DCeased: Dead Planet #1

DCeased: Dead Planet #1 Review

DCeased: Dead Planet #1

DCeased is one of the best comic books that DC Comics has put out in recent years. Not only was it critically acclaimed but also a big commercial success for DC Comics. You can see that with how DC Comics immediately followed up DCeased with Unkillables and Hope At World’s End comic books. Both Unkillables and Hope At World’s End showed us more of what took place during the events of DCeased, including new character perspectives and expanding on specific plot points. While those built on what the original DCeased did they were more complimentary comic books to the event. The first real follow-up to the aftermath of the DCeased story has now arrived in the form of DCeased: Dead Planet. Based on the covers it looks like DCeased: Dead Planet will be jumping ahead in time as the survivors who left Earth will return to try to save their former home and possibly find a cure for the Anti-Life Equation Virus. Let’s see how things go with DCeased: Dead Planet #1.

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Trevor Hairsine

Inkers: Gigi Baldassini and Stefano Gaudiano

Colorist: Rain Beredo

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: While drinking at The Oblivion Bar, John Constantine remembers everyone that was lost to the Anti-Life Equation Virus. Zatanna teleports in to check up on Constantine and wonders why he is drinking alone. Constantine says he is not alone as we see the ghosts of Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Mr. Terrific, and Booster Gold (who all died during DCeased: A Good Day To Die) in the bar.

Elsewhere after being decapitated by Wonder Woman and thrown down a hole Cyborg’s system reactivates after five years. Cyborg realizes that Batman (Bruce Wayne) implanted a secret tracker in his system. Cyborg boosts the signal of the tracker in an attempt to broadcast a distress signal to another world.

Above Earth-2 the Justice League made up of Superman (Jon Kent), Wonder Woman (Cassie Sandsmark), and Green Lantern (Dinah Lance) are attacking an invading alien army’s ship.

While they do that Batman (Damian Wayne) has infiltrated the alien ship and knocks out all the guards that attack him. Batman eventually reaches the command center of the ship to confront that alien army’s leader. The leader of the alien army states that his people have won the war. Batman says that the Justice League were only defending themselves so no one would die but he would gladly fight if that is what they want.

Superman speeds in when he hears Batman say this and immediately talks down the alien leader by saying they can resolve things by talking.

Over on New Metropolis, President Lois Lane meets with the alien leader and says they came to the newly dubbed Earth-2 for sanctuary and never meant to start a war.

As that goes on Batman gets a call from Alfred Pennyworth, who informs Batman that he just received an incoming distress signal.

Later at the Hall of Justice, Batman reveals that the signal is coming from the tracker his father (Bruce Wayne) planted in Cyborg. Batman states that Cyborg is calling for the Justice League to help. Green Arrow is not to keen on leaving their new home, especially as the Anti-Life Equation Virus is still ravaging Earth-1.

Green Arrow says that if they do make a decision the entire Justice League needs to vote before they act. Green Lantern Dinah Lance agrees on voting.

Elsewhere Jon tells his mom that he is going back to Earth-1 with the Justice League and they will leave the Green Lantern Corps to protect Earth-2. Lois wonders if the Justice League is risking too much. Jon says that a friend is calling for help. Lois tells Jon to promise to come back while calling him Superman. Jon is still not comfortable with Lois and others calling him Superman but Lois says he will need to stop earning the name then.

DCeased: Dead Planet #1
Dinah Lance and Oliver Queen talk about the Justice League’s new mission in DCeased: Dead Planet #1. Click for full page view.

Elsewhere, Oliver and Dinah talk about everyone they lost. Dinah reminds Oliver that he voted to go back to Earth-1 and says that he could stay if he wants. Oliver says he will not get benched while the kids and Dinah risk everything while he sat to the side.

After some witty banter, Oliver reminds Dinah that she does have Wonder Woman’s God killing sword. Dinah does a whole ceremony and passes down Wonder Woman’s God killing sword to Oliver to wield.

On the edge of the quarantine zone around Earth-1, the Justice League meets up with Kilowog. While they talk Jon realizes that the Anti-Living version of his father, Clark Kent, is still in the core of the Sun.

