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DC Beats Marvel Zombies for the Strongest Superhero Undead

Although the Marvel Zombies are the most popular zombified heroes, the Black Lanterns of Blackest Night are much more powerful.

Outside of the titular undead hordes of Image Comics’ The Walking Dead, the Marvel Zombies are arguably the most well-known undead creatures in comics. The macabre Zombieverse, where the superheroes of Marvel succumbed to an extra-dimensional zombie virus, first appeared in Ultimate Fantastic Four #22 (by Mark Millar, Greg Land, Matt Ryan, and Justin Ponsor), and has since spawned a successful spin-off franchise consisting of several series and numerous tie-in comics.

Several years after Marvel Zombies debuted, DC Comics launched a very similar zombie-inspired crossover event, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ Blackest Night, in which the cosmic supervillain Nekron uses Black Lantern Rings to resurrect deceased superheroes as zombie-like Black Lanterns. Although the Black Lanterns didn’t become quite as popular as the zombies of Earth-2149, DC’s zombies easily outmatch Marvel’s when it comes to power, durability, and overall fear-factor.

RELATED: Green Lantern: Who Is the Most Powerful Black Lantern?

Born from the primordial darkness that encompassed the universe in response to the emergence of light, Nekron is a being of pure death intrinsically tied to the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum, the energy field that empowers the various Lantern Crops. Seeking to return the universe to a state of lifeless nothingness, Nekron creates a Black Central Power Battery from the body of the then-deceased Anti-Monitor and sets about creating a Corps to wage war against life itself. With the power and raw material provided by the Battery, Nekron creates a swarm of Black Lantern Rings, which scatter across the universe. When a Ring attaches itself to a corpse, the deceased is reanimated as a Black Lantern.

Although how they were created are drastically different, there are many similarities between Marvel’s zombies and the Black Lanterns. Both the zombies and the Black Lanterns retain the abilities and skills that they had while they were alive, which they can put to use against the living. Each breed of undead can also speak (although this particular ability was noticeably absent when the Marvel Zombies appeared on the Disney + series What If…?). This allows both of them to manipulate their still-living prey by taking advantage of their emotions. Having lost whatever empathy they had in life, the Marvel Zombies and Black Lanterns are willing to cruelly abuse the feelings their victims have for them to lure them into traps or throw them off focus.

However, the Black Lanterns have an advantage over the Marvel Zombies when it comes to their impressive durability. Although Marvel’s zombified heroes retain most of the abilities that their living selves had, the initial infection often nullifies any healing abilities that the host might have possessed. In contrast, The Black Power Rings that animate the Black Lanterns actively work to keep their host’s bodies whole, keeping the corpse from decomposing any further and actively repairing any damage it sustains. The only way to destroy a Black Lantern is to destroy its Black Power Ring, and this is much easier said than done, considering the rings are immune to most forms of damage and can only be truly be destroyed by the light of the opposing White Lantern Rings.

RELATED: Brightest Day: What DC’s White Lanterns Had to Do After Blackest Night

In contrast, the Marvel Zombies are much more fragile thanks to the degenerative nature of the virus that created them. Even if they possessed enhanced durability in life, their decomposing bodies can easily be damaged by most conventional weapons. Making matters worse, the Black Lanterns also have access to the abilities of the Black Power Ring, which includes the ability to create hard light constructs. With the ability to create any weapon they can imagine, the Black Lanterns could easily destroy any Marvel zombie they came across.

At the end of the day, the Black Lanterns have a notable edge over the Marvel Zombies thanks to their enhanced durability and superior arsenals. If the two undead scourges were to come to blows, it’s safe to say that the Black Lantern Corps would be capable of putting Marvel’s former superheroes back in the ground for good.

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