DCeased is an event that has hit the DC Universe hard. No one has been able the Anti-Life Equation virus that is turning everyone, as Batman termed them, into Anti-Living. Making that point definitive was DCeased #2 as we saw both Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Batman turn into Anti-Living. Having two of the biggest members of the Justice League turned into Anti-Living made DCeased #2 a tough issue to read as Hal and Batman’s closest friends and family said their goodbyes. Now how will those that are left to battle the Anti-Living and solve this new crisis? Let’s find out with DCeased #3.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Trevor Hairsine
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: In the Batcave Alfred mourns the deaths of Batman, Nightwing and Robin (Tim Drake). He apologizes for not being able to save them. Alfred then walks off with the briefcase holding the thing Batman wanted to give his son, Damian Wayne.
As Alfred flies through the skies of Gotham City he spots a bunch of Anti-Living gather together. He releases bombs to kill all the Anti-Living while continuing to fly to Damian’s location.
Nearby all the explosions Harley Quinn is running away from an Anti-Living Joker. Eventually Harley gets tired of running and finally decides to kill Anti-Living Joker with a shotgun.
Harley suddenly gets a huge sigh of relief for killing Anti-Living Joker. She doesn’t get much rest as Anti-Living versions of Batgirl, Catwoman, Batwoman and Huntress appear out of nowhere. Harley gets her shotgun ready to take them down.
On the roof of the Daily Planet Superboy approaches Damian to see how he is doing. Damian says he doesn’t want to talk. Superboy understands and just sits next to him so his best friend isn’t alone.
Nearby Lois Lane and Green Arrow ask Superman if Damian is okay. Superman says Damian is his father’s son and will find a way to push past this tragedy.
Superman then tells Lois he has to go to his Smallville home but before he does that he is going to secure the Daily Planet building. Green Lantern Black Canary asks if Superman needs her help to clear the building. Superman says he doesn’t as he identified everyone that is infected.
Superman then rushes through the Daily Planet building taking out all the Anti-Living and getting the survivors to safety. Superman hesitates when he peaks inside Perry White’s office.
A little while later Superman shows back up to the roof of the building to tell Lois and the others that he cleared the inside. Superman asks Lois if she wants to come with him to Smallville. Lois says she is needed in Metropolis. Superman then promises Lois and Superboy he will return, asking Green Arrow to keep them safe.
In Atlantis Mera is goading Tempest to have better control of his magic powers during a training session. Mera suddenly notices blood in the water.
An Anti-Living Aquaman suddenly appears and immediately kills Atlantean Royal Guards and sharks. Tempest attempts to go fight Anti-Living Aquaman but is the blood in the water infects him with the Anti-Life Equation virus.
Mera is the only one left to fight off Anti-Living Aquaman, Tempest and the Atlantean Royal Guard. She quickly uses her magic to blow them and the tainted blood away. Afterwards Mera uses this opening to swim away as quickly as possible.
While he is flying towards Smallville Superman saves all the people in trouble throughout Metropolis from the Anti-Living mobs.
He eventually comes across Black Lightning defending his family from an Anti-Living Clayface. Superman helps out and gives Black Lightning the chance to fly his family to safety in a helicopter. Before going their own ways Superman suggest Black Lightning go meet-up with the others at the Daily Planet.
Eventually Superman finally makes it to his parents home in Smallville. Superman asks Ma Kent where Pa Kent is. Ma Kent reveals she locked him inside the barn after being able to knock him out.
Superman heads into the barn alone and breaks the lock to the cellar door inside. Once the cellar door opens an Anti-Living Pa Kent charges attacks Superman. Superman, who is trying to hold back his emotions, easily counters Anti-Living Pa Kent’s attack and locks him back inside the cellar. After closing the door Superman uses his heat vision to kill Anti-Living Pa Kent.
Superman goes back to Ma Kent and tells her they have to go. Ma Kent realizes what her son did and asks that they don’t leave Pa Kent behind. Superman says Pa Ken isn’t with them anymore. He then flies her back to Metropolis. End of issue.
The Good: DCeased #3 carries the emotional momentum that the second issue created and further elevates the story with it. Tom Taylor understands that the first issue of DCeased already set the stage for the crisis the DC Universe is facing. Now with every other issue the focus needs to be about how the characters in the DCU that we care about deal with this crisis caused by the Anti-Life Equation.
