The Big Idea: Zombie Batman

Batman as a zombie? (Andre de Freitas)

Batman as a zombie? (Andre de Freitas)

It is no secret that when it comes to the undead, no one is a bigger fan than me. And few undead thrill me more than those mindless, lumbering walkers with a perpetual case of the munchies: zombies.

If a film features zombies, then I have either seen it, heard about it or soon plan to see it. No matter how terrible the cast, the acting, the plot or even the special effects, I can find something enjoyable in any zombie movie because hey, I freaking love zombies. And yes, I am a die-hard follower of The Walking Dead, arguably the best show on television at this moment in time.

As a TWD fan, I often find myself creating subplots and characters for future episodes of the show, as if I had Robert Kirkman’s ear and he would actually incorporate them into his mega-hit on AMC. With the new season still months away, this allows me to reenter the world I miss so much—to ease the zombie withdrawal I experienced when my weekly fix disappeared for the summer.

My most recent idea centers on a character. And believe me when I say that none of this has been explored on the Internet or anywhere else, for that matter. As such, any similarity to the idea of another is incidental… not to mention a damn shame since I thought this was original!

I’m kidding, of course.

The Walking Dead character I imagine is a zombie hunter—henceforth known as ZH. Yes, while other survivors scramble for food and supplies, quarrel over territory and do their best to avoid becoming a Hungry Man meal for zombies, this guy goes where the undead roam and takes out as many as possible. It’s almost as if he has some kind of vendetta to fulfill—some inner demon to satisfy that compels him to “kill” walkers and twitchers.

Initially, the ZH’s back story went something like this:

ZH is a stable and happy young man with loving parents, a good head on his shoulders and lots of opportunities. His father—a research scientist for some unknown branch of the government (he has never been allowed to say)—is an excellent provider and a great dad, but he often works long hours and ZH can sometimes go for days at a time without so much as a sighting. Nevertheless, the two are close and always cherish their time together.

Just after ZH’s eighteenth birthday, that “quality time” with his father suddenly increases. Instead of being absent for most of the day, his father stays home, does a little work on his computer and then finds his son for what he calls “data transference”—the passing of knowledge from father to son. They adjourn to some quiet corner of the expansive home or venture out to the guest house—occasionally they scamper into the woods—and there the lessons begin.

The Walking Dead: Best Show Ever (AMC)

The Walking Dead: Best Show Ever (AMC)

From his father, ZH learns philosophy, religion, art, science, technology, martial arts, weaponry, survival and a host of other subjects and skills. This goes on for months and ZH isn’t sure why, but his dad seems desperate—as if he only has a limited amount of time to complete his teachings before it all ends. One day he finally summons the courage to ask his father about it and, unfortunately, regrets it a moment later.

His father tells him that his lab was developing a weaponized virus meant to cause temporary paralysis, only something went horribly wrong. Tests on chimps revealed that the virus (Z-48) attacks the nervous system, causes death within minutes and then reanimates the corpse. And when they return, the “undead” are no longer kind, gentle or loving; they are vicious, violent and bloodthirsty… basically zombies.

According to his dad, this weapon could turn entire populations into the walking dead (wink wink) and he wanted no part of it. He made arrangements to work from home until he could be reassigned, but decided he should spend this time teaching his son… preparing him for what was to come.

Sadly, his father’s health deteriorates rapidly in the coming weeks and despite their best efforts, ZH and his mother can only watch him wither away and die. They sit at his bedside as he takes his final breath, and then he is gone. Mom leans over to kiss his head one last time and that’s when it happens: dad suddenly comes to life and attacks mom!

Before ZH knows what’s happening, his mother is lying on the ground—bleeding out from a huge gash in her neck—and zombie daddy is heading his way. Without even thinking, he grabs a stoker from the fireplace in his parents’ bedroom and runs it through his father’s head, dropping him immediately. ZH pulls out the stoker just as his mother leaps to her feet and comes after him. It hurts him to do it, but he impales her skull with the stoker, too.

His family is dead, victims of a deadly weapon intentionally used against them (someone was trying to shut his father up)… and now it’s time for revenge!

Unfortunately, the Z-48 virus wipes out everyone at the lab where his father once worked, so ZH decides to unleash hell on those he views as the now-defunct government’s minions: the zombies.

Zombies. You gotta love em (netfreestuff.co.uk)

Zombies. You gotta love em (netfreestuff.co.uk)

And so the Zombie Hunter is born. At least that’s the basic idea.

Then I started thinking about my favorite comic book hero as a child, teen and even now: the one-and-only Dark Knight, the Batman. Combine him with the Zombie Hunter and what do you get?

Zombie Batman!

Actually, it should be Zombie Hunter Batman, but why split hairs?

On the one hand, you have Bruce Wayne. Orphaned at a young age when his parents are gunned down during a robbery, he devotes his life to fighting crime and uses his fortune to support his efforts. He even had a sidekick for a while there—Dick Grayson’s Robin, who eventually became Nightwing.

Sorry. That’s the comic book nerd coming out in me.

On the other hand, you have ZH. Orphaned at a slightly later age when he’s forced to kill his own zombie-infected family, ZH uses his knowledge and training to destroy the undead and to return normalcy to the world. Hell, he could even have a younger brother or sister as a sidekick.

I envision Zombie Batman still having some kind of hideout, only one far less advanced in terms of technology—power is hard to come by in a zombie apocalypse, after all. It would be secure and hidden, of course, and there could still be some power to speak of. I once had an idea for a kind of water wheel—like the ones used for hydroelectric power long ago—only this one would lie flat and serve as more of a pen. Metal bars would run like spokes from the center to the edges, but the gaps in between would be filled with zombies. Drop in some bait—like a live person seated behind Plexiglas or some other fresh, unreachable meat—and those zombies will turn the wheel until they decompose. The kinetic energy could funnel into a generator and charge battery cells to power ZH’s equipment, lights and other amenities.

And when the old zombies wear out, just throw in some fresh ones and you’ll have power for weeks. It could work.

Rather than hunting down criminals, Zombie Batman hunts zombies. But what if I went a different direction with this? Could I pitch a similar idea to the comic book Big Boys: Marvel and DC Comics?

Good luck stopping this guy! (ric3do)

Good luck stopping this guy! (ric3do)

Think of it in terms of the classic Marvel title, What if?

What if Batman had to face a zombie apocalypse and ultimately kill those he once swore to protect?

What if the Hulk or Superman became zombies? Who could stop them?

What if the Spider-Man was infected and used his webs to subdue victims?

The possibilities are endless. And if “what if” scenarios aren’t your bag, why not a crossover mini-series between DC and Marvel that addresses the zombie apocalypse? I’m not sure if it has ever been done, but zombies are huge right now and I know something like this would work. Now if I can only find a way to cash in on it…

Let me know what you think about these ideas! Leave a comment and share your opinion! Thanks!

Posted on August 13, 2013, in Perspectives, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Cool idea, I would love to read a Batman vs Zombie Apocalypse story. Also an elseworlds story where he beomes a zombie, but still intelligent, like the Kirkman marvel zombies story. The Blackest Night Zombie Batman was cool, but more a visual footnote in a larger story, that character could have his own Batman-centric storyline too.

  2. Thought about this more today, the pitch: Ra’s All Ghul unleashes a zombie virus during Contagion / No Man’s Land, eventually Batman is the only non-infected human left, he is determined to cure the city and refuses to give up on Gotham. It’s I am Legend but with Batman.

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