Darkseid was. DCEASED is.
Okay Tom, you did it. You had me at “Darkseid was.” The rest? Well that was just the icing on the cake.
From DC Comics, DCeased brings together Australia’s own Tom Taylor, with penciller Trevor Hairsine, inker Stefano Gaudiano and colorist Rain Beredo for a zombie spectacle with a twist to rival Marvel’s entry to the genre.
The six-issue miniseries tackles the isolating nature of social media when DC’s god-of-all-things-bad, Darkseid, combines his half of the anti-life equation with Cyborg’s half using the force of death known only as the Black Racer. Darkseid’s hubris is his undoing, but not before he releases a plague like no other out into the DC universe. And just like that, Darkseid was. The result is a zombifying virus conveyed by both conventional methods and also by computer screen and the internet.
An Alternate Zombie Tale
Taylor as a writer is no stranger to alternate universe tales, of course, having penned DC’s widely critically acclaimed Injustice series and Earth 2. You’d think the zombie genre was all played out with The Walking Dead ending this month on issue #193, but Taylor combines a new way of contracting the virus (computer screen and the internet) with touching character moments that just aren’t possible in main continuity to serve something that feels new.
A lot of the characters in the DC universe who get taken for granted are the ones that Taylor finally gives the opportunity to move forward, from the mournful father in Alfred, to the newly minted Green Lantern, Black Canary Dinah Lance (cool, right?), to a fabulously written Harley Quinn. Jon Kent and Damian Wayne also give us a touching Super Sons moment. We even get the opportunity to see the original Aqualad (Garth, of course, who is now known as Tempest). What are the Birds of Prey up to? I dare you to find out.
The final, gut-punching moment of the issue, which delivers a tender and melancholy Kent family reunion, is absolutely heartbreaking.
Blood in the Water
The horror doesn’t end there, however, as the plague begins to reach far across the DC universe, even to the depths of Atlantis. Credit for this terrifying scene goes to Hairsine, Gaudiano and Beredo who perfectly render a zombified Aquaman leading zombified sharks in a wave of carnage through Atlantis, to the moment of dread when Mera realises just how the virus can be spread, but perhaps all too late.
But it’s not just Atlantis where the plague has spread, as we are treated to Black Lightning and daughters Thunder and Lightning facing off against a zombified Clayface (when you see it, it’s especially evil).
DCeased delivers the perfect mix of action, character progression, horror and heart, with storytelling true to Taylor’s form and art that amplifies the horror to proportions that feel appropriately epic. Together, Taylor, Hairsine, Gaudiano and Beredo deliver a comic that will scare you to death, and also break your heart. Yes, I’m talking to you fans of the Bat-family or Superman. This book will make you cry.
DCeased is also due for a 48-page special (entitled DCeased: A Good Day to Die), which drops 4 September 2019. It deals with the ramifications of this new world order for heroes such as Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Blue Beetle and Mr. Terrific.