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Zombie Apocalypse Hero

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Under attack by zombies? Who You Gonna Call?note 
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The Zombie Apocalypse has hit! Flesh Eating Zombies have been unleashed upon the world and humanity is getting eradicated as we speak. So to survive this new world of zombies, it stands to reason it takes a tougher than average badass who excels in cutting through these walking corpses.

Meet the Zombie Apocalypse Hero, a Stock Character found in either a Zombie Apocalypse story, an Episode of the Dead, or other setting with zombies. This character is either an Action Hero or Action Survivor who finds they have a talent for slaying zombies. They may even become a go to specialist that is called upon for their services to clear out zombie outbreaks.

Common picks for their Weapon of Choice include guns (particularly Sawed Off Shotguns), machetes, chainsaws, crowbars, or some other weapon efficient at making the undead, properly dead.

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The discovery of these characters often comes as an unexpected surprise considering their average and unremarkable civilian identity. Expect The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People to be in play.

Note that not every person who is in a Zombie Apocalypse counts. They have to be shown to be proficient in fending off the hordes and staying alive.

Subtrope of Hunter of Monsters or Action Survivor with the specialty being zombies.


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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Highschool of the Dead: Takashi's team are a group of highschool students who find themselves in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and band together to survive and make their way to a safe zone.
  • Zombie Land Saga:
    • Sakura Minamoto showed herself to be one upon waking up in a mansion inhabited by zombies, being able to fend them off with nothing but a fireplace poker and managing to escape... only to discover she herself is a zombie.
    • The reoccurring unnamed Policeman seems to think he's one, always ready to shoot the one of the zombie girls on sight whenever he stumbles across one. He's lucky he's not in a real Zombie Apocalypse, as he'd make a very poor one considering how he always breaks down in sheer terror.

    Comics Books 
  • DCeased: Darkseid's death results in the Anti-Life Equation turning people into ravenous undead monsters. Several heroes are infected as well including Wonder Woman, Superman, Captain Atom and Aquaman. The remaining uninfected heroes which include Damian Wayne, Jason Todd, Cassandra Cain and John Constantine.
  • Marvel Universe: The S.H.I.E.L.D. sub-agency A.R.M.O.R.note  is introduced in Marvel Zombies as a group of self-appointed Guardians of the Multiverse. One of their main objectives is to fight, contain and ultimately eradicate the zombie infection that has spread to several other realities and transformed all of their inhabitants into flesh-eating undead. A.R.M.O.R. agents (in particular, Machine Man) are the most recurring protagonists because most of them (being demons, machines, and other creatures without mortal flesh) are immune to zombification.
  • The Walking Dead: Rick Grimes is not only The Hero of the setting, but the Big Good, having helped restore order in the post-apocalyptic world.

    Films 
  • Cockneys vs. Zombies has a band of misfit bank robbers and an old war veteran ending up as this trope. Still armed with their bank robbing weapons, they find themselves in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse and must fight their way out.
  • Evil Dead: Ash Williams, Deadite hunter extraordinaire. His Weapons of Choice are a Sawed-Off Shotgun dubbed his "Boomstick" and a chainsaw that replaces his amputated hand.
  • Go Goa Gone is an Indian zombie movie set in the island of Goa, where Boris, a Russian-Indian mafioso, goes to a rave party only to have a zombie virus outbreak happening at the beach resort where the rave takes place. Boris, realizing he's one of the few lucky survivors, ends up kicking all sorts of ass and taking on an entire island full of zombies while waiting for evacuation.
  • Land of the Dead: Riley Denbo and the crew of the Cool Car "Dead Reckoning" that specializes in traveling through zombie infested areas. He and his team are tasked with bringing back supplies to Pittsburgh-outpost, mowing through hordes of zombies on a day-to-day basis.
  • Resident Evil: Canon Foreigner Alice is the main zombie hunting heroine of the films, though unlike most examples she is actually superhuman, making her a Token Super among her allies.
  • Shaun of the Dead: Shaun who starts off as a Loser Protagonist ends up transitioning into a badass zombie-slaying Action Survivor over the course of the film.
  • Zombieland, the main cast are a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits who together make for a formidable zombie killing team. Notably Columbus who represents The Everyman Action Survivor and Tallahasse who is a hardened tough-as-nails Action Hero.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Zombicide: As you might guess from the title, all the Player Characters are this: a collection of survivors from multiple walks of life united with the common goal of gathering what supplies they can and getting the hell out of the zombie-infested city they're in. Oh, and slaughtering every undead monstrosity that gets in the way with the aid of an assortment of guns, chainsaws, katanas, Molotov Cocktails...

