DC’s DCeased (say it five times fast) was a book whose success I never saw coming and has been pretty welcomed by the comic community as a whole. It’s a comic that’s been moving in an upwards direction at such a quick pace without really depreciating in quality which I haven’t seen a comic do in years. Since it’s from the mind of the terrific Tom Taylor, I really shouldn’t be surprised though. The man knows how to write a good story. Check out the Injustice: Gods Among Us tie-in comic and All-New Wolverine for proof.
DCeased is on a roll with a great original story and two unconventional tie-in comic series. Now a tried and true sequel is here to follow the adventures and horrors that this universe has in store for its characters and us, in the form of DCeased: Dead Planet. Are you ready to get your hearts torn out? Too late we’ve already started the review! Let’s go!
The issue picks up with a small recap of the events of the first story. Cyborg contracts an Anti-Life virus that is uploaded to the internet that turns a chunk of the populace of earth into zombies. Through trials and tribulations some of our heroes and the remaining population of earth were able to escape to a new planet they call Earth-2, though not without the loss of a significant part of the superhero community. Batman, Green Lantern and The Flash are all dead. Wonder Woman and Superman are Anti-Life zombies and Cyborg is a severed head left behind on Earth.
We quickly check in on John Constantine, one of the survivors of the Anti-Life apocalypse. He’s at the Oblivion Bar drinking his sorrows away next to the ashes of his dead friend Chas and being haunted by the ghosts of those he let down during the apocalypse.
Next we revisit Cyborg who, as I mentioned before, is just a head left in the decrepit zombie wastelands of Earth. It’s been five years since the events of the last book and Victor Stone is just a head left to ponder life and search within himself. Luckily during his soul searching he finds a tracker that Batman put on him, (because of course he did), and turns it on to send a message to the heroes who escaped to Earth-2.
Meanwhile on Earth-2, our surviving heroes like Jon Kent / Superboy (now Superman), Cassie Sandsmark / Wonder Girl (now Wonder Woman), and Dinah Drake / Black Canary / Green Canary are fighting off an invading alien armada who aren’t taking kindly to new neighbors in the solar system. The heroes take down the alien defenses from the outside while Damien Wayne / Robin (now Batman) infiltrates the capital ship and wipes the floor with the guards inside until he gets to the leader of the aliens. While Damien would prefer to threaten and intimidate them, Jon reminds him the mission here is a diplomatic one and intervenes before Damien can cause any more damage. He invites the aliens to meet with their leader, President Lois Lane of Earth-2. They begin their talks of peace when Damien is interrupted by Alfred who alerts him that Cyborg’s beacon has come online.
The Justice League meets to decide the best course of action regarding the distress signal. There’s a layer of skepticism permeating the League, coming mostly from Green Arrow. He argues that they’ve been through a lot (setting up a new society, fighting alien invaders, surviving a zombie apocalypse), but Jon Kent / Superman is on board so everyone else agrees and they all decide to return to earth. Oliver Queen makes his points but ultimately agrees to go because of peer pressure and to not be separated from his wife. The two also exchange some witty banter and promise that they will both return to Earth-2 safe and sound in a fun and caring moment.
So the heroes go to Earth to see if they can rescue Cyborg. The team does hit somewhat of a cosmic checkpoint outside of Earth with the Green Lantern Kilowog. It seems the Green Lantern Corps set up a rotating guard around Earth. They want to make sure that nothing comes in or out of the planet and to keep an eye on the Sun as Zombie Superman is still in there, gradually sucking its energy away. Speaking of Superman his dog Krypto shows up to reunite with Jon. It’s a nice little moment before we get into the carnage of the dead planet itself.
The League homes in on Cyborg’s tracker and finds his head. They wrap it in the Lasso of Truth to see what he actually wants to say, since being a head must be rough on his non-existent vocal cords. Time runs out for a full-on conversation as a horde of zombies comes rushing in. The team takes Cyborg and his body back with them and leaves Earth. It’s then that their ship is hit and torn in two by Zombie Wonder Woman who then kills Green Arrow in the aftermath. This sends Green Canary into a murderous rage, using her sonic scream to tear into Diana (and what’s left of Ollie, unfortunately) before using her Green Lantern abilities to beat the crap out of her. She then takes the God Killer sword she gave Oliver early in the book and tries to finish Zombie Wonder Woman with it. The issue ends with Jon Kent / Superman attempting to stop Dinah from killing Zombie Wonder Woman because Cyborg finally speaks, revealing that there is a cure. Unfortunately, Jon gets in between the sword and Diana and is stabbed.
I’ve got to say this is a pretty darn good start to the sequel to DCeased. I do have one criticism regarding this issue and it’s that it felt a bit short. It’s not really a big problem for the comic as the pacing is done pretty well and it moves along pretty naturally. It’s more the fact that I was reading this book and was surprised where it ended. I feel like it ended pretty quickly but at the same time it felt like we got everything that was needed. Checking in with characters from the previous series, building the universe since the previous series, and giving us some moments of levity to weigh out the gut-wrenching horror that this book has were all present but the comic still left me wanting more. I would guess that’s a good thing.
Anyway, DCeased: Dead Planet #1 was a really fun start to this new entry into Tom Taylor’s DC zombie saga. I like that we got to see what the younger characters have become five years later. Damian as Batman is fun with him still being unique to his Robin identity while also trying to live up to Bruce. Jon Kent as Superman follows in Clark’s footsteps perfectly. Smaller touches in the issue were appreciated too. Lois Lane as President of Earth-2 is a cool addition to the universe as well as the reunion between Krypto and Jon Kent. I’m calling it now: Krypto might not make it to the end of the book. I’m seriously thinking we might get some John Wick type incident and Superman might go berserk. No good can come of this!!!
With a possible cure in the works as mentioned by Cyborg we might get a happy ending…in an alternate universe written by Tom Taylor… A guy can dream, right?
Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine did a fantastic job with this issue. The great dialogue, an interesting story line, and some solid artwork all came together to bring a great start to what I’m hoping is an unconventional and entertaining zombie story.
Verdict: 8/10 Anti-Life Zombies