Here we are at issue #2 of DCeased, where we see the body count continue to rise and our heartstrings continue to be pulled as we worry about the fate of some of our favorite characters from the DC Universe. Tom Taylor’s words ignite Trevor Hairsine’s pencils as we peer into a (don’t call it an) “Elseworld” of the DCU proper. The stakes are high, so things can and will change, but the normal status quo will be preserved; but we do get that thrill of seeing the World’s Greatest Heroes pressed to the max. Don’t worry, exposing yourself to the internet won’t infect you, and you’ll be safe reading this review. So let’s dive into this issue and get our spoilers on!
This issue begins in the Atlantic Ocean so we can discover what is happening to Aquaman and see how far the infection is spreading. We have a narration in past tense, but with font and color choices we aren’t given a clue of who it could be, which adds to the mystery of who survives and who doesn’t; it seems to be in style with the first issue as well. So Aquaman boards a scary looking cargo carrier and once inside he comes to find the crew is “zombified” and once they see him, the fight is on. Aquaman manages to get out of the room and topside, but the horde of people keep pursuing him to the edge of the boat and eventually overboard. Now we don’t see Aquaman get bit, so maybe there is still hope.
Now we shift back to Metropolis and the apartment of the Kent family. Clark, Jon, and Damian are in full costume; Jon and Damian are talking which shows that Jon is definitely feeling nervous and even admits this might be Armageddon. Superman wants to check in on Smallville but doesn’t want to leave his family alone, so Lois suggests they go to the Daily Planet. Scene shifts to Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in Gotham City where it looks like Harley is going to confront the Joker about their past; Harley pushes to avoid the situation or even have Ivy join her but Ivy resists and encourages her to do this. Sadly it is very bad timing to as we see Joker has been looking at screens and has the scratches on his face, so it looks like he is infected by the Anti-Life Equation.
This was a hard scene as we finally get to see Ollie, Dinah, and Hal together; even better they are hanging out and camping. Of course the couple would stick together and they make fun of Hal’s whining about camping to the point where Ollie calls him weak-willed, which is funny considering how Hal puts it, “That’s…I’m literally known intergalactically for the strength of my will.” Hal walks away to turn in but just like the rest of us he will check his phone which exposes him to the equation. So now we have an infected Green Lantern attacking Ollie and Dinah; this fight really showcases Dinah’s abilities as when she sees Ollie in mortal danger she comes through with the sonic cry and takes a GL down. The cry was loud enough to even register on Superman’s hearing for him to leave and head there way.
This then leaves Lois, Jon, and Damian on the rooftop of the Daily Planet with infected people inside; so if you’re a fan of the Daily Planet bullpen, be ready to suffer the loss that Lois and Clark will knowing some of their friends are inside and infected. Superman arrives to where Ollie and Dinah are just in time to see the ring’s chosen replacement…Dinah Lance of Earth. This is a great choice and Tom Taylor has shown in Injustice that he believes this character has amazing potential. Dinah doesn’t want the GL power ring, but even Superman urges her to keep it as who knows what they will be facing.
Now comes the hardest part of the book. You see that Damian has made contact with his father, Batman, and now we get to see what Batman’s fate was from the last issue. Batman wants you to know “they’re not zombies,” but they’re consumed with hunger and are just spreading Death by stealing Life; so maybe we can call them “Anti-Living Dead?” Batman has managed to slow his infection by getting inside a Mr. Freeze suit to slow his metabolism and the virus. The hard part about this page is seeing Alfred at his side ready with the shotgun for that final moment.
Superman wants to comfort Batman but Batman says there is no time for it, and then Green Arrow goes into a rant about how this isn’t the way Batman dies, like it should be bigger. Damian finally calls to his dad and Batman lets him know that Alfred has something, which we see is a suitcase with a Bat symbol on it. Bruce mentions he wants him to have this and is sorry he won’t see get it, because the virus is too much. Batman breaks the freeze helmet with his hands and then lunges out at Alfred, to which Alfred does his duty and this page and issue ends with a literal bang.
This story arc has the perfect writer as Tom Taylor has played in a DCU with high stakes and high losses with the Injustice tie in comic. The cliffhanger of Aquman, the sudden loss of Green Lantern yet the rise of another, and the Death of Batman were just perfectly handled by Tom Taylor. He must have a great affinity for Dinah Lance, as he handled her greatly in Injustice, but this time he really shows her strength and willpower. Alfred Pennyworth gets a major spotlight again as showing he will do what it takes– the last quote of his in the issue was just so heart heavy and really adds to his resolve.
I’m glad with this issue we got to see more characters and I’m sure that will be the case with this six issue mini-series, but hopefully with next issue we will be seeing more outside of the Bat and Super families. I know I went into this thinking it would just be “Marvel Zombies” in the DCU, but with the Anti-Life Equation being used this has become more and it’s scary; which is great for us.
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