In reaching the halfway point we see how the remaining heroes in the DC Universe are now gathering together to deal with this crisis. All of DC’s heroes are still not together but Tom Taylor does a great job in showing how DCeased #3 is wrapping up all the set-up for this event. The reader is given motivations for every character, from Superman to Mera, that will clearly drive them to stop the Anti-Life Equation virus from spreading and possibly curing the infected.
Drawing an emotional connection to these characters that are God-like beings helps ground the events of DCeased. There is an emotional toll that the Anti-Living is having on all our favorite superheroes. In essence this is a more powerful tool to use as everyone’s kryptonite as those they love most are turned into the Anti-Living that need to be put down or else they would be letting this virus spread even more. And throughout DCeased #3, as with the previous issue, Superman, Harley Quinn and others must make tough choices.
Making the choice of showing the ramifications of taking down the Anti-Living through how both Alfred and Damian Wayne reacts to Batman’s death was fantastic. This decision gave serious weight to how much it affects everyone to be forced to kill those they love. It puts into perspective that these Anti-Living are not exactly zombies since they can be killed like regular people. Alfred mournfully apologizing to Batman, Nightwing and Robin was a great way to establish this without going overboard with the concept.
Similarly, Damian sitting silently and not wanting to talk with his best friend about his father’s death was great. It is a reaction that you completely understand Damian having that makes him a relatable character. Superboy telling Damian that he is going to sit with him further elevated this scene. This put over how deep their friendship is as Superboy knows exactly what his best friend needed was someone to sit with but not necessarily talk too yet.
Their reactions is nicely balanced out by how Superman powered through everything and superhero up. First we see that with how he clears out the Daily Planet from the Anti-Living and getting those inside to safety. Seeing Superman zooming by doing this made the moment when he paused after seeing an Anti-Living Perry White standout. Just from Superman’s reaction we understand that how hard of a decision it was to take out someone Clark sees as a mentor. This made the quick transition to Superman smashing the Daily Planet logo statue be a powerful statement that this part of his and Lois’ life is done.
From there we see how Superman takes on the weight of saving everyone in Metropolis while he heads to find his parents in Smallville. It is a great sequence that shows how much hope Superman gives to a situation as he saves as many people as he can even when on a different mission. It would just not be in Superman’s nature to ignore those in trouble just because of something personal he had to do.
All of that led to the perfect payoff with Superman having to make the toughest decision of his life when he had to put down the Anti-Living version of his father. Taylor and artist Trevor Hairsine did a fantastic job showing how hard this was on Superman through his actions. Superman trying to hold back his emotions made the fact that he did not say anything elevated this scene to be tremendous. Superman taking down his father in almost a robotic way showed exactly how much this affected him. Concluding this scene and DCeased #3 as a whole with Superman telling his mom that his father wasn’t there is the most powerful moment we have had in this event.
This decision by Superman was perfectly complemented by what other solo heroes had to do as they dealt with the Anti-Living versions of their loved ones. Taylor opening the scene in Atlantis with Mera training Tempest quickly established the relationship between the two as mentor-protege. It was something needed since not many DC readers are familiar with Tempest. Establishing that made the turn in the scene when Mera had to use her magic against Anti-Living versions of Aquaman, Tempest and her people a strong character motivator. Like the other remaining heroes, Mera now has her own personal motivation to help in overcoming this crisis.
From all these big emotional decisions Taylor is able to lighten things up a bit with how we see Harley Quinn deal with the Anti-Living Joker and Birds of Prey. The sense of relief that Harley feels when she kills the Anti-Living Joker was perfectly in line with the set-up done for her in DCeased #2. Taylor did not betray that set-up as we knew going into this decision to kill Joker that Harley already decided on leaving him behind before the virus made him into an Anti-Living. Her decision to kill him and the relief she felt was a great progression of this. And seeing Harley automatically get ready to kill all the Anti-Living Birds of Prey members fit well with who she is.
Trevor Hairsine continues to do a great job in complementing the emotional story that Taylor is telling. Hairsine is able to match the dialogue Taylor gives every character with the appropriate reactions on character faces. He also delivers on showing how big the moments that Superman, Mera and Harley Quinn have with the choices they are forced to make. Superman’s decision was especially well done as Hairsine did the heavy lifting given the Man of Steel’s silence when he had to kill the Anti-Living version of his father.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: DCeased #3 is another phenomenal issue in what has quickly become one of the best comic books that DC Comics is publishing. Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine hit all the right emotional notes with the crisis facing the entire DC Universe. The ending with Superman forced to make an incredibly heartbreaking decision punctuated an issue filled with strong character moments involving those who have become Anti-Living.
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