpse into the outside world of this dimension, where the landscape appears barren and the trees without leaves. Marlton places the Elemental Shard into some kind of machine attached to four chairs. Realizing this is the machine that they have come for, they sit in the chairs as their blood is drawn. Stuhlinger believes that this is necessary to determine that they are indeed human. In reality, it is used to harvest their blood for another purpose. The machine sends them into the Empty Earth, a reality untouched by humanity where world is not in disrepair.


Issue #4

Upon arriving in the Empty Earth, the group realizes the undead are still within the building, meaning the entire base and everything inside was transported into the Empty Earth as well. They jump through a window into the unknown, coming upon another section of the base. They find weapons, supplies, and electronics, and they form an ambush for the pursuing undead. Interestingly, they seem less interested in hunting Victis, and more interested in entering the central building of the base. Undead Richtofen even attempts to open the door, before being shot at by Victis and fleeing.


Marlton, Misty, and Russman settle into the camp, making food and searching for supplies, while Stuhlinger wanders off. He suggests to Richtofen that something about this place is off. He discovers that even touching the trees causes them to crumple and turn to dust. Richtofen tells him that this was a "tangent timeline" where human life never occurred. He suggests that Victis and the undead arriving is causing it to collapse, a process started by Maxis when he created the base. He tells Stuhlinger that what is inside the building is what they came here for, but he cannot access it alone, not without the rest of Victis.


Stuhlinger returns to the others who seem content to stay in this new universe, and tries to convince them that it is all a facade. Marlton pulls a gun on Stuhlinger, before Russman pulls a gun on Marlton. Before the tension is resolved, the undead attack, and Stuhlinger runs away from the group against Richtofen's demands. He arrives at the building, and is tricked by undead Richtofen into blowing open the door to the base.


He arrives inside, finding the Kronorium. Upon picking it up, several containers begin to open, revealing undead altered with mechanical parts.


Issue #5

The undead cyborgs burst through the walls, attacking both Victis and Richtofen's undead. As Misty is attacked by one of the cyborgs, she is saved by Stuhlinger holding the Kronorium and proclaiming that, "She doesn't die like this." They regroup in the forest, before heading back towards the chairs which they had arrived from in Zero Base. Marlton leads the cyborg undead further into the base while the others get into the chairs with the Kronorium in hand. That's pretty much all that happens in this issue, it was mostly action.


Issue #6

Marlton returns to the group as undead Richtofen stands before them. Marlton observes that he isn't attacking, and that it would be wise not to shoot him. The machine draws Victis' blood, and they are returned to Zero Base's original dimension. Victis leave the chairs and jump through the open window, as the cyborg zombies within the facility attack undead Richtofen. Undead Richtofen feigns death, before acquiring four blood vials from the device and escaping into the woods.


Misty fires at the device, destroying it and the undead around it. A portal opens up for Victis to step through one last time. They arrive in Richtofen's lab, and he notes that the children are sleeping upstairs. They realize that Richtofen resembles the intelligent zombie they witnessed and that he is the voice in Stuhlinger's head.


Richtofen looks into the Kronorium, and in this instant, he knows what he must do.


Richtofen offers Victis a chance to live to see a better tomorrow. He offers them a choice between staying with him and having a chance to live, or being sent somewhere in the broken world.


Richtofen passes through a portal, meeting with his undead self and acquiring the blood vials. He then teleports to Alcatraz, where he acquires four more blood vials. He teleports to his home dimension shortly before WW1, giving himself two blood vials. Finally, he returns to "this cursed prison" and descends in an elevator back to his lab to meet with Victis.


Victis agrees to stay with Richtofen in the lab, and they enter the cryo-pods. As they are cryogenically frozen, Primis arrives from Zetsubou No Shima, and Richtofen hands them the remaining six blood vials.



It's a well-known fact that the comics have many inconsistencies, some minor and others major. There are things like the zombies' eyes which are sometimes orange and sometimes blue, even though the ones commanded by Richtofen should most likely be blue.


The most annoying one, though, is the question of where Richtofen and Victis are in the final issue. Richtofen refers to the place as he steps into an elevator above the lab as "this cursed prison." But, a few pages earlier, he says that the children are upstairs sleeping. I don't really see why he would bring the children to Alcatraz when they could be in the House. To add to the confusion, before he teleports away to acquire the rest of the blood vials, he says to Victis, "When I return, you may go with me, and see if I can save all our lives, or you may stay on this world -- I can send you wherever you wish to go within it. Although, honestly, it is all pretty much equally terrible." That makes it sound as if they are in the world where Zero Base originates, or in their home dimension, and that the Alcatraz lab is elsewhere, even though they step into the Alcatraz cryo-pods in the same room. So is it the House, Alcatraz, or some other lab in the broken world? Talk about 115-induced delusions.

Then there's the location of Zero Base, which I am still not totally clear on. I can't tell if it is supposed to be in the original timeline after the events of Buried, or if it is another timeline where this alternate version of Maxis settled down, maybe even that weird nuclear version of The House that Maxis describes in The Giant radios.