Kilowog detects something approaching and creates a shield around everyone. The thing breaks through the shield and it is revealed to be Krypto, who can’t hold back his excitement over seeing Jon again.

After the reunion, the Justice League head down to Earth-1 and are able to find where Cyborg’s head and body are located. Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth to wake Cyborg up. With very little energy Cyborg does his best to tell the Justice League what he discovered.

As that goes on Hawkwoman spots an army of Anti-Living approaching them. Green Arrow thinks they should get moving. The rest of the Justice League agree and decide to take Cyborg back to their ship. Before they get there Green Lantern Dinah detects something approaching them. Just then something flies right through the Justice League’s ship, causing it to crash on the ground below.

With dust covering the area Anti-Living Diana Prince appears as the person who destroyed the Justice League’s ship and immediately turns Green Arrow into an Anti-Living. Green Lantern Dinah sees this and explodes in rage by blasting Anti-Living Diana Prince with a Canary Scream enhanced by the power of her ring. Green Lantern Dinah then mercilessly attacks Anti-Living Diana Prince with powerful attacks.

As that happens Superman is able to fully hear what Cyborg was saying and rushes to stop Green Lantern Dinah from killing Anti-Living Wonder Woman with the God killing sword. Superman is able to make it in time to take the brunt of the sword attack through his shoulder, which ends up pinning Anti-Living Wonder Woman to the ground as well.

While heavily losing blood, Superman is able to tell Green Lantern Dinah that there is a cure. End of issue.

DCeased: Dead Planet #1
Superman discovers that there is a cure for the Anti-Life Equation Virus in DCeased: Dead Planet #1. Click for full page view.

The Good: Just like that Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine hit the ground running with DCeased: Dead Planet #1. There was no filler or set-up to get right into things. The word was “go” from the beginning as, after a quick reminder of the Anti-Life Equation Virus impact, we get right into the story.

One of the things that the original DCeased did so well was to build emotional weight to the story and the characters involved. Taylor and Hairsine took characters we all have a varied level of connection with and a familiar setting to launch a new version of the DC Universe. Taking that foundation, they were able to immediately get into what would come next from the DCeased version of the DC Universe.

Having that foundation allowed the five-year time jump we get to be something that is easy to buy into. Specifically starting out with the new Justice League in a fight with the other kingdom that lived on their new Earth-2 showed that the search for a new home has not been an easy journey. Even five years later they are still facing trouble in getting back to a normal life.

Which made the fact that in these five years that Lois Lane has risen up to be the President of Earth-2 such a cool reveal. With all that happened with Superman in DCeased and other people connected to her, Lois stepping up to be a leader in this new society makes sense. Lois has always been a strong individual who understands when she needs to take charge and how to speak with others. That is shown with how she is able to calm the entire situation of the war between the Justice League and the other alien forces by talking to their King. Lois’s control of the situation put over why she was elected into this position of power.

The time jump also worked to quickly explain how all of the new Justice League members are comfortable working together. There was no awkwardness about how well this new Justice League would work together. We get right into how the Justice League all work like a well-oiled machine. This allowed the story to stay focused on how the heroes’ objective in DCeased: Dead Planet will be about curing the Anti-Life Equation Virus this time around.

Having the Justice League established already also worked to get over how we believe that Jon Kent, Damian Wayne, and Cassie Sandsmark are Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, respectively. There is not a second where you question their positions as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Taylor has everyone treat this as current normal with Jon, Damian, and Cassie all having the respect of the other Justice League members and people on Earth-2 that everyone views them as the new Trinity.

DCeased: Dead Planet #1
Jon Kent admits to his mom, Lois Lane-Kent, that he is not ready to be called Superman in DCeased: Dead Planet #1. Click for full page view.

Which makes the fact that Jon admits to his mom that he still does not fully feel like he should have the Superman name an intriguing sub-plot. The trauma of saying goodbye to Clark still has a large impact on Jon that he hasn’t moved on from like Damian was able to when he accepted it was his time to become Batman. Lois telling Jon that if he didn’t want to be Superman he should stopping stepping up was a nice touch to launch this character arc for him. We see that Jon accepting that he is someone that can be the ray of hope that his father represented gives an added layer to his journey as Superman.

