A Zombie is a reanimated corpse. Zombies often have a jaundiced, sallow look about them, characterized by sunken eyes and cheekbones, dry, rotting skin and ofttimes open wounds and missing limbs, and exposed bones or internal organs.
The means by which one reanimates a corpse may vary, but traditionally it is accomplished through supernatural practices. Stories of zombies originated in the Afro-Caribbean spiritual belief system of Vodou, which told of the people being controlled as workers by a powerful sorcerer. According to the tenets of Vodou, a dead person can be revived by a bokor or Voodoo sorcerer. Zombies remain under the control of the bokor since they have no will of their own. "Zombi" is also another name of the Vodou snake god Damballah Wedo, of Niger-Congo origin; it is akin to the Kongo word nzambi, which means "god". There also exists within the voudon tradition the zombi astral which is a human soul that is captured by a bokor and used to enhance the bokor's power.
Some zombies may also be created through acts of science. The earliest known record of such an incident took place in Europe in the early 19th century when a Swiss scientist named Baron von Frankenstein animated a dead body which had been constructed from the remains of several cadavers. This being, who still exists today, has since become known as the Spawn of Frankenstein.
Regardless of origin, most zombies share many common characteristics. They are fairly easy to recognize due to their unhealthy physical state, and become even more so depending upon varying rates of decay. Due to muscular atrophy, zombies can not ambulate very well, and are often seen shambling or plodding at a stilted pace. They are often bereft of intellect which makes them extremely susceptible to mystical or mental suggestion. As such, evil sorcerers commonly use zombies as their personal servants or bodyguards.
The Voodoo houngan known as Papa Midnite is well-versed in the art of reanimation, owing largely to the knowledge he acquired from his sister Cedella, herself a Vodun priestess. Papa-Midnite had a bevy of zombie servants at his disposal at his New York based Mid-Nite Club and also hosted zombie fighting contests inside the club's private "Arena".
One of the most well-known examples of a zombie is the super-villain known as Solomon Grundy. In 1895, Cyrus Gold had carried on an affair with a local prostitute from Gotham City named Rachel Rykel. According to Rykel, she was pregnant with Gold's child, and sought to extort money from him for her silence. Cyrus met with her for a secret negotiation at Slaughter Swamp, several miles outside of Gotham. When Gold refused to yield to blackmail, Rachel's pimp, Jem, dashed Cyrus across the back of the head with a shovel. They buried Gold in the swamp, content that no one would ever come looking for him. Over the span of fifty years, Gold's body interacted with the detritus and sour vegetation of the swamp. Through an as of yet unknown process, Cyrus Gold's corpse transformed into a rotting, vegetative undead monstrosity that the world would soon come to know as Solomon Grundy.
One of the more bizarre examples of a zombie was the Green Lantern Corps member known as Driq. Driq was killed during a battle against Sinestro and the MadGod Sector 3600. For reasons that have never been fully explained, his power ring refused to let his life essence permanently leave his body, so it drew Driq's remains together and he continued to serve, however briefly, as a reanimated member of the Green Lantern Corps.
The sorcerer Mordru created the Sons of Anubis, zombies garbed in the mien and accouterments of the Egyptian God of the afterlife. He sent these beings to attack the Justice Society of America in the hopes of preventing them from saving the life of a then-infant Hector Hall - the predestined host for the power of Doctor Fate.
It is not uncommon for fallen heroes to find themselves resurrected by unorthodox means and used as muscle for some evil-doer's plan. During the "War of the Gods", the sorceress Circe used her magic to resurrect a veritable legion of deceased heroes and set them against those who sought to thwart her plans.
Another such incident took place several years later. The most recent being to uphold the mantle of Brother Blood used the powers at his disposal to open the doorway to the afterworld and resurrect the bodies of deceased members of the Teen Titans including Aquagirl, Dove, Lilith Clay and Phantasm.
A year after the "Infinite Crisis", Black Adam gathered the remains of his dead wife Isis and brought them to the Tower of Fate in Salem, Massachusetts in the hopes of resurrecting her. Due to the machinations of sorcerer Felix Faust, the process did not produce the results that Black Adam was looking for.
More recently, an unknown force in Sector 666 has used the corpse of the Anti-Monitor to form a Black Central Power Battery, the power source for the Black Lantern Corps, a vast, super-powered army, composed entirely of zombies.
Powers and Abilities
- Immortality: Providing that their bodies do not come to any undue harm, a zombie is effectively immortal. Their bodies will not degrade beyond the state in which they were initially resurrected. If a zombie is not beheaded and burned, it can simply lay dormant and rise again when woken by dark forces.
- Superhuman Strength: Zombies traditionally possess a greater strength level than the average human being. This is likely due to their denser muscle mass and the fact that they do not suffer other effects that usually accompany physical exertion.
- Madame Waxahachie told Deadman that the trick to stopping traditional voodoo zombies is "to break the fingers one by one."
- A zombie must be decapitated and burned to truly put it to rest.
Type of Government:
Level of Technology:
None, though they may be able to operate whatever technology is provided to them.
- This character is an adaptation of Zombie, a character in traditional stories. These include, but may not be limited to religious texts, myth, and/or folk lore. More information on the original can be found at Wikipedia.org.
- The Legion of Super-Heroes has fought the Legion of Dead Heroes, zombie versions of deceased Legionnaires.
- In the Quality Universe there were legends of Zombies all across Africa and the Caribbean, plus Hawaii. According to a Hawaiian legend, Zombies are the walking dead bodies of ancient Hawaiian rulers, who will one day return to drive the foreigners from their native land.
- In the Earth-Two Universe, there also were zombies in Mexico, lurking in an old Aztec city. These zombies could pilot fighter planes.
- Most animated Mummies are Zombies, by definition.
- While Vampires resemble Zombies in several respects, they are a distinct category of supernatural monster. Unlike zombies, vampires have agency, and experience hunger, as well as having a range of powers and weaknesses that zombies lack.
- An American criminal, an accomplice of the Gotham City super-criminal Bane, adopted "Zombie" as his personal codename, but was not a zombie.
- Serial killer Mister Zsasz often refers to his victims as "zombies".