Further Talking Points

- To me there was lot of confusion about what the base was that Victis arrived at before arriving at the Empty Earth. I had forgotten that a portal sent them away from the Broken Arrow base to Zero Base. They are separate bases, and both exist in the "real world." But, fascinatingly, the storage area that contains the broken down T.E.D.D. unit is Zero Base, the same one with S.O.P.H.I.A. Which reminds me of a certain quote from Gorod Krovi from her, "Maxis told me he had a plan. He said Broken Arrow showed him how to open up new worlds. It has been so long...I miss him." I've been pretty confident in the theory that the Maxis of the Gorod Krovi fracture is the one who established Zero Base, and I think this Broken Arrow connection might further that theory. The base holding the Kronorium even looks similar to an American military base, even having a flagpole though the flag itself isn't visible.


- Another note, I find it interesting that Undead Richtofen attempted to access the base holding the Kronorium before Stuhlinger did, only to be deterred when he was shot at. Makes you wonder what he could have gotten up to with all that knowledge...


- Even though Stuhlinger describes what he sees in the Kronrium as "pretty pictures," he does comprehend some of what he has seen. This is evident when he says this about Misty, someone he abandoned before finding the book:



- A question that sometimes comes up about the Victis maps is why Richtofen would command the undead to attack Victis if they are actively trying to help him in his quest. I think the way he leads zombies in these comics might be an answer in that version of events. He uses them as motivation to stay together and keep moving from place to place, while also providing energy where they need it and cannon fodder for other things attacking them.


- Something that always bothered me about Peter McCain's revival via the Elemental Shard in Alpha Omega was that he never seemed to pursue the life he had before death, instead choosing to continue living at Camp Edward and start working for Broken Arrow. But, after re-reading the comics, I believe it's because he literally could not leave the vicinity of the Elemental Shard present at the base or he would die. In the comics we see that the Bios created via the shard are active as long as the Shard itself is powered. Since Peter was brought back into living by the piece of the Shard at Camp Edward, I think he has to remain on-site to continue living. 

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As for the eye color, I think the mix of blue and yellow are interesting and not necessarily an issue. For this first time in a long while, Richtofen and Samantha have a common interest, at least in my eyes, and seemingly Richtofen's as well





Now we talked about it before but I don't think that having Alcatraz a room in the house being an issue, as the house is far from being a normal location. Besides being in Agartha, which has an influence of the world itself, you have this cipher, talking about the great war, but also more than that: 



After the Great Battle, they stood upon the mound. Their light shone down and cleansed all the sickness for as far as the eye could see.
They are the first; they are the last... Visions of fractured worlds and strange rooms haunted our dreams.


It is not the first time the house seems to be connected to other locations: 



Entry 58
We have been having power fluctuations for the past couple of days. Consequently, we have had to rely more and more on the backup generators. It's strange, ever since we have been having issues with the power, people are reporting hearing voices coming from the walls. They say they can hear quiet sobbing from a boy and a girl, as well as, a man shouting for children to close the windows. I have not heard the voices, but I admit something feels different about this place.


I find it very possible that the many rooms of the house represent the many worlds and dimensions themselves, different doors to different locations around the multiverse. This is the very case in the story "The dreams in the witch house" of Lovecraft, where the house itself is hosts non-euclidean geometry, the kind of one that it used to explain time travel, worm holes and all that sort of fun:



A famous example is the klein bottle, I recommend further reading

Israel Medina - Klein Bottle



I think this also puts to a more interesting context this drawing from Samantha, that puts Maxis near a door, as well as flashforward a danger to Maxis. 




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Honesyly, for me the comics raised more questions than answers. And yes, despite it being entirely devoted to the story, it often appears to be overlooked and excluded in theorizing simply because the comics are not so accessible for anyone. 


That quote about the children sleeping upstairs is so weird. Could you identify the lab as the one we see in BotD? We do know that in the basement of the House, there is also a lab, although we only see it vaguely on backgrounds of cutscenes. We likely see it the best in the Director's Cut of "the Gift":



Then we also have that changed NDU loading screen in the comics, featuring four cryogenic pods in Alcatraz, but now laying horizontally. Does that suggest the pods have been moved from one place to another?


Regarding the Empty Earth, I don't underdtand how their blood led to "saving the world". Also, is Zero Base located within Empty Earth, or is Empty Earth somehow accesible via the chairs in Zero Base? Thats whole makes zero sense. If the compound carries what seems to be an American flag, it would start to make more sense: Agonia Maxis' relation to Broken Arrow, the capacity to built an entire facility, designing A.I.'s, Cyborgs and "opening up new worlds".  


At some point in history, however, House Maxis discovers the Empty Earth. 


"Having observed Monty for some time, Maxis uses the Teleporter in the basement of the House to study and explore other dimensions. Among them is the Empty Earth where an alternate Maxis had constructed Zero Base, a facility that houses artifacts and replicas collected from a multitude of different timelines. However, his attempts to manipulate the Empty Earth create a reality too fragile to be sustained."


Okay so Zero Base is within Empty Earth. Let's assume Agonia Maxis worked as a highly influencial agent for Broken Arrow, manipulated other realms and perhaps even founded Group 935 in Dimension 63, employing his D63 self. What would be his/their aim in doing so? What would be Maxis's and Broken Arrow's ultimate goal? For Maxis it may have been something as simple as saving his big love, or his daughter. Broken Arrow tho...


I like your idea about the Shard, that proximity matters for it's power, and I think that would be a good reason why Peter stayed at Camp Edward. Perhaps the absence of the crystal is the reason why we don't see the Bios in Die Rise, despite it being called the "Bio test facility". Unlike zombies, whose every cell has been infested with 115, connecting them to Aether, the Bios may required an external connected to the Aether. And what would function better than the Shard?


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