5 Undead Heroes That Haunt the Comic Book World
5 Undead Heroes That Haunt Comic Books
Vampires may still have their grip on the public’s imagination, but without a doubt, Halloween 2010 belongs to Zombies. Thanks to the successful video game releases like Dead Rising 2 and the highly anticipated premier of The Walking Dead on AMC this Halloween night, the revenant hordes are forcing people to contemplate a world overrun by mobs of mindless, brain-hungry shamblers. However, just because an Undead-American is lacking that spark of life, or an arm, or most of their skin, it doesn’t mean that they are lacking heart (metaphorically, anyway). The comic book universes are full of cruel mockeries of existence that are instead dedicated to saving life, and not “in a Tupperware container for later” kind of way.
First Appearance: Xombi #0 (1994)
Nanotechnogist David Kim was close to a breakthrough on his human tissue regenerative cyber-virus when a supervillain attack nearly costs him his life. Involuntary injected with his own creation, David becomes “Xombi,” a quasi-immortal hero bridging the gap between super-science and the occult world. Despite only having a brief run under the Milestone imprint, Xombi ‘lived on’ in the background of the DC Universe, appearing briefly during the Infinite Crisis and co-starring in an issue of The Brave and The Bold with The Spectre. Currently rumors of a full-fledged Xombi revival written by creator John Rozum (Midnight, Mass) have been floated.
First Appearance: X-Force #125 (2002)
Dead Girl, a mutant whose primary power is being dead in every way aside from not actually being dead (although she is currently dead for ‘real’) was briefly a member of the pop-mutant super group X-Statix (once known as X-Force). Immune to toxins and able to regenerate from any amount of damage made her a natural for her team, which throughout its existence suffered from a ‘high turnover rate’ in its membership. When her actual death came, she found a new role protecting the Marvel “dead-dead,” like Gwen Stacy, in the comic-book afterlife.
First Appearance: Astonishing Tales #25 (1974)
Several people have had the unfortunate luck to be denied their chance at eternal rest but instead were grafted to a cyborg frame and ‘live on’ as Deathlok, the heavily armed half-robot forced to share his consciousness with a homicidally violent artificial intelligence. With the promises of a restored life or a final death, Deathlok is frequently used as a pawn by both heroes and villains, before being betrayed and left to his own solitary unlife.
First Appearance: All-American Comics #61 (1944)
An implacable, immortal foe of a multitude of DC heroes, the original Green Lantern in particular, Solomon Grundy is the reincarnated body of a 19th century man who met his end in the mystical Slaughter Swamp near Gotham City. The massively strong and tough but slow-witted Grundy operated as a supervillain for decades, seemingly killed and reborn again and again until it was revealed that each time his came back with the similar, but still villainous personality of another evil person murdered in the swamp. However, during James Robinson’s run on Starman, Grundy was revived with an innocent personality and fought alongside the legacy hero, ultimately sacrificing this one good life to save Jack Knight.
First Appearance: More Fun Comics #52 (1940)
The Spirit of God’s Vengeance on Earth, The Spectre is a comically powerful ghost that is bound to the soul of a dead man in order to bring retribution upon criminals. Currently hosted by murdered Gotham City police detective Crispus Allen (after a brief stint inside Green Lantern Hal Jordan), The Spectre originally made his name while ‘teamed’ with another murdered cop, Jim Corrigan. During this extended span, The Spectre expanded his purview from street level crime to supernatural threats, all while dealing with his foes in a horror-tinged ironic punishment style.