    Video Games 
  • Age of Zombies: Barry Steakfries, a (former) gramophone salesman, who ends up on a mission to destroy hordes of undead after a Mad Scientist sends an army of zombies back in time to destroy the human race. A follow-up game, Monster Dash, depicts him as general Hunter of Monsters instead, though it still involves zombies.
  • Dead Rising: The various protagonists including Frank West, Chuck Greene, and Nick Ramos are all characterized as The Everyman who find themselves within a zombie outbreak and have to fight their way through. Notable for having the ability of MacGyvering together Mix And Match Weapons to cut through the zombies.
  • Dead Space: Isaac Clarke is just a run-of-the-mill space engineer who finds himself having to rely mostly on industrial equipment as weaponry against the undead, hyper-aggressive Necromorphs.
  • The Last of Us: Joel and Ellie are a Badass and Child Duo who must survive a post-apocalyptic world overrun by people infected with Cordyceps fungus. As Ellie is The Immune she is a Living MacGuffin that Joel must protect at all costs in the hopes of creating a cure. The two of them utilize an assortment of weapons to take down both the infected and hostile humans.
  • Left 4 Dead: All of the survivors are a Badass Crew going up against hordes infected with nothing but guns and their wits. Some of them have had formal combat training, while others are just average Joes.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Chris Redfield, a former US Army pilot turned rookie police officer in Raccoon City who becomes trapped in a mansion full of zombies. He would later form an organisation to counter bioterrorism and one of the key figures in combating the Umbrella Corporation, responsible for the engineering of the monstrosities.
    • Leon S. Kennedy. Starting off as a cop-in-training who finds himself thrown into a Zombie Apocalypse on his first day. However he soon discovers he has a knack for killing the infected and gets recruited as a special agent for dealing with outbreaks.
    • Ethan Winters stands out among his predecessors as the Action Survivor variant, due to lacking any formal training, essentially The Everyman thrown into the carnage with nothing notable but his sheer determination. However he gradually Took a Level in Badass until he's just as formidable of a zombie killing machine as the other protagonists.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • The apocalypse has forced Clementine to become a hardened and resourceful survivor that has to know how to deal with both walkers and people. After Lee died, she had to teach herself how to be a Little Miss Badass, the result is arguably one of the finest examples of this trope.
    • Lee Everett has taken to life during a zombie apocalypse quite well, being proficient with weapons (and his own fists when needed), and handles different people and situations well. He also gives Clem some essential tools to be a hero herself, including how to shoot a handgun.
    • Michonne in the eponymous story is definitely this, following on from her TV and comic counterparts. Pete and Sam are reliable allies and are adept in combat and strategic decision-making.
    • In A New Frontier, Javier García and his family have become these, being able to hold their own and contribute to their own survival and that of others in different ways.
    • Alvin Junior in The Final Season has become a partner in crime for Clem, being surprisingly useful for a 5-6 year old boy. He frequently contributes in combat scenarios, and is very driven to achieve anything he deems necessary.
    • Several NPCs can also qualify, including Kenny, Carley, Lilly (Season 1), Molly, Luke, Jane, Tripp, Louis and Violet. These characters have all shown to be capable fighters and key group members.

    Western Animation 
  • Rick and Morty: The episode "Rick Potion #9" has Rick accidentally unleashing an apocalypse where the entire population are turned into hideously deformed mutants called Cronenbergs. The only survivors are Morty?s family members, due to being immune to the concoction that mutated the human race. The Smith family proceed to Took a Level in Badass and become hardened Cronenberg slaying Action Survivors, while Rick and Morty escape to another dimension.
  • 6teen: The episode "Dude of the Living Dead" has the gang finding the mall having succumbed to a Zombie Apocalypse and must fight their way out while rescuing as many survivors as they can. Among their group: Ron the Rent-A-Cop and Darth Mall prove to be especially badass, with Ron literally tearing the limbs off a zombie, while Darth Mall pulls a You Shall Not Pass! to let his friends escape and cuts up the zombies with his lightsaber. The gang also make a Last Stand before the horde closes in on them. It's also revealed to be All Just a Dream where Jude wakes up.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Dial "Z" for Zombie", the first ever Episode of the Dead, has Homer of all characters take on this role. Homer brandishes his family's shotgun and protects them as he blasts his way through multiple zombies.
    • "Don't Have a Cow Humanity" has a Bait-and-Switch, where it initially looks like Rainer Wolfcastle would fill this role when he attempts to come to the Simpson family's rescue, but he promptly gets killed right after. The true holder of said title ends up being Apu, who reveals as a convenience store owner he is armed to the teeth along with possessing an apocalypse worthy Cool Car.
  • Total Drama: Shawn is both a parody and tribute to this trope, being a Zombie Conspiracy Nut who believes a Zombie Apocalypse is inevitable and has been preparing his whole life for it. He's a Genre Savvy walking encyclopedia when it comes to all things zombies and The Ace when it comes to surviving in the wilderness.
  • In the fifth episode of What If...? (2021), Spider-Man becomes a zombie hunter in an alternate timeline.
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