DCeased got off to a fine start with the first issue. Tom Taylor immediately set up what the status of the DCeased DC Universe is and what would cause it to become a zombie-like apocalypse. Centering the cause for this apocalypse around the Anti-Life Equation was a good tone setter. It showed those unfamiliar with Taylor’s past work that he has a great understanding of the DCU. It also put one of the most fascinating elements of the DCU, in the form of the Anti-Life Equation, front and center to create the conflict that the Justice League and our favorite DC heroes to overcome. Now that the set up is out of the way what else does Taylor have in store for us? Let’s find out DCeased #2.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On a freighter ship Aquaman searches for any passengers. When he opens the door to a room on the ship he finds a massive number of zombiefied people tearing each other apart. All of the zombies immediately turn their attention to Aquaman and attack him. The fighting leads Aquaman and the zombies into the water.
Over at the Kent’s apartment in Metropolis, Superboy (Jon Kent) and Robin (Damian Wayne) talk about if they are worried about what is going on.
Meanwhile Lois Lane tells Superman that her parents are alive and going into their bunker. Superman says he needs to head to Smallville. Lois asks Superman to first drop her, Superboy and Robin off at the Daily Planet.
Over in Gotham City Harley Quinn tells Poison Ivy that her plan is a terrible idea. After some flirting Poison Ivy says that she knows that Harley is strong enough to execute their plan alone and face her monster.
Inside a building Harley finds Joker staring at TV screens. Harley tells Joker that she has been doing a lot of thinking and says their lives together are over. It is then shown from a look at Joker’s face, that Harley can’t see, that he has been turned into a zombie.
Just outside Metropolis Oliver Queen, Dinah Lance and Hal Jordan are sitting around a fire during a camping trip. Hal quickly grows bored. Oliver makes fun of Hal for not enjoying the time they have to relax after saving the world from Apokolips’ forces. Hal gets tired of Oliver’s joke and decides to turn in for the night.
Minutes later Hal bursts out of his tent after powering up his Green Lantern ring. Oliver and Dinah recover from being blasted across their camping area. They are shocked to see Hal in a zombie-like state.
Hal’s ring tries to keep the zombie Hal from using lethal force. As Hal is about to kill Oliver, Dinah uses her Canary Cry at maximum power kill Hal.
Back in Metropolis Superman, Lois, Superboy and Robin land on top of the Daily Planet. Superman scans inside the Daily Planet and sadly states it is not safe to go inside.
Superman then suddenly hears a scream and tells Lois about it.
Outside Metropolis, Dinah and Oliver are shocked to hear Hal’s Green Lantern ring state that Hal is dead. The ring then chooses Dinah to be its next wielder and transforms her into a Green Lantern.
Dinah, still in shock over Hal’s death, hesitates to take on the Green Lantern role. Superman shows up and tells Dinah that they are going to need her and the Green Lantern’s power.
Superman, Green Lantern Dinah and Green Arrow then regroup with Lois and the others on top of the Daily Planet. Robin tells everyone that Batman has contacted him.
Batman, who is in the Batcave, and reveals to everyone that people aren’t being turned into zombies but into beings that are stealing life who he dubs the “Anti-Living” and that it is triggered by an equation. He goes on to reveal that he has been infected but was able to slow down the virus by using a modified version of Mr. Freeze’s suit, though he will also turn into an Anti-Living.
Everyone is shocked by this but Batman says he has no time to waste. Batman states tells them that they must destroy every person who is an Anti-Living and take down the internet to stop the virus from spreading any further.
Batman then tells Robin that he is giving Alfred something to give to him. He goes on to say that he always knew Damian would earn the gift one day and is sorry that he isn’t able to give it to him personally. Robin tries to talk to his dad but is unable to get a response.
In the Batcave Batman fully turns into an Anti-Living. Alfred tells the computer to shut down the transmission and then shoots the Anti-Living Batman with a shotgun as he charges at him. End of issue.
The Good: DCeased #2 is exactly the type of issue that should follow every first issue of a big event. Tom Taylor used everything he established in the first issue of DCeased to create a strong focus on how our heroes respond to the crisis at hand. By doing so Taylor has already created a Elseworld DC Universe that can now stand on its own and match what other big events normally do.
From the opening page with Aquaman being attacked by a mob of Anti-Living, Taylor sets the tone that this is a Crisis no hero is prepared for. Darkseid has completely caught the entire DC Universe off guard with how he went about activating the Anti-Life Equation. Showing Aquaman overwhelmed made it clear that this isn’t a threat that can be fought in normal means. Because if our heroes go with that approach they will either become Anti-Living or die.
Even for how many different types of battles the Justice League have been in the Anti-Living are on a completely different deal. They are now forced to fight just another threat but also people they literally interacted with less than 24 hours before this Crisis took place. Superman’s reaction when he scans the Daily Planet was the perfect way to show how heartbreaking this Crisis is. Superman barely being able to tell Lois about seeing all their friends and co-workers tearing each other apart as Anti-Living speaks to the how emotional DCeased as a whole will be.
Adding in the element that people can be infected by the virus through digital screens along with the normal zombie means through physical contact was a great touch. This immediately puts the survivors into a bigger whole as they are now limited in how they deal with the Anti-Living. They can now no longer use digital devices, including computers and phones, to solve this Crisis that Darkseid caused. With how reliant the world was on these devices Taylor has positioned the remaining heroes to more creative about how they deal with things.
This all further emphasized that our heroes will not be able to hold back their powers or skills anymore. As Black Canary showed when she was unleashed her Canary Cry at full power on the Anti-Living Hal Jordan, they can no longer worry about using deadly force. The weight that carries showed on how Black Canary reacted to when she saw Hal’s lifeless body after her attack. Having that personal part of the story at the forefront will make everything that happens in DCeased be something the reader feels connected too.
Black Canary being the one that had to take down Hal made the fact she became the new Green Lantern an even bigger moment. This is something that was completely unexpected. But through her action in DCeased #2 and who we know Dinah to be her being a Green Lantern just felt right. At the same time, Taylor did a good job making sure there was a moment for this to sink in as Dinah wrestled with being chosen. It made the fact that Superman showed up seconds later to tell her and Green Arrow that they have to go to work even better as it emphasized how our heroes are up against the wall right now.
All of this emotional toll made the final few pages with Batman communicating with Damian, Superman and the others. Batman being the iconic character we know he is made the fact that he was already turning into an Anti-Living at the beginning of DCeased a massive punch to the gut. Taylor did an excellent job showing that Batman knew he could not waste time trying to say goodbye to everyone. Every second that Mr. Freeze’s suit was valuable in communicating with Superman and the others what is going on.
Batman talking in this way made the fact that he did make sure to have time to give his son, Damian Wayne, a final message even more impactful. It felt like a true passing of the torch moment that had to unfortunately come in a way that Bruce had to rush to do. In passing down the mantle of Batman in this way it created many more layers to Damian taking on the role. It now means more than just being something Damian was training for. Taylor did a great job in capturing the emotion in both Bruce and Damian’s dialogue during the closing pages.
Closing out DCeased #2 with Alfred being forced to shoot and kill the Anti-Living Batman. That was a poignant way to conclude an issue that had many personal moments for every character than was in this issue. It also set the stage for when Alfred reunites with Damian to give him the Batman case to be something readers will highly anticipate.
While it was more of a side story onto itself, Taylor did a good job in placing Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Joker in this story to show how the Anti-Living crisis is affecting everyone, not just the Justice League. The timing of this crisis taking place when Harley was ready to fully break away from Joker was a nice way to make this quick scene standout. The fact that Poison Ivy helped push Harley to finally do this was a good way to show how much these two support each other.
All that said, it’ll be interesting to see if Joker being an Anti-Living throws a wrench into all this. Will we see Harley have to do the same thing that Alfred did in putting the Anti-Living Batman down? Or will the fact that she does not know about Joker’s transformation into an Anti-Living lead to greater heartbreak for Harley and Poison Ivy? Having those questions up in the air adds a good sub-plot for Taylor to follow up on in the next issue of DCeased.
Trevor Hairsine delivered solid artwork throughout DCeased. Hairsine’s style is exactly what you expect to see from a DC Comic. With how much emotion was packed in this issue Hairsine captured all those moments well with how he drew the different character reactions. The way Hairsine drew Batman in the Mr. Freeze suit was especially well done. He got across how Batman did this in a desperate move to buy himself precious time to contact his friends and allies.
The Bad: The one minor problem in DCeased #2 was Superboy being nothing more than background character in this issue. With how Robin was forced to say goodbye to his father it felt like a missed opportunity not to have Superboy hug his best friend in that time. That felt like a missed opportunity to show the deep friendship that Robin and Superboy have without any dialogue.
Overall: DCeased #2 was an excellent follow-up chapter to what Tom Taylor established in the first issue of this big event. Taylor spotlighted the emotional weight of the entire DC Universe faced with a crisis that hits close to home for everyone. The personal moments we get for many iconic characters, specifically for Black Canary, Robin and Superman, makes DCeased a series DC fan should not miss out on reading.
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