DCeased: Hope At World’s End #3 Review

DCeased: Hope At World's End #3

Just like the Unkillables series before it, DCeased: Hope At World’s End has done a great job expanding on the events of the original mini-series. The first two chapters of this comic book have given us a look at what other DC Universe characters were doing during the crisis caused by the Anti-Life Equation Virus. Those issues, starring Jimmy Olson and Black Adam, help in further understanding the ramification of the Anti-Life Equation virus being released into the world. Now for the third chapter of DCeased: Hope At World’s End we are going to see Wally West get the spotlight. Since Wally or the other Flash Family members except for Barry Allen were absent from the original DCeased mini-series it’ll be interesting to see what these characters were doing when the Anti-Life Equation Virus took over Earth. Let’s find out now with chapter three of DCeased: Hope At World’s End.

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico

Colorist: Rex Lokus

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: At the West household Wally uses his powers to destroy all the screens in his home so Linda Park can be safe. Linda asks Wally to stay with her but Wally says he has to go out and tells Linda to barricade herself inside and not let anyone inside.

Changing into his Flash costume Wally races off to save as many people he can around Keystone City. While doing so Flash also destroys every screen he comes across in the city in order to stop the Anti-Life Equation Virus from spreading faster.

As he runs faster in order to save as many people he Flash feels the Speed Force urging him to join it.

Flash suddenly gets a call from Batman, who is in the Batcave using Mr. Freeze’s armor to slow the Anti-Life Virus infection in his body (this conversation likely takes place before or during DCeased #2). Batman warns Wally to not get scratched or look at a screen. Wally understands Batman is warning him because he would become a major threat if he gets infected. Batman then wishes Wally luck as he shuts off communication.

As he continues to save as many people as he can Wally knows he cannot be everywhere at once. He then gets an idea that can solve that problem.

Over at Max Mercury’s house, we see Max and Bart Allen having a normal day. Wally suddenly rushes in and destroys every screen in the house much to Bart’s shock. Wally then explains everything to Max, Bart, and Jesse Chambers. They then all change into their Max Mercury, Impulse, and Jesse Quick costume to join Wally in saving as many people as they can.

As the Anti-Life Equation spreads Flash, Max Mercury, Impulse, and Jesse Quick save as many people they can in Central City, New York, Gotham City, and other locations.

While doing so Max tells Wally that they need to move the Keystone City residents to another Earth. Wally knows that they have to use the Tandem Cosmic Treadmill as it will take to speedsters to run at max speed to transport a city full of people to another Earth.

Max tells Bart to join Wally since they are the two fastest speedsters in their group while he and Jesse bring the 200,000 people not infected through the portal to the other Earth they create. Bart nervously tells Max to take care of himself while saving people.

Before he and Bart start running, Wally tells Max and Jesse to make sure no Anti-Life Virus infected people are part of the 200,000 people they are planning to evacuate to another Earth.

Wally and Bart proceed to run as quickly as possible and are eventually able to open a portal to another Earth. Max quickly brings Linda as one of the first people through the portal, much to Wally’s happiness.

As Max and Jesse work as fast as possible to get as many non-infected people through the portal Bart starts to slow down as he cannot keep up the speed he is running at. Just as that happens Jesse gets the last person through the portal.

Bart starts to slow down and the treadmill sends him flying through the wall of the building. Max tells Wally to do his best to keep the portal open while he goes to get Bart.

Outside, Bart’s hard landing causes one of his knees to be injured. A group of Anti-Living spot Bart and move to attack him. Max moves quickly to save Bart from the group of Anti-Living. Not wasting time Max heads back inside with Bart and tackles Wally so that they can all get through the portal to the other Earth safely before it closes.

Once they are on the other Earth Max apologizes as he notices he was scratched by one of the Anti-Living, much to Bart, Jesse, and Wally’s horror. Max tells Wally that he has to end him before the Anti-Life Equation Virus fully infects him.

After Max tells Bart he loves him he starts running with Wally. Wally then pushes Max to reach the max speed so they can get into the Speed Force. Wally stops so Max can then enter the Speed Force alone. Max merges with the Speed Force with a smile on his face as he was able to do so before he became an Anti-Living. End of issue.

DCeased: Hope At World's End #3
Max Mercury says his final goodbye to Bart Allen, Jesse Quick, and Wally West before becoming an Anti-Living in DCeased: Hope At World’s End #3. Click for full page view.

The Good: For as young as the franchise is DCeased has delivered some of the most emotionally gut-wrenching comic book issues in DC Comics modern-day history. And now you can add DCeased: Hope At World’s End Chapter 3 to that list. This issue hits as hard as any issