They’ve already come to get Barbara, not to mention Bruce, Diana, Clark, and the rest of the Justice League. With the world ravaged by Darkseid’s corrupted anti-life equation, only the villains remain to face the unliving horde. Thankfully, the survivors’ new leaders, Deathstroke and Red Hood, aren’t stingy with their bullets when they’re trying to make sure the dead are “dead, dead.”
“The worst of the undead combined with the worst of the living.”
Like a zombie shambling toward its unsuspecting prey, DCEASED: Unkillables #1 slowly builds our excited trepidation as we anticipate that big, meaty crunch. Following Deathstroke and Red Hood’s separate storylines, this issue sets the stage for the villains’ epic gameplan for the end of days. Much to our delight, Taylor and Mostert’s excellent scripting and arresting visuals provide us with a feast of narrative beats to sink our teeth into as we wait for the inevitable.
It is impossible to talk about one creator without referencing the other because DCEASED: Unkillables #1 is a perfect marriage between Taylor and Mostert’s work. Tom Taylor’s writing is exemplary in this issue. From Deathstroke carving through a horde of “Nazi @#$% Zombies” to the Red Hood’s rescue of Commissioner Gordon, Taylor’s dialogue perfectly punctuates each moment. Additionally, Tom Taylor’s work provides levity to each situation in a way that left me smiling without undercutting the moment. Between Taylor’s use of humor, the use of stylistic violence, and gore, this issue reads like the best zombie films from the 2000s and 2010s.
However, none of this would work as well without Karl Mostert’s artwork, Trevor Scott, Neil Edwards, and John Livesay’s inks, and Rex Lokus’ colors. The panel depicting Deathstroke tearing at his head through his mask after succumbing to the corrupted anti-life equation is horrifying and beautiful. Similarly, the panels depicting Slade’s return to life after his healing factor kicks in is equally amazing. Mostert renders Slade’s revival by showing his point of view. To accomplish this, the artwork transitions the mercenary’s vision from black to a panel filled red splotches before entirely clearing up. This transition does an excellent job of building suspense as the reader tries to figure out what is going on.
Additionally, Tom Taylor’s writing is fantastic here as Deathstroke’s “What the @#$%?” echoes the thoughts of the readers. Additionally, this opening sequence does give us some insight as to why this series has the word “unkillables” in it, especially once Slade meets up with a group of similarly powered individuals. Will these individuals live up to this name, or are they destined to die? We’ll see once Taylor puts their name to the test.
I won’t spoil all the jaw-dropping moments of this issue. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Batmobile’s new hood ornament. Mostert’s rendering of the classic vehicle hurtling down the deserted road with its new decoration will undoubtedly stay with me for quite some time. Additionally, it is evident that Taylor has completely gotten in the reader’s head as I found myself saying, “This is pretty @#$%ed up,” at the same time as Jim Gordon. Once again, this is a perfect example of Taylor’s comedic writing. This dialogue is something I never imagined Gordon saying, but it just feels so right. It’s also hard to argue with Red Hood’s response that:
“It’s an apocalypse… Don’t judge me.”
With arresting visuals and witty scripting, DCEASED: Unkillables #1 is absolute perfection. Tom Taylor’s scripting provides not only jaw-dropping moments of horror but also the humor needed to balance the darkness. Taylor’s dialogue perfectly punctuates each moment with words that feel like they’re coming straight from my mouth. None of this would be as effective without Mostert’s artwork. The entire art team has crafted a book of beautiful yet horrifying images that will haunt you long after reading. The creators are obviously having just as much fun working on this title as I am reading it. Evoke your inner 28 Days Later zombie and run, don’t limp, to your local comic book shop to pick up this book.