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Simon Garth (Earth-616)

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Early Life & Death

Simon Garth was a highly successful businessman and well known public figure who was notorious for treating his employees ruthlessly. Garth's gardener, Gyps, vowed to get revenge upon his employer for his years of mistreatment and recent firing. Kidnapping Garth, Gyps stabbed him to death with a pair of garden shears in the Bayous near New Orleans. Gyps was not satisfied by Garth's relatively quick death, however, and so he turned the corpse over to a nearby Voodoo cult and forced the voodooienne (voodoo queen) Layla to turn Garth into a zombie. Layla, who also happened to be Garth's secretary, called upon Damballah, the serpent god who is the most powerful of the Loa (the gods of voodoo), and with the aid of matching talismans, resurrected the corpse of her former employer as a mindless zombie. One of the two amulets was placed around Garth's neck; the other was given to Gyps. Using the amulet, Gyps could control the Zombie.

Simon Garth (Earth-616) 002

The Zombie fights a rat!

Finally, when Gyps tried to force Garth to kidnap his own daughter, a remaining portion of the spirit of the man he once was enabled the Zombie to resist his master despite the amulet, and Garth killed him.

A 24 Hour Life

For two years, Simon Garth walked the earth as a zombie, controlled by a succession of people who had possession of the mystic amulet. Among them were a chemist named Philip Bliss[1], a houngan (voodoo priest) named Papa Shorty[2], and a fireman named Fred Miller. At the command of Miller's friend Dora Katz, Garth struck Layla, severely injuring her[3]. Layla still loved Garth, and with the aid of a friendly houngan named Papa Doc, she undertook a difficult voodoo ritual by which her ebbing life essence was mystically transferred to Garth. Thus as Layla died, Simon Garth returned to life for a period of 24 hours. In that time, Garth managed to put all of his affairs in order making up in some way to various people he had slighted during his first life. Garth then became a zombie once more and was buried by Papa Doc[4].

The Search for the Amulet

Death however, is always transitory for a creature like Simon Garth. Years passed, and Simon once again rose from his grave. The amulet of Damballah that he had worn for so many years was gone, and he instinctively began seeking it out. His search brought him to New York City where he unwittingly discovered the amulet in the possession of Daily Bugle employee Glory Grant. The amulet was infused with the spirit of the villainess Calypso, who had possessed Glory and forced her to do her bidding. While seeking the amulet, the Zombie ran afoul of Spider-Man. The two fought, but he ultimately reclaimed the amulet and returned to a restless slumber.

Lilith Drake

A short time later, a wealthy student of the arcane named Kelsey Pierce acquired one of the amulets and offered it to the vampire Lilith Drake in the hope that she would reciprocate by turning him into a vampire. Lilith accepted the gift, but killed Pierce rather than turning him into a vampire. With the amulet, she took control of Simon Garth, and used him as her personal servant, forcing him to attack innocents and drag them back to her lair.

During this time, Donna Garth hired vampire private investigator Hannibal King to find the amulets and bring her father back to New Orleans. King’s investigation led him to New York where he found himself teaming up with Spider-Man in order to take down Lilith. The two were unsuccessful at defeating her, but King did manage to purloin the amulet, and he brought both the talisman and the Zombie back to New Orleans.

Gerber Hospital Morgue

The Zombie turned up again years later. His remains were found beneath the wreckage of a building destroyed by a fire and taken to Gerber Hospital. He rose from the morgue table and escaped, only to return shortly after an altercation with a police officer.

The Zombie later took a "corpse bride" that he found at the morgue, and returned to the grave with her.

All-New Howling Commandos

The Zombie was later recruited by Phil Coulson to join his incarnation of the Howling Commandos in order to combat Dormammu's Mindless Plague.[5]

Powers

Due to his status as a zombie, Simon Garth possessed various supernatural attributes that were derived from the Loa, Voodoo spirits, which inhabited and reanimated his body after his physical death.

Retained Consciousness: Although Garth was a zombie, he differed from other zombies. For reasons unexplained, Garth's spirit never fully left his body at death. As a result, especially during situations in which heightened emotional stress and connections to his mortal life occurred, Garth's persona was able to assume at least some control over his body's actions.

Superhuman Strength: After becoming a zombie, Garth gained physical strength several times greater than he possessed in his mortal life. At his peak, Garth possessed sufficient superhuman strength to lift approximatley 1,200 lbs.

Superhuman Stamina: Since Garth's body was technically dead, his body was powered by the Loa. As a result, unlike most living beings, Garth's musculature produced considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity. At his peak, Garth could exert himself for several days before the mystical energies powering his body began to dwindle.

Superhuman Durability: Garth's body was more resistant to certain types of injury than those of a living human. Garth was resistant to great impact forces, such as falling from several stories or being repeatedly struck with superhuman force, that would severely injure or kill a normal human with little to no injury. Since Garth wasn't alive and had no need to breathe, he was couldn't be harmed by strangulation, suffocation, or the inhalation of toxic gasses. Even if he did choose to breathe, these methods of attack would still pose no threat to him.

Regenerative Healing Factor: Garth's lifeless and reanimated body possessed a superhuman healing ability that allowed him to rapidly regenerate damaged bodily tissue. Garth's healing powers were sufficient to fully recover from burns, lacerations, and multiple gunshot wounds within the span of a few hours. More severe injuries, such as a broken arm, could fully mend within about a day. Garth wasn't able to fully regenerate a severed limb, though it is believed that he could press a severed lim against the area it came from and that it would reattach itself. In order to facilitate their healing abilities, zombies are forced to consume the flesh of recently killed animals or humans at least once a week in order to prevent their bodies from decaying further. It is assumed that Garth had to as well, though there's no known instance of him doing so.

Mystical Senses: Much of the time, Garth possessed negligible brain activity and practically no sensory, memory, or reasoning capabilities like other zombies. Most of the time, he couldn't see, hear, taste, smell, or feel. Rather than the typical mortal senses, the Loa animated his body granted him certain types of primative senses that were mystical in origin. The most developed of those senses was his ability to perceive the call of whoever was in control of him, which motivated him to move in that particular direction.


Weaknesses

Zombies are vulnerable to the voodoo which gives them animation. The proper incantation and treatment of a voodoo doll can cause supernatural, debilitating pain to a zombie. A zombie can also be put to rest through the appropriate voodoo ceremony which forces the loa from his body.

Zombies are also particularly vulnerable to fire and fire-based attacks. If Garth were ever set on fire, his body would have eventually burned away if he were unable to extinguish the flames.


Equipment

Garth wore an amulet of mystical origin around his neck. He could be verbally commanded by anyone that possessed its counterpart. Since Garth wasn't capable of independent though or speech much of the time, though he could speak independently on very rare occasions, he could respond in a certain manner if someone in command of him ordered him to do so.

Notable Appearances

  • In December of 2006, Marvel Comics re-imagined the Zombie's origin in a four-issue limited series published under Marvel's MAX imprint.

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