Thus far Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine have delivered an absolutely fascinating reading experience with DCeased. What’s made DCeased unique thus far is that this event has been exploring the aftermath of an Anti-Life Equation outbreak that has turned a majority of the DC Universe into Anti-Living. The focus on the aftermath has led to some heartbreaking scenes as the DCU’s heroes dealt with what has happened with their loved once. That includes how Alfred had to be the one to put Bruce Wayne down when he became an Anti-Living and Superman doing the same to Pa Kent. With our heroes already going through so much how will they overcome the crisis going on in DCeased? Let’s find out with DCeased #4.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At Cadmus Captain Atom and Amanda Waller wait for Ray Palmer to finish examining one of the Anti-Living they captured as part of Plague Protocol B. Amanda tells Captain Atom that Plague Protocol C has been ordered, meaning Captain Atom has been called into action.
Captain Atom proceeds to sweep through city streets annihilating the Anti-Living. As he does that Captain Atom starts feeling weird.
Inside his body an Anti-Living Atom (Ray Palmer) infects Captain Atom to begin the transformation into an Anti-Living.
Over in Metropolis Superman brings his mother (Martha Kent) to the others where he breaks the news about Pa Ken to Lois Lane and Superboy (Jonathan S. Kent). The Kent Family all hug once the news is revealed.
Superman then tells everyone he is going back out to help people. Green Lantern (Dinah Lance/Black Canary) and Green Arrow think that Superman is risking becoming an Anti-Living. Superman reveals that since the outbreak happened he has been using his x-ray vision at all times in order to identify who is Anti-Living and may be turning into one.
Robin (Damian Wayne) and Green Lantern tell Superman that they should contact other survivors to help them get the time they need to solve the crisis.
A little while later the Justice League send out a message to the remaining heroes and villains (which include Wonder Girl, Beast Boy, Hawkgirl and Lex Luthor) to meet at the Daily Planet.
Over in Themyscira Mera tells Hippolyta about how Atlantis is now gone. Hippolyta tells Mera she is more than welcome in Themyscira.
Nearby Wonder Woman hears the Justice League’s message and decides to head to Metropolis.
Above Keystone City Superman is able to find where Flash (Barry Allen) and Kid Flash (Wallace West) are hiding after Batman contacted them about the virus turning everyone into an Anti-Living. Green Lantern says she will move Flash and Kid Flash to Metropolis with her ring.
In Gotham City Harley Quinn does her best to hold back the Anti-Living Catwoman, Batgirl, Huntress and Batwoman. Poison Ivy shows up and uses her powers to kill the Anti-Living Birds of Prey attack Harley. Harley thanks Poison Ivy for being such a romantic by saving her life. Poison Ivy tells Harley that the Green will protect them.
Back in Metropolis as everyone waits for Superman and Green Lantern to return Superboy hears something coming.
Anti-Living Giganta suddenly appears and everyone immediately uses their powers and skills to hold her back. Alfred in the Batplane shows up and provides some additional fire power. Superman and Green Lantern also join in and all the heroes are able to knock Anti-Living Giganta down.
Wonder Woman then appears and immediately goes to kill Giganta. Superman stops her as he believes they can cure Giganta. Cyborg appears out of nowhere and kills Giganta with a powerful arm cannon blast.
Superman is left in shock. Cyborg tells Superman that they need to talk.
Meanwhile Robin goes over to the Batplane hoping to see his father. Instead, Alfred comes out and tells Damian that Bruce was always proud of him and wanted to say that everyday. He opens Bruce’s special case holding a Batman suit for Damian. Damian breaks down and hugs Alfred.
Nearby Black Lightning and Thunder passes out the special lenses that Thunder wears to the other heroes that will make the digital signals causing the infection to look blurry and keep everyone from turning into Anti-Living.
Cyborg then explains that the virus infecting everyone is an extension of the Anti-Life Equation. He goes on to say that these things, which he terms Blights, search for life so they can end it. He says that it is too dangerous for them to stay here together. Green Arrow sees something in the sky and lets the others know.
Hawkgirl, whose wings are on fire, suddenly is shown falling from the sky. Wonder Woman catches her. A still conscious Hawkgirl warns everyone that Captain Atom has been turned into an Anti-Living and is about to blow up any second.
Superman and Wonder Woman immediately fly over to Washington, DC. They grab Captain Atom, who is going nuclear, and fly him as far up in the sky as possible.
Captain Atom eventually blows up. The radius of the blast is so large that it reaches Metropolis. All of the heroes there brace for impact as everything is covered by the white light coming from the expanding explosion Captain Atom caused. End of issue.
The Good: DCeased #4 does a great job carrying the emotional weight from previous issues into this latest issue. At the same time, Tom Taylor started to position the remaining heroes and villains of the DC Universe in a place where they can finally act. Though before we get to that point there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
With how DCeased ended Taylor properly followed up on Superman forced to kill the Anti-Living version of his father. The moment that Superman lands on the Daily Planet with his mom and breaks the news to Lois and Jonathan was yet another strong character moment for Clark Kent. This series has done a great job challenging Superman’s ability to continue having hope that things will get better. That is something that is constantly being challenged throughout DCeased #4.
To that point having Superman reveal that since the Anti-Life Equation outbreak happened that he has been constantly using his x-ray vision was a great piece of character development. It shows that Superman knows that he has to cut a part of him that can interact with everyone normally. Because of his powers Superman can be the most ready to combat whoever might turn right away and he does just that in order to protect everyone left. It is a tough choice but something that shows how great of a hero Superman is that he identifies this has to be how things are right now.
Characters being forced to make tough decisions has been a theme in this series and DCeased #4 was no different. We see that with Superman, as previously mentioned, Alfred and Dinah Lance forced to take on the emotional weight of killing those infected. But now we see the other side with Captain Atom, Wonder Woman and Cyborg, who were all willing to kill the Anti-Living in order to save everyone.
What made these three heroes choices different is that they did not hold back on the thought of having to kill. With Wonder Woman and Captain Atom we know that both as a warrior and soldier, respectively, they are both ready to do what is necessary, even if that means killing. For Cyborg, he understands the Anti-Life Equation virus to such a degree that he sees killing the Anti-Living as the only thing they can do to stop it from spreading. It was a very different approach by all three characters compared to the heroes we have been following in the last few issues.
This created a unique dynamic between Superman and his remaining peers. We see that Superman is still trying to save everyone, including the infected. He can’t let that hero side of him go even with the crisis at hand. That sense of hope made the ending something that creates a lot of questions of how things will turn out if the Captain Atom explosion ends up killing Superman and Wonder Woman.
Speaking of Captain Atom, Taylor did a great job adding to how the Anti-Life Equation virus can spread and even infect a character like Captain Atom. Seeing an Anti-Living Atom infect Captain Atom raised the sense of danger to this virus as every meta-human that is turned can be extremely dangerous. This raised sense of dangers puts even more on those uninfected to quickly figure out how they can overcome what is going on in the DC Universe.
Through all of this Taylor takes the time to give some strong character moments throughout DCeased #4. That includes the fantastic follow-up to Bruce Wayne giving Alfred a case to gift Damian with before he turned into an Anti-Living. Damian realizing that his father was dead when he saw Alfred was heartbreaking. The moment was further elevated by the reveal that the gift Bruce left Damian was a Batman suit for his son. This is not the way Bruce, Damian or Alfred wanted to have this passing of the torch but it does give even greater meaning to when Damian does put the costume on now.
On a smaller scale, Black Lightning giving everyone a pair of lenses that Thunder wears was a great piece of character development to sprinkle into DCeased #4. It shows how Black Lightning is someone that can quickly assess what is going on and come up with a solution to things. This action by Black Lightning and Thunder give to the other heroes helped give them something more to do than just be another form of firepower when action goes down.
The scene with Poison Ivy saving Harley Quinn from the infected Birds of Prey was a nice payoff to Taylor exploring their relationship. We saw that Taylor is going all in on the romantic relationship between Harley and Poison Ivy. With how much chaos is going on in the world having characters still be shown to have their own form of romantic moments, like Harley and Poison Ivy had, gave a nice change of pace for a rather dark issue.
Trevor Hairsine once again delivered solid artwork throughout DCeased #4. He hits on the right emotional tone of different scenes, from the Kent Family’s embrace to Alfred revealing the present Bruce left Damian. All the artwork elevated these scenes. His art was particularly impactful during the dramatic action scenes involving Giganta and Captain Atom at different points in this issue.
The Bad: With how we are four issues into DCeased it is odd that we have yet to see how the Anti-Life Equation virus can be overcome. Now that we have only two issues left in this event it places a lot on the shoulders of these final chapters. Cyborg just now revealing the truth about the virus showed that we really haven’t gone that far into this story. More development needs to be done because thus far it has just been about how characters are reacting rather than coming up with solutions.
While Hairsine’s art matched the tone Taylor was going for with DCeased there were certain panels that looked incomplete. In particular the reactions on certain character faces like Damian didn’t completely match what was going on in the scene. A little more detail on character reactions will help further elevate the story that is going on.
Overall: Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine have created a special DC Comics event and DCeased #4 continues to show why that is. This issue is properly paced as the story marches forward with our favorite DCU heroes dealing with the crisis brought about by the Anti-Life Equation. There are plenty of poignant scenes involving Damian Wayne, Superman and others that help make DCeased #4 a strong follow-up to all the development in the first three issues. With only two issues left in this event we are left wondering how things will end up wrapping up, which is an exciting hook to come back for more from the DCeased story.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our Instagram feed. Catch up with all of Kevin’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter.