Undead Superheroes: The Top 5

Can’t Keep A Good Man Down

Wonder Man:You made one mistake, Eric. I’m sure you thought it would be poetic to use us as your puppets…  but we’re Avengers. And Avengers will oppose you to the bitter end… and beyond!

Avengers #11

They seem invincible, but even superheroes can die. Maybe a villain finally gets the drop on them. They might sacrifice their life to save an innocent. No matter the cause, all heroes eventually find the one thing that they can’t escape. That should be the end of their stories. But superheroes are bad at staying dead.

Almost every superhero has died at some point. Less popular heroes tend to stay dead. Most superheroes are resurrected or have their deaths retconned away. But what about those who get stuck part-way? The heroes who can find no peace in their graves nor acceptance from humanity? Neither living nor dead, these superheroes are undead. So who are the top 5 undead superheroes? Let’s find out.

#5 Swamp Thing

Played by Dick Durock and Derek Mears

Batman:Our data’s more factual. Alec Holland was murdered by terrorists. His body was never recovered. End of story.
John Constantine:Not quite…

Justice League: Dark

Flesh isn’t the only thing that can decay. Plants can wither and rot too, a fact our number five undead superhero knows all too well.

Doctor Alec Holland was a scientist working to create a bio-regenerator chemical that would allow plants to grow in hostile areas and end world hunger. His lab was attacked by terrorists who wanted his research. They set Holland’s lab on fire and left him to burn. A desperate Holland jumped into a nearby swamp and was never seen again.

A monster made of plants soon appeared and slaughtered the terrorists. The creature gained the ability to speak and claimed it was Alec. He theorized that the bio-regenerator had fused his body with the swamp’s flora. The resurrected Holland began protecting the swamps he called home as The Swamp Thing.

Swamp Thing would be higher on this list, but he technically isn’t undead. Check out our Swamp Thing Backstory to learn about his true nature.

#4 The Immortal Hulk

Played by Lou Ferrigino, Mark Ruffalo, and Edward Norton

Captain Marvel:To set the Hulk free, Bruce Banner has to die. And that’s just not going to happen, Bruce.
Banner:…But that’s my secret, Captain. I’m already dead.

The Immortal Hulk #6

You most likely know that Bruce Banner can turn into an enormous green rage monster. Did you know that he is also undead?

The Hulk has always been a monstrous superhero, but he’s become even worse in recent years. After being assassinated by Hawkeye in Civil War II, Bruce Banner realized the Hulk has a power he was unaware of: resurrective immortality. Whenever he dies, the Hulk will resurrect that night. Even worse, Banner can no longer transform into Hulk through anger. He has to die.

The realization shook Banner, causing him to develop a new personality that became the Immortal Hulk. The new Hulk is capable of speaking full sentences, strategizing, and is sadistic as hell. Immortal Hulk is perfectly happy to slaughter his enemies, something that his other personalities avoided.

The superhero community shuns the Immortal Hulk and is searching for a way to return him to normal. Banner is also searching for the cause of his undead nature. The clues suggest that something apocalyptic is behind the Immortal Hulk, a being called the One Below All…

#3 The Spectre

Played by Gary Cole and Mark Hamill

The Spectre:I’m the undying spirit of vengeance. I’ll exist as long as there’s a need for dark judgment and divine retribution.

Day of Vengeance #6

What do you get when you mix a murdered police officer with God’s Angel of Vengeance? The Spectre, our number three undead superhero.

Jim Corrigan was an honest cop who was murdered by gangsters. God offered him a chance to avenge his death by becoming a living host for an avenging angel. Corrigan agreed and was resurrected as The Spectre.

The Spectre annihilated the gang that had killed Corrigan and began traveling the world to avenge those who had also been murdered. The Spectre enjoys killing sinners in ironic ways. A horror writer might be slain by his creations. A counterfeiter could have their body transformed into a stack of coins. A killer who feeds victims to animals might be their next meal.

It quickly became apparent that Corrigan’s role wasn’t to avenge his own death, but to hold back The Spectre. He had to temper the Spectre’s zealotry with reason and empathy. When Corrigan succeeds, The Spectre is an unstoppable force for justice. But when he fails, nothing on Earth can stop the Wrath of God.

#2 The Crow

Played by Brandon Lee

Albrecht: “Police! Don’t move. I said don’t move!
Eric: “I thought the police always said “freeze”.
Albrecht: “Well, I am the police and I say “don’t move”, Snow White. You move, you’re dead.
Eric: “And I say I’m dead… and I move…

The Crow

You might remember our number two undead superhero as Brandon Lee’s final role, but did you know the movie was based on a comic? 

A young man named Eric Draven was murdered by a gang when he tried to stop them from raping his fiance. One year later, he was resurrected by a crow. The crow had sensed that Eric couldn’t rest in peace and brought him back to avenge his death.

Eric hunted the gang, quickly realizing that he would heal from any wounds and couldn’t die. He slaughters the gang in gruesome ways, leaving a crow symbol as his calling card. Between murders, The Crow also looks after a young girl his fiance had cared for.

The Crow eventually kills the gangsters and sets his sights on their boss. Unfortunately, the crow who revived Eric is wounded, causing him to lose his powers. Eric still manages to kill the boss, avenging himself and his fiance, before returning to his grave.

Eric Draven’s story may be over, but there are plenty more people who cannot rest in peace. As long as restless souls call out for vengeance, a new Crow will always rise.

#1 Spawn

Played by Keith David and Michael Jai White

Spawn:Your angel of death awaits.
The Joker:You can’t kill me! Heroes have moral codes!
Spawn:Who said I was a hero?

Mortal Kombat 11

Our number one undead superhero is the general of Hell’s armies, king of Hell, and Image Comics’ most popular character, Spawn.

Al Simmons was a CIA assassin who had grown weary of killing. He planned to retire before his handlers betrayed him. Al was killed and sent to Hell for his sins. The demon Malebolgia eventually freed Simmons in exchange for his service. He reluctantly took the deal so he could be reunited with his wife. Malebolgia then transformed him into a Hellspawn.

Simmons was returned to Earth and immediately sought out his wife. Unfortunately, Malebolgia had tricked him. Several years had passed since Simmons had died. His wife had remarried and had a new child. Simmons swore that he would kill Malebolgia for his treachery and became an antihero called Spawn.

Spawn wasn’t alone on Earth. Malebogia sent his top enforcer, The Violator (John Leguizamo) to make sure Spawn was doing his work. The Violator became Spawn’s most frequent enemy, often taking the form of a diminutive clown to annoy him. Spawn killed his CIA betrayers and began searching for a way to kill Malebogia. He eventually succeeded in killing the demon and taking his spot as the King of Hell.

Who is your favorite undead superhero? Is there one better than these five? Tell us in the comments.

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