- They said it all started with a flash in the sky and a ripple through the clouds. Nobody knows what caused this exactly, but some people think it might be a punch. Was he really that strong? Had the infection made him so determined to get here in search of a brand new food supply? At the time I said no... but having experienced this hunger firsthand I'm afraid that I now know better. The Avengers were the first on the scene. Can you picture them? Faces grave, concerned for all those human casualties. That idiot Colonel America reassuring everyone that everything would be fine now that the super heroes have arrived. What they didn't know is that the infection had targeted the super heroes of this dimension and a thousand realities before us. This was how it consumed, you see... by infecting super heroes just like him and sending them out to infect the others. Within twenty-four hours, we'd consumed the entire planet. One super hero from an infected universe... That was all it took to end an entire world.
When the zombie Sentry arrived, the Avengers were sent to investigate. They were quickly infected and spread the virus to the other heroes. In less than 24 hours, all of Earth was infected. Despite the efforts of Nick Fury and Ashley Williams, nothing stopped the zombies from eating and spreading the disease to the whole world. The main reason for why the infection spread so quickly could be considered the zombified Quicksilver, since he used his speed to travel around infecting other countries.
Having nothing to eat, the zombified Fantastic Four had the idea of invading the Marvel Apes' reality; however, the other zombies invaded it first. The zombified Mr. Fantastic though he had no choice but revert the invasion, so, he and Spider-Monkey used a time-machine and a interdimensional travel machine to make their consciousness re-incarnate at their bodies of the past to revert the invasion, diverging Earth-8101 to Earth-95019 and Earth-2149 to Earth-21050. So, because of this, the zombified Reed took his attention to his Ultimate counterpart.
After Ultimate Reed's escape, the Silver Surfer appeared and announced the coming of Galactus. The zombies, still feeling the hunger, attacked and killed the Surfer, but only Spider-Man, Colonel America, Wolverine, Giant-Man, Power Man, Iron Man, and the Hulk managed to eat him. They ate the other zombies using the Power Cosmic absorbed from Silver Surfer to toast them, hoping they would taste better, but it tasted bad anyway.
Galactus appeared to devour the world, but the zombies constructed a machine using Vibranium from Wakanda, to unite their power cosmic and take down Galactus, eating him after this, but not before they could face the zombified villains once more, killing them. They used the Power Cosmic of Galactus to travel to other worlds and eat other lifeforms. A divergence occurred during this time, in which this reality's Wolverine was pulled away from it and meet alternate counterparts of him.
Meanwhile, the other many left zombies on Earth were trying to invade Earth-616; however, they were stopped by Machine Man and Morbius the Living Vampire. Because of this, they tried to develop a vaccine to the virus. Headpool, who invaded Earth-616 along with zombie Morbius, would eventually meet his Earth-616 counterpart and then be killed by the Evil Deadpool Corps.
After forty years in space, the zombie Galacti returned to Earth to get Reed's interdimensional machine but found a group of survivors led by a zombified Black Panther. They would try to eat them and then get the machine but suddenly the hunger fade away and they helped the humans rebuild, though Malcolm Cortez decided to get rid of them by sending all of them to Earth-Z, revealing he had sabotaged the machine so no one could leave their dimension, since he liked his lifestyle, and with T'Challa out of the way, he could rule over New Wakanda.
In there, they appeared in separate locations, their cosmic powers disappeared and the hunger returned. Many of them tried to avoid eating but Giant-Man and Wolverine succumbed to the hunger again. Wolverine would be stopped by his counterpart, along with zombie Spider-Man and Kitty Pryde, while Giant-Man focused on studying the Watcher's technology to get to other dimensions. Many of the zombies tried to stop him but failed. Only zombie Spider-Man along with the New Avengers did so, when all the remaining zombies were exposed to the Sandman infused with Tony Stark's nanobots that consume damaged flesh killing them all, except for the Sentry. The Watcher appeared from Giant-Man's body since he was eaten by him years ago. Having observed these events, he came up with what he believed to be the most perfect solution: sending Sentry to Earth-2149 to create a eternal time-loop where all of those events would continue to happen over and over again.
The zombie contagion passes via a bite from an infected being. The infected became an undead flesh eater but retained their intelligence, personality and special abilities. The virus also appears to mostly target superhumans. It caused a hunger in the host, a hunger which could only be sated by ingesting the flesh of the living; the flesh of other infected tasted foul to them and could induce illness. The hunger affected the infected's self control; the more hungry they were, the less rational and intelligent they became. Once sated, the zombies' personalities re-emerged, and the more humane and moral individuals often felt great guilt at this point.
