Superman and the gang may have found the key to discovering the cure, but there are more problems than just the Anti-Life Zombies. Enter John Constantine the Hellblazer. John’s got a plan to deal with the more arcane and magical threats that our heroes face. What’s the plan? Let’s find out together in issue five of DCeased: Dead Planet.
We open the issue with Constantine meeting Etrigan the Demon at the Tower of Fate to get an update on the Trigon situation. Etrigan warns that they’ve got only three days until Trigon comes topside and burns everything on the planet. This convinces Swamp Thing to put the rescue of the Australian bunker on hold and team up with John to deal with Trigon. So how exactly do these two Vertigo superstars deal with this problem? They put together a team of superheroes and deal out some dirty deeds of their own of course! A New Justice League Dark if you will.
So who’s on the team? Since Superman took most of the League with him to New Genesis, basically whoever is left. Damian Wayne / Batman, Red Hood, Cassandra Cain / Batgirl, and newly inducted member of the Bat-family, Ravager all answered the call. In this universe, Ravager is married to Jason Todd and is ecstatically welcomed into the Bat-family by Damian, because she also has complex, unresolved father issues. While these heroes are no strangers to the darker side of super-heroics, they instinctively don’t trust John. Constantine does give his word that no one will die that isn’t already dead.
With everyone together, the team sets out for their first adventure to Nanda Parbat, where nobody dies except for a plethora of zombie League of Assassins ninjas that got caught sieging the city when the virus hit. The team attempts to fight their way through the horde but is relieved by the intervention of Deadman and the monks of the walled city. Once inside the city, we discover exactly why the team headed here: the Spear of Destiny. In the Bible, it’s the spear that pierced Jesus’ body at the crucifixion, but in the DC Universe it’s a god killer. Constantine takes the spear and uses it to incapacitate Rama Kushna. Constantine then uses Ragman’s rags to take Deadman’s soul, trapping him in the cloak since he’s nothing but a spirit.
The team’s a bit shocked by what just happened but they don’t have time to process it all as John and Swamp Thing move the team to the next magical place they need to steal stuff from: The Rock of Eternity. Once there, Ravager’s future sense kicks in and she sees zombie Captain Marvel Jr. crushing her husband Red Hood in half. The thing about Rose’s future sense is that she can only see pretty closely into the future, meaning she can’t do much about what’s going to happen and she gets to see zombie Captain Marvel Jr. crush Red Hood for a second time. The team retaliates; Batgirl picks up the wizard Shazam’s staff and quite literally wipes the floor with Captain Marvel Jr. Rose gets one last moment with Jason before he dies and then the team sets off for home base.
Once at home, Ravager berates Constantine for sacrificing her husband. Batman punches John in the face for killing both Jason and Deadman. The team then leaves John to be confronted by the Spectre and the issue ends with John Constantine successfully staring him down.
DCeased: Dead Planet #5 was a hell of a ride and a great follow-up to the previous issue. Seeing what the rest of the main cast was doing while Superman and the Justice League are finding the cure was interesting and a great juxtaposition between what lengths Constantine and his team went through vs. what Superman and his team are going through. This issue also served as a great reunion for the cast of DCeased: Unkillables until Jason Todd is killed. I love the “anyone can be killed off at a moment's notice” nature of this series. It really does hit you in the gut every once in a while. Speaking of Unkillables, Cassie Cain getting the powers of Shazam was an unexpected but awesome turn for both the character and the book. Not only do we get a short but epic fight between Cain and zombie Captain Marvel Jr., but her redesigned costume that incorporates both Shazam and Batman family aspects is great.
One final thing of note that is exemplified in this issue but present throughout the series is Tom Taylor’s really great grasp on John Constantine’s character. This entire issue is just John Constantine getting the job done by burning people because they’re a means to an end. He even scares the Spectre, who is literally God’s Spirit of Vengeance, into buggering off. I know Tom’s currently writing a three-issue Black Label Hellblazer miniseries but I do hope he gets to write more of the character in the future because of this series and specifically this issue.
Great dialogue, killer comedic lines and a few vengeful mic drop moments not to mention some fantastic art, DCeased: Dead Planet #5 continues the overall story fantastically. Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine keep putting out quality content that can be enjoyed by anyone from newcomers to hardcore DC fans. To reiterate, if you're not putting this in your pull list or planning on ordering the trade from your local comic book shop, get on it!!!
Verdict: 8/10 Mystical God Killing Weapons