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Resurrection Revenge

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Strike from behind and knock me to the ground
Kick me while I'm down!
Stab me in the back, you bastards
Tear my heart out of my chest!
I'll rise from the ashes, from these ruins of mine
From the wreckage
I'm right on your track, you bastards
A dozen of eyes for an eye - Vengeance is mine!
Sentenced, Vengeance is Mine

A character is Back from the Dead after being murdered (because of course it's Always Murder). They intend to kill whoever murdered them. This may be the reason they were brought back, or may simply be their natural reaction to being murdered. They may already know their target, or it may require a case of Whodunnit to Me?. If the plot is successful, the murderer is likely to be Hoisted By His Own Petard or suffer another Ironic Death. If unsuccessful, the victim may be Mistaken for Own Murderer.

May overlap with Resurrected for a Job or Purpose-Driven Immortality. Can overlap with Murder Into Malevolence if the character was really not a cruel or vengeful type at all before their death. Compare Vengeful Ghost where someone comes back for revenge, but neither alive or necessarily just to avenge their own death. This is often also the origin of a Revenant Zombie. Contrast Came Back Wrong, if the killing is not so focused. Sub-trope of Unfinished Business.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children: Ever since his death, Sephiroth has kept himself from being assimilated by the planet's Lifestream, by focusing on his hatred of the one who killed him: Cloud Strife. So his first order of business upon coming back to life, was to settle the score. But Cloud defeats him a second time, after a hard fought battle.
  • Dragon Ball: The movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' and its Dragonball Super adaptation centers around Frieza being resurrected and plotting a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the earthlings who defeated him. He ultimately fails due to rushing his revenge and not getting used to the stamina drain of his Super Mode.
  • In Inuyasha, after getting resurrected against her will, Kikyo swears vengeance against Inu-Yasha, blaming him for causing her death. However she set sights on her real target: Naraku.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Kamina willed himself back to life after being killed by Thymilph. He proceeded to invent Gurren Lagann's finishing move and Team Gurren to victory. Only to promptly die again as soon as the battle was over.
  • On Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, this leads to the creation of at least one Dark Signer — in particular, Carly Carmine. She's defeated in a duel and sent falling to her death, only to come back for a rematch against her killer — and sends him to the same fate.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Jason Todd, the second Robin, came back after a Retcon in the comics and became the Red Hood and started killing criminals as revenge for the Joker murdering him.
  • Preacher: Back when the Saint of Killers was still a man, he was killed mid-Roaring Rampage of Revenge by a band of outlaws who'd also killed his family. His hatred was such that it extinguished the fires of Hell, and he made a Deal with the Devil and the Angel of Death. He would be brought back to kill his murderers, and after that take over the Angel of Death's job. He does so (winning a pair of always-accurate, always-lethal, never-empty revolvers made from the Angel's sword), killing not only the murderers but the entire town they'd taken over and the Devil (for insulting him as he left Hell, allowing him to test the always-lethal nature of his guns).
  • The Warlord (DC): Chakal is resurrected by the Evil Sorcerer Deimos for his hatred of Travis Morgan, and becomes one of Deimos' servants.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Crow series, the titular bird-spirit resurrects those who are murdered in particularly tragic circumstances to give them a chance for vengeance against those who killed them (and usually, at least one loved one). The revenants so raised cannot be killed until their vengeance is complete, unless the crow that gives them their powers is killed first.
  • The Matrix Reloaded: Agent Smith lampshades the trope during his monologue, when he confronts Neo. He tells Neo that his death freed him from the restrictions of the Matrix, and... that he was there to repay him for trying to deny him the purpose of his existence, by returning the favor.
  • In Dead in Tombstone, Guerrero De La Cruz is betrayed and murdered by his gang, and ends up in hell. De La Cruz offers Lucifer a bargain: in return for his freedom, he will, within 24 hours, deliver the rest of the gang: Red, Baptiste, Ramos, Washington, Snake, and Darko. Lucifer agrees, but adds that if De La Cruz fails, his torments will be increased a thousandfold.
  • Two stories from Tales from the Hood have these. The first is a slain black politician going after the two racist cops who killed him. The second is more indirect as it deals with the spirits of slain slaves going after the racist grandson of their slave owner.
  • The Wraith features a gang of street racers who find themselves facing off with a mysterious new driver. The mysterious driver ends up killing each member of the gang one by one. At the end, it's revealed he's the ghost of a man murdered by the gang. Notably, the only member of the gang he spares was innocent of the murder.
  • The Field Guide to Evil: In "The Cobbler's Lot", Princess Boglarka returns from the dead to take revenge on the two brothers: Botand for driving her to suicide, and Tivald for being unfaithful.