It appeared to be 100% infectious, but as noted by Spider-Man, those with any kind of accelerated healing appear to be able to fend off the zombification longer after being bit than others; however, the virus would eventually take hold of them and their healing factor would fade after the zombification was complete. The disease was also shown to affect Asgardians, such as Thor. The virus is sentient in nature and focus on infecting the super-heroes because they are the most probable beings to breach the dimensional barriers of their realities to infect others. Its obsession to infect other realities is a way to "spread the gospel", also considering the food supply will eventually end in each universe.
The contagion appeared to have an addictive element to it, as the hunger was entirely mental; its infected hosts don't need to eat, as they are already "dead"; severed zombie heads still had the gnawing hunger, despite not even having a stomach, implying that, as with someone addicted to drugs or alcohol, the infected hosts are addicted to human flesh. Also, like any addiction, the hunger could be cured in a sense. If a victim could be isolated from a food supply, within a couple of weeks the cravings disappeared and the subject was able perform a functioning role within society, but with necrotized flesh and near-immortality. This addiction could be explained by the virus messing with the chemical balance of the brain, having this "need" to feed. After having eaten nothing in weeks, this balance is restored.
- Early on, dialogue indicated that Magneto made a deal with something to bring the zombie contagion to his Earth as an attempt to balance the playing field for mutants.
- Many pathogens similar to the Hunger have appeared throughout the Multiverse:
- On Earth-616, Dr. Mortimer Dauoi created a zombie plague by turning medical cadavers into clones of the Squadron Supreme in an attempt to achieve immortality.
- On Earth-11081, Ebenezer Scrooge caused the spread of a zombie plague called the Hungry Death.
- On Earth-12591, Loki caused the outbreak of a zombie virus on Earth, and it was later used by the nazists to win World War II.
- Earth-13264, which later became the Deadlands of Battleworld, also fell victim to a zombie virus outbreak.
- On Earth-14031, an unknown pathogen was accidentally created by A.I.R. through samples of individuals with healing factors, such as Deadpool.
- On Earth-483, a meteor containing a zombie pathogen caused an outbreak, which was contained by Machine Man and Howard the Duck.
- On Earth-691, its pathogen didn't cause zombification but instead filled those infected with rage and made them attack anyone they saw. It's important to note that they didn't eat flesh.
- On Earth-13027, a zombie outbreak occurred under unknown circumstances.
- On Earth-904913, Justin Hammer started infecting people with a zombie gas, trying to find out who blackmailed him. Mr. Fix ultimately infected him with the zombie gas revealing he was the one blackmailing him in revenge for turning him into an A.I. Fortunately, no outbreak occurred.
- On Earth-TRN760, a zombie outbreak occurred, leading to the end of the world. A few heroes tried to survive, but they were eventually killed when one of the survivors they were trying to protect, a kid named Donny, decided to save the voodoo zombie, Simon Garth.
- On Earth-11080, a chemical turned people into predatory primitive human flesh-eating monsters. They weren't undead but acted primarily on instinct and committed acts of cannibalism.
- In many alternate universes, Parker Industries worked alongside with New U Technologies to find a way to bring dead people back to life via cloning. However, those clones were not perfect, and would eventually suffer from cellular degradation caused by the Carrion Virus, becoming mindless monsters in the process. The virus was highly contagious, passing from person to person through contact.
- Agent Heather Sante stated to have fought a zombie Spider-Man from Earth-81143.
- On Earth-19121, the Brood planted eggs in Galactus' corpse, the resulting new parasitic lifeform infecting entire civilizations and assimilating them into its hive known as the Respawned, turning its hosts into zombie-like creatures. It was pretty similar to the Hunger, as the infected ate human flesh, infecting those who were bitten. Much like the Brood, they were part of a hivemind, each of their own possessing a queen. When that world's metahumans investigated Galactus' corpse, they were quickly turned, intending to use Magik's powers to invade worlds across the Multiverse through the Blackspring after turning Franklin Richards. However, their plans failed, the hive being destroyed and seemingly killing all the Respawned, except for its queen, whose identity is still a mystery.
- On Earth-89521, Janet Van Dyne was infected by the Hunger (or as the Watcher called it a "Quantum Virus") in the Quantum Realm, and once Henry Pym went to her rescue, managed to unleash it on the regular-sized world.
- 78 appearance(s) of Hunger (Virus)
- 9 minor appearance(s) of Hunger (Virus)
- 1 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Hunger (Virus)
- 522 image(s) of Hunger (Virus)