Continuing to spotlight Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance was also a great move. Oliver and Dinah were big parts of the decisions made during the original DCeased. Them continuing to be important figures in DCeased: Dead Planet as the veteran Justice League members was a nice touch. Taylor did a good job of giving us a look at how strong their relationship still is. The banter between them and how it led to Dinah passing down Wonder Woman’s sword that was forged at the end of DCeased showed how much trust exists between them. That made the impact of Dinah seeing Anti-Living Wonder Woman turning Oliver into an Anti-Living hit the right emotional note.

Through all of that Taylor did a great job showing how much Dinah has grown in her role as Green Lantern. Becoming a Green Lantern wasn’t something that Dinah was completely comfortable in when it happened in the original DCeased. But it is clear that over the last five years she has come to accept all the power and responsibility that comes with being a Green Lantern. That shows how Dinah does seem to have grown a strong connection with the rest of the Green Lantern Corps as she had no problems getting the Guardians to send the GLC to protect Earth-2.

All this great character work made the revelation by Superman that Cyborg has found a possible cure for the Anti-Life Equation Virus a great continuation of how the original DCeased ending. Cyborg’s discovery was a bittersweet note that DCeased ended on as Wonder Woman immediately beheaded him and threw him into a hole. Our heroes discovering this revelation from Cyborg gives a completely different tone to what DCeased: Dead Planet will be about. Now there is an even greater sense of urgency to this story as the Anti-Living won’t just let our heroes have all the time they need to create and spread the cure.

Which makes the fact that John Constantine and Zatanna are still around on Earth-1 an even more interesting move. As we saw at the end DCeased: Unkillables both Constantine and Zatanna were among the survivors on Earth-1 who were able to find sanctuary in Poison Ivy’s Garden safehaven located in old Gotham City. When Poison Ivy’s Garden was discovered in DCeased: Unkillables we learned that it was able to be a safehaven because magicians like Zatanna were able to help add a barrier that kept the Anti-Living from penetrating the Garden’s walls. It won’t be surprising to see both magic and Poison Ivy’s abilities play a big part in the cure our heroes come up with when all is said and done.

DCeased: Dead Planet #1 opening with Constantine also served as a way to remind the readers of all the emotional weight of all the people lost in the events of the original DCeased. Taylor provided just enough information to let us know how Constantine still feels all the losses he had during DCeased: A Good Day To Die. The ghosts of Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Mr. Terrific, and Booster Gold all being in the Oblivion Bar with Constantine was an emotional punch to the gut to kick things off. It also established how Taylor is planning to use everything in the DCeased tie-ins, A Good Day To Die, Unkillables, and Hope At World’s End, to reward fans who purchased those comic books.

The effectiveness of DCeased: Dead Planet #1 worked even better thanks to Trevor Hairsine’s strong artwork. Like Taylor, Hairsine has such a strong understanding of what this version of the DC Universe should look like. That understanding made the artwork Hairsine delivered in DCeased: Dead Planet #1 his best work in this franchise to date.

What made Hairsine’s artwork so good is how he absolutely nailed the emotional impact of different character-specific scenes. Hairsine got over how Jon Kent still doesn’t feel like others should be calling him Superman. He also was able to make you understand the depths of Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance’s relationship and how they can go from serious conversation to witty banter and back again in a natural way. This made all the high impact action hit even harder as Hairsine gave greater meaning to the fighting through how he drew each character’s facial reaction.

The Bad: Nothing.

Overall: Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine wasted no time in hitting a home run to kick things off with DCeased: Dead Planet #1. Taylor and Hairsine got you right into the next stage of the DCeased Universe’s story as the impact of the original event continues to be felt. The way that the events of the previous series were used to made DCeased: Dead Planet come across as an even bigger event. That speaks to Taylor and Hairsine’s immense talents. With how things started off here DCeased: Dead Planet is a must-read for all DC Comics’ fans.

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