  • In European folklore, the Revenant Zombie is often this in stories. The victim of an unjust death's corpse comes back as The Undead to either stalk the one responsible or simply punish the community by attacking people at night.

  • In the Anita Blake series, a zombie raised from a murdered person will always and immediately make a beeline for their killer and try to kill them.
  • In The Dark Hunters, this is the way the Goddess Artemis gains the titular warriors who work for her in the fight against the Soul Eating Daimons. After a person dies, at the moment of their death, they can make a call to her so that they can return to life as an extremely powerful and immortal supernatural being. They can then kill the person who wronged or killed them. In return for this, they become Dark hunters who then help her to protect humanity.
  • In Nightside, Dead Boy was once a promising and upcoming detective who ended up mugged and brutally murdered. His spirit made a deal with an entity to return him to life so he could avenge his death and kill his murderers. However, he discovered that once his soul was returned and now possessing said deceased body, he could not leave it or pass on and was now a member of the undead for all of eternity.
  • Catelyn Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire is resurrected at the end of the third book after being murdered along with most of her family in a massacre called the Red Wedding. Now known as Lady Stoneheart, she haunts the Riverlands with a band of outlaws executing anyone even loosely associated with the people responsible for the Red Wedding: the Freys, the Boltons, and the Lannisters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Charmed, the Villain Of The Week Abraxas manages to steal the Book of Shadows and resurrects some enemies the Charmed Ones have killed with their spells by reading said spells backwards. All of those villains go immediately after the Charmed Ones.
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Day of the Dove" has a Red Shirt resurrected by an Energy Being because it wanted him alive to be angry with and fight the Klingons.
  • The The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. episode "Bad Luck Betty" features a man who's apparently come back from the dead after (allegedly) being wrongly convicted of his wife's murder and hanged. It turns out his daughter was the murderer, he let himself hang to protect her and she's been doing the killings after being driven mad by guilt.
  • Supernatural: In the episode "Dark Side of the Moon", two other hunters kill Sam for inadvertently starting the Apocalype, then his brother Dean so he won't be gunning after them for the rest of his life. He tells them point-blank that it won't work (because of their own vital role in the battle between heaven and hell, the Winchesters have a limitless resurrection voucher).
    Dean: Go ahead, do it. But when I get back, and I will get back, I'm gonna be pissed.

  • "It Snows In Hell" by Lordi. The narrator rises from his grave to kill his lover who is responsible for his death.
  • The music video for Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" shows her rising from her grave, and the song has the lines: "Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time / I've got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined".
  • "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" by Warren Zevon. Roland is a Norwegian mercenary hired to fight in the Congo Crisis of the 1960s. He gets his head blown off by a CIA agent, which doesn't stop Roland tracking down the person concerned and returning the favour. He then goes on to haunt the warzones of the world as a headless ghost.
  • Sentenced's "Vengeance is Mine", as the quote above illustrates.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The revival of The Undertaker as the "Deadman" persona in 2004, following him being Buried Alive by his (kayfabe) half-brother Kane after losing a match of that type against Vince McMahon back in Survivor Series 2003, with Kane proclaiming Taker to be "dead and buried forever". On the road to WrestleMania XX, vignettes and shenanigans started to distract Kane, making him lose matches, and interrupting his "Undertaker is dead" promos. Come the aforementioned event, Taker interrupted a match between Kane and Goldberg (who didn't want nothing to do with the upcoming match and escaped after hearing the bell) and defeated his half-brother in order to secure his revenge.
  • Hilariously parodied by Joey Ryan at All In, as a form of "homage" to Taker's WMXX return. After being offed by "Hangman" Adam Page, there was a funeral held for him shown at Being the Elite where there was a lot of emphasis on his thing. Come the event, after Hangman won a Chicago Street Fight match against Joey Janela, the lights go off on the arena, a video of him having an erection is shown, and eight men dressed as penis (simulating Undertaker's druids) appear on stage to receive the "resurrected" Ryan, who then proceeds to waste Hangman and throw him to the aforementioned "dick druids" who carry the Hangman backstage.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition AD&D Fiend Folio. Certain exceptional characters have a chance of coming back from death as a revenant (a type of undead) to gain revenge on their killer(s). The revenant will ceaselessly track down the creatures that killed it and slay them without mercy. Once it has completed its task, it will disintegrate.
  • Forgotten Realms: 3rd Edition supplement Faiths and Pantheons. A zin-carla is a type of undead created by a priestess of the drow Top Goddess Lolth, whereby the spirit of the subject is forcibly returned to its body to carry out a task imposed by the priestess. If the creator loses control of the zin-carla for any reason, it will become a free-willed undead that will seek only vengeance against its creator and will crumble to dust if it succeeds in killing her.

    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: In a variant, in the True Ending, Asimov shot both Gunvolt and Joule. The latter, because of her powers, manages to survive as a psychic being, and she decides to fuse herself with an almost dying Gunvolt to save him. After he wakes up, he goes right to Asimov, both as payback for killing them and to stop Asimov from committing genocide.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Penthesilea of Greek myth can be summoned as a Berserker-class Servant. She has an intense grudge against Achilles, the one who killed her in life; though it's mainly because Achilles slipped his tongue and said that she's beautiful right before her death, something that is seen as a major insult to the Amazon tribe (especially as she's their queen).
  • A variant and proxy example in Kingdom Hearts II. When Sora "dies" at the end of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Ansem the Wise (under the name DiZ) agrees to help Naminé and Riku revive him. However, Ansem wants to use the reanimated Sora for revenge against Organization XIII, especially against their leader Xemnas. Things don't go as planned; Sora eventually comes to sympathize with most of the Organization, Riku abandons Ansem when he learns the truth, and even Ansem himself admits his mistakes in the end and becomes The Atoner.
  • Legacy of Kain: Both Kain and Raziel are resurrected and manipulated by Mortanius the Necromancer and the Elder God respectively to take revenge on those who killed them. As it turns out, Mortanius had good reason for doing so, while the Elder God didn't.
  • Mega Man X:
    • Sigma gets increasingly obsessed with revenge on X and Zero every time they kill him. Though part of it is that Sigma acknowledges the two of them as the ones who foiled his plans a lot, so he wants them dead to ensure that his real plan (creating a world for robots) can go smoothly.
    • Vile gets resurrected by Dr. Doppler in Mega Man X3 to capture X to be studied, but makes it clear he's got a score to settle and is going to kill X no matter what, which Doppler is begrudgingly okay with so long as he gets it done. When he's destroyed a second time, he vows to come back (which he does) for revenge again and again:
    Vile: This isn't the end, X! I will haunt you until the day... you... die...
  • Mortal Kombat has two ninjas named Scorpion and Sub-Zero. In the back story, Sub-Zero killed Scorpion before entering the tournament. Scorpion has now come back from the dead for his revenge.
  • In Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney: Trials And Tribulations, one of the two antagonists (although not the culprit) of the final case is Dahlia Hawthorne, the same woman Mia Fey successfully proved guilty of murder in the first (though second chronologically) flashback case she was sent to the gallows and hanged for her crime. Since Mia is now dead as well, which means that Dahlia has no way of getting revenge on her directly, she agrees to Morgan Fey's plan to get Pearl Fey to channel her spirit, upon which she would murder Mia's younger sister Maya. Their mother Misty Fey discovered the plot and got Maya to channel Dahlia's spirit herself to prevent Dahlia from finding her.
  • In Pillars of Eternity, if you choose to kill Lord Raedric The Paladin, he will come back as a Black Knight with no other purpose than to kill you in revenge, threatening to slaughter the nearby town if you don't show up to fight him.
  • Quake Champions has the "Revenge" medal, granted after someone fragged the last player who fragged them.
    • Call of Duty multiplayer modes feature a similar medal (in Modern Warfare games, it's called Payback and it shows a bunch of bills dropped to the ground when you kill your last killer.)
  • In Street Fighter V, Charlie Nash is resurrected by the Illuminati and becomes completely obsessed with killing his murderer, M. Bison.
  • Unreal Tournament III: This is part of the mechanics of the Betrayal Mode. After a betrayal (which, of course, can only be done by fragging a teammate in order to get the pot points for the fragger, i.e. the whole point of the game mode), the team members can chase the betrayer for a retribution and extra points.
  • Warcraft III: The Reincarnation ability allows the unit that has it to return from death after a few seconds at full health and mana, possessed by high-level creeps and the Tauren Chieftain hero. The Ankh of Reincarnation is an item which gives the holder a watered-down version (it restores 500 health and no mana).
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The crux of the plot has Ganon's followers attempting to kill Link, because they need the blood of the one who slew their Master in order to resurrect him. Thereby killing two birds with one stone.