DCeased: Dead Planet has been a sequel that took what the original did and elevated the universe that was created. Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine have not missed a step with what they’ve done in developing the DCeased Universe with the time skip. Moving forward in time has opened up new opportunities to tell new stories with characters that are recognizable and new at the same time. Based on where things are headed things will only be getting bigger as DCeased: Dead Planet moves forward. Let’s find out if that is the case with DCeased: Dead Planet #4.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Gigi Baldassini
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Gotham Forest Superman (Jonathan Kent), Wonder Woman (Cassandra Sandsmark), Mary Marvel, and Kid Flash (Wallace West) prepare for a fight when they see a Boom Tube portal appear. John Constantine comes out of the portal and tells everyone to stand down as Detective Chimp and Mister Miracle are right behind him.
All the other heroes assemble to discuss Constantine’s pan to find Metron and use the Mobius Chair to gain the knowledge they need that is inside Cyborg. Constantine gives Mr. Miracle the crystal ball Madame Xanadu so they can find where Metron will be in the future. Superman steps up to say he will be part of Mr. Miracle’s team and asks for anyone able to fight in space to join.
Superman then asks where Green Lantern Canary (Dinah Lance) is. Harley Quinn says that due to Poison Ivy’s “No Anti-Living In Gotham Forest” rule Green Lantern Canary left with Anti-Living Green Arrow. Superman says he will go find her. Mary Marvel joins in on the search since Superman isn’t familiar with Earth anymore.
Superman and Mary Marvel quickly track down Green Lantern Canary, who is happy to see that Superman recovered from his injuries. Green Lantern Canary says she will not leave Green Arrow alone. Mary Marvel says she can get Doctor Fate help protect Anti-Living Green Arrow while keeping out of Poison Ivy’s sight.
Later, Mr. Miracle, Superman, Green Lantern Canary, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Mary Marvel get ready to Boom Tube to New Genesis. Before leaving Batman (Damian Wayne) asks Superman and Wonder Woman to promise to return because he fears if only one of them returns he’ll blame the other. Wonder Woman says she likes seeing a Batman who is aware of his emotions and kisses him. The team then Boom Tubes to New Genesis.
On New Genesis the team is welcomed by Lightray. The warm welcome does not last as Orion shows up pissed that Cyborg was brought to New Genesis. Orion punches Mr. Miracle and tells his brother to stand. When Mr. Mirace stands up Orion punches him again. Superman gets pissed and knocks Orion out with one punch.
Highfather appears and tells Mr. Miracle he heard what happened to Big Barda and offers his condolences. Mr. Miracle asks Highfather if he could call Metron. Highfather says Metron won’t come. Mr. Miracle says he knows and just needs info so they can use Madame Xanadu’s crystal ball to create a trap for Metron. Highfather agrees but first wants to show something to Mr. Miracle alone.
Highfather then takes Mr. Miracle to see his and Big Barda’s son, Jacob. Highfather tells Mr. Miracle to stop blaming himself for what happened to Big Barda. He then admits that giving Mr. Miracle up to Darkseid was the biggest regret in his immortal life. Highfather tells Mr. Miracle not to make the same mistake and to rule by his side now that Darkseid is gone. Mr. Miracle only promises to bring Jacob’s mom back.
Over where Apokolips now only remains as scattered debris Mr. Miracle and the team prepare for Metron to show up. When Metron shows up Green Lantern Canary immediately throws cuff constructs on Metron. Metron quickly overpowers the team and flies away.
Superman and Mary Marvel chase Metron down. Superman and Mary Marvel Metron to allow them to use the Mobius Chair so they can find a cure for the Anti-Life Equation that has consumed Earth. Metron agrees with the request to see Madame Xanadu’s crystal ball in order to get clarity on something how something will begin that he has foreseen in the future. Mr. Miracle agrees
Cyborg sits on the Mobius Chair and is able to use its power to unlock the knowledge for the Anti-Life Equation cure, which involves him recoding his blood. Superman thanks Metron for his help. Metron, after using Madame Xanadu’s crystal ball, says he must leave. Metron then rushes off on the Mobius Chair.
With the information they need recovered the team also leaves using the Boom Tube.
After the team leaves Black Racer is spotted nearby. Black Racer then witness one of the large pieces of what was Apokolips erupt. It is then shown that Anti-Living Darkseid is inside the debris.
On New Genesis, Highfather spots something crashing nearby the city. Orion calls out to his father. Highfather goes to where the voice was coming from and is stunned to see Anti-Living Darkseid pinning Orion down to the ground. End of issue.
The Good: As the middle chapter of this story DCeased: Dead Planet #4 acts a bridge everything between what has been set-up thus far and moves us into the beginning of the final act. Like the previous chapters, Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine do that by continuing the excellent character work that has become a hallmark of this series.
The thing that stands out with how DCeased: Dead Planet #4 is structured was the calm, measured pacing Taylor and Hairsine took. The story is not rushed just to get to the next phase of the story. Rather, everything that is written and drawn shows how the story is being allowed to breathe and develop a natural flow. That goes for all the big concepts like Madame Xanadu’s crystal ball and the Mobius Chair to smaller character focused moments like where we find Dinah Lance. All these story beats are given time for the reader to take in what is going on while still moving things forward.
That all speaks to how character focused DCeased: Dead Planet is. The characters and where they are at in any given moment is what comes first. That is best exemplified by where Superman and Mary Marvel find Dinah Lance. Superman and Mary Marvel do not try to force Dinah into the world changing mission they are about to go on. Instead they show an understanding of where Dinah is emotionally with Anti-Living Green Arrow’s situation. They use that understanding to do everything in their power to make Dinah feel emotionally comfortable with still doing her superhero duties as Green Lantern while keeping Oliver Queen safe.
This scene works well into the next big emotional scene we get between Mr. Miracle and Highfather as the father-son pair reconnect after so many years without contact. Taylor hit all the right emotional beats with how Mr. Miracle called out Highfather for giving him to Darkseid as an extension of his grief over Big Barda’s death. Even though Mr. Miracle got clean-cut for this mission there is still that pain that exist and drives him.
Highfather recognizing all of this and offering the advice that Mr. Miracle not make the same mistake with his and Big Barda’s son was excellent character development. It showed how Highfather truly regretted his choice and does not want to see his son go down a similar road. This kind of development further exemplifies how there is so much more to the DCeased: Dead Planet story than just overcoming the Anti-Life Equation Virus.
At the same time, Taylor makes sure the focus is still on how our heroes will overcome the Anti-Life Equation Virus. Seeing the heroes being so proactive about finding a cure has been refreshing. This mission to New Genesis was a great way to get over how there is no time to mess around. That was punctuated with how quickly Superman knocked out Orion for his outburst on Mr. Miracle. There is no time for family conflict with the crisis at hand. Highfather recognizing this with how quickly Mr. Miracle and the others convinced him to call Metron furthered that sense of urgency.
The battle with Metron was also nicely handled. Once again, there was a sense of urgency with how quickly our heroes acted in trying to get Metron away from the Mobius Chair. Superman and Mary Marvel switching gears to try to reason with Metron verbally when a sneak attack didn’t work was well handled. It showed a maturity in both Superman and Mary Marvel that helps in establishing the fact that both these characters have grown a lot during the time skip.
Metron playing along to so that he can use Madame Xanadu’s crystal ball to get clarity on information he had about the future was a good compromise that fits the character. As Taylor set-up earlier for readers unfamiliar with Metron, the character has a strict passion for information. Madame Xanadu’s crystal ball was a means to his own ends. That end being about finding out how an Anti-Living Darkseid breaks free was a great tease for that cliffhanger ending because we saw how quickly Metron rushed off after getting all the information he needed.
Speaking of, Taylor and Hairsine immediately elevated the entire DCeased: Dead Planet story by bringing Darkseid back into play as an Anti-Living. The entire presentation of Anti-Living Darkseid came across as a game changer. Which was made all the bigger by the fact that Anti-Living Darkseid’s first attack was to New Genesis. Its an immediate creates a greater concern for how things will now go, especially if all of New Genesis is turned into another Anti-Living planet. It provides a greater sense of urgency for the final three issues for the cure to be created and ready to be administered before Anti-Living Darkseid appears on Earth next.
In the middle of all this, another character focus moment that stood out in DCeased: Dead Planet #4 was Damian Wayne showing how he is more in touch with his emotions as this universe’s Batman. Batman admitting to Wonder Woman and Superman that if only one of them returns he’ll blame the survivor for it was an unexpected revelation. It’s something you don’t expect someone wearing the Batman cape and cowl to admit to his friends. But after everything Damian and the others have been through worked extremely well to show that this is a universe where he has grown more emotionally stable than other incarnations. Wonder Woman being attracted to this was a nice touch to further their relationship that seems to be going strong.
As mentioned before, Hairsine deserves equal amount of credit for the success of DCeased: Dead Planet #4. Hairsine’s style is at home with the DCeased Universe. He packs every scene with the emotional resonance you expect from the character’s reactions. Hairsine also makes sure that the fights that we do get have the strong impact necessary to put over each character. That is shown with how Superman knocks Orion out in one punch and later when Anti-Living Darkseid bursts out of what remained of Apokolips.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine once again knock it out of the park with their work on DCeased: Dead Planet #4. The character work continues to shine as every scene is packed with strong emotions as our heroes deal with the crisis around the Anti-Life Equation. The final few pages further elevate the sense of urgency around the story as a major game changer is revealed. All of that creates greater excitement for what is to come in the final three issues of this event.
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