DCeased has been a great surprise with how phenomenal of a story it turned out to be. Tom Taylor has taken the zombie and post-apocalyptic setting and made it something unique by using the DC Universe characters. Taylor has specifically focused on the emotional impact of a zombie apocalypse breaking out and infecting all those who are favorite superheroes loved. That led to a dramatic ending for DCeased #4 with Superman and Wonder Woman flying an infected Captain Atom into the sky as he explodes. Who will survive such a massive explosion to continue fighting the apocalypse in the DCU? Let’s find out by checking out DCeased #5.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Superman and Wonder Woman return to Metropolis after Captain Atom exploded. They are shocked to find the city completely destroyed. Luckily Green Lantern (Dinah Lance) created a protective bubble around the Daily Planet that saved her and the others.
Lex Luthor appears, surviving the explosion, and calls out to Superman. Lex says he is not there to fight and collapses to his knees as he is in shock over what happened to Metropolis.
Over the next few days Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman and Superboy lead heroes in taking down the Internet across Earth to stop the virus from spreading.
During that time Wonder Woman convinces her mother, Queen Hippolyta, to turn Themyscira into a sanctuary for the survivors of the virus. Superman, Mera and Wonder Woman then work together to lift sections of the seafloor to expand the land on Themyscira.
At the same time, Batman (Damian Wayne), Green Lantern and Green Arrow visit Gotham City, which has been covered in trees and vines by Poison Ivy. An infected Killer Croc attacks the group. The infected Killer Croc is quickly killed by Poison Ivy, who also captures Batman, Green Lantern and Green Arrow with her vines.
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy show up with the latter asking what they are doing in Gotham City. Batman asks Poison Ivy to make Gotham City into one of the sanctuaries for the survivors. Poison Ivy reveals that Harley Quinn has been telling her to do that as well.
Poison Ivy says she will do it but that there will need to be rules set including fruit will only be eaten if the Green allows it and any humans who harm the Green will be expelled. Batman agrees to the terms.
As time passed Cyborg and Lex Luthor are able to create a way for the survivors to have closed communications channel.
Heroes then gathered at the Fortress of Solitude to go over Cyborg and Lex’s plan to create ark-like ships that can carry survivors to a planet that is not infected. Superman is against abandoning Earth. Martha Kent tells her son to calm down.
Lex then snarkingly comments that Superman is about to lose a second world. This causes him to be punched by Lois Lane. Lois then threatens Lex that if she ever speaks to her husband like that again she will smash his face closed.
Lois then reminds her son, Jon Kent, that violence is not the solution. Jon laughs that it looked like a good solution.
As more time passed survivors were brought to the sanctuaries the heroes set up while the spaceship arks were built.
During another meeting at the Fortress of Solitude a loud yell is heard. Without warning an infected Martian Manhunter immediately kills Lex Luthor and infects Flash. Firestorm and Green Lantern quickly work together to kill Martian Manhunter.
Superman quickly tries to track Flash down and sees that he is running. Kid Flash (Wallace West) attempts to chase after Flash but Superman says he is to slow. Superman then says he will get Flash.
Around the world an infected Flash starts infecting people around the world.
Above Earth Superman is flying around to build speed. He eventually gets enough speed to catch up to Flash. He then uses his speed to fly through the infected Flash, killing him immediately.
As Superman apologizes to Barry Allen he realizes that part of Barry’s body punctured his stomach. Superman understands this means he is infected and races to the Fortress of Solitude.
Using his max speed Superman talks with Kid Flash and reveals what happened. He asks Kid Flash to use the Speed Force on Lois, Ma Kent and Superboy so he can say goodbye to his family. Kid Flash says he can.
Not wasting time Clark Kent thanks Ma Kent for teaching him all their values, giving him a name and giving him another world when his ended.
Clark then tells Lois how lucky he feels to have found her and thanks her for choosing him. With tears running down her face Lois thanks Clark for choosing her.
Clark then tells Jon that he represents hope that will change the universe. He goes on to say that Jon is the best thing he has seen in the world and hugs his son.
Superman then flies up into space trying to kill himself by starving himself of oxygen before the virus full infects him. As he feels himself dying the virus takes into full effect and turns Superman into an infected. An Infected Superman then unleashes a powerful heat vision blast. End of issue.
The Good: After reading DCeased #5 I am left in awe over the emotional journey that Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine were able to take us on. The attention of the reader is grabbed on early with the sight of a destroyed Metropolis and is not let go until that final page punches you in the gut. That journey shows how special DCeased as a whole has been.
A major reason for the sense of awe that DCeased #5 created was because of the fantastic pacing. Taylor understands how to take a story from a tragic moment to a period were hope is being brought back to the survivors only for that to be taken away in the final moments of DCeased #5. Everything is just so impactful because of how the issue just naturally flows from page to page. Each page builds on each other to tell a full story that feels like you went on a journey with all these characters during the time that passes.
The structure of DCeased #5 with the majority of the story being told to us by a narrator works extremely well. Taylor is able to create an entirely new Earth and what the rules are now for this world through this narrative choice. Making this narrative choice even better was how Taylor understood when to use the narrator to tell the story and when it was time for characters to speak with one another. The balance between the two made the passing of time something the reader can feel happening.
It all worked to elevate all the remaining superheroes as leaders. Superman, Wonder Woman, Damian Wayne’s Batman, Flash, Cyborg and Green Lantern Dinah Lance understood that this is a time they needed to step up without question. There was no time to waste arguing. They all had to work together to stop the virus from spreading and setting up places for the remaining survivors to live peacefully. The unity shown with all the heroes in the face of utter darkness was amazing to watch.
This made Lex Luthor’s role in this story stand out even more. Even though seeing Metropolis completely destroyed caused Lex to work together with all the heroes it did not mean he was completely changed. There was still part of the egotistical Lex Luthor that he could not let go. We see that with how he bags on Superman for losing another world and then when saying he is the smartest guy in the world without Batman around. Both these moments and how he actually helps the heroes in the end makes you wonder if it was heartbreaking to see Lex die. It is exactly how the reader should feel for a character like Lex who is so good at being an asshole.
Going back to the leaders, it was great to see that even though he is still a kid Damian Wayne fully took on the role of Batman. There wasn’t a big deal made out of him wearing the Batman suit. It was just who he was now which made it a lot easier to accept him as Batman even when Harley Quinn was calling Damian “Batboy.”
Taylor further made you buy into him as Batman by how Damian carried himself. This was a Damian who has immediately grown up to step into his father’s shoes. That meant taking the situation they are in to heart and making the best decision possible. We see that with how Damian accepts Poison Ivy’s rules for Gotham City as he knew that it was what they had to accept to ensure the survivors safety.
This scene in Gotham City was also a strong evolution for Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn’s character. Harley Quinn once again showed her good side by helping to convince Poison Ivy to create a sanctuary in Gotham City using her powers. Being in the position of power allowed Poison Ivy to set herself apart from the other world leaders. She established herself as someone that must be respected in the new world order. At the same time, we saw the heroic side of Poison Ivy as she did open Gotham City up to be a sanctuary for people.
And while it was a short scene Wonder Woman convincing her mother that they must turn Themyscira into a sanctuary a strong scene. Especially with how DCeased #5 ended, this was an important scene to show how Wonder Woman can get across the bigger picture of their situation. It set the stage for her now becoming the beacon of hope that things will be okay because she is around now that Superman and Batman have been taken off the board.
Speaking of which, Superman and his family was by far the heart of DCeased #5. Superman and Lois Lane in particular delivered the biggest moments of this issue. Lois punching Lex after his assholish comments to Superman was rewarding. That was a long time coming and you just have to cheer for the moment that Lois punched Lex and told him off. It was a powerful moment that showed how Lois will always stand up for her husband no matter who it is.
This was a great build up to the final goodbye between Superman and Lois. Taylor did an excellent job getting across how much they care for each other. It was hard to not get emotional when reading how Superman and Lois felt lucky to have met each other. This will definitely go down as one of the best moments for this iconic couple. Which is saying a lot given all the history they share together.
Superman as whole was a big driving force in this issue. With him still around there was hope that things could turn out okay. That is shown with how no one questions Superman when he says he will stop the infected Flash’s rampage. He is the guy that can take on any threat and everyone in the room believes will win.
Which makes it even more heartbreaking when you see that by stopping the infected Flash Superman caused himself to become infected. The realization of what it meant when he got infected hit like a ton of bricks. Once that happened the sense that hope was lost became apparent. It was all driven home once we saw the Infected Superman unleash a powerful heat vision blast.
That was an ending that puts into question how the DC Universe can survive against an Infected Superman. Especially seeing the damage the Flash caused as an infected. Just thinking of what an Infected Superman can do with all his powers, including his Flash-level speed, is terrifying.
Before the infection of the virus fully took place Taylor did a phenomenal job with the final goodbye between Superman and Ma Kent, Jon Kent and Lois Lane. I already spoke about how powerful Superman’s goodbye with Lois was. The same goes for Ma Kent and Jon’s goodbyes.
Ma Kent not being able to speak as Clark thanked her for everything showed how heartbreaking this was. This was a true mother saying goodbye to her son scene. It all spoke to how while Clark may be Kryptonian thanks to how well his parents raised him he feels at home on Earth. Which is why he was hesitant to leave Earth on an ark since it would mean leaving the home his parents raised him in.
The goodbye with Jon was equally well written. The whole goodbye felt like it was Clark getting the chance to pass down the torch to Jon as the new hope for the world. This means a lot more when you put into perspective that Bruce wasn’t able to do the same for Damian. It was clear that Clark remembered that and wanted to make sure Jon got his full message of how much he cares for his son and sees a strong future for him.
With how strong the story in DCeased #5 was Trevor Hairsine elevates Taylor’s writing with his artwork. It is not perfect but when it comes to the emotionally charged issues Hairsine more than delivers. From the heartbreaking goodbye between Superman and his family to the negotiation with Poison Ivy, Hairsine elevates these character focused scenes through his artwork. He also makes the quick action scenes we do get have a meaningful impact by showing how brutal Superman, Firestorm and Green Lantern must be when killing an infected Flash and Martian Manhunter.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: DCeased #5 was a phenomenal issue. This issue solidified why DCeased is an event that every DC Comics fan must read. From beginning to end, Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine combine to tell an emotionally charged issue. They do a masterful job taking the reader on a journey and ending on a note that leaves the reader emotionally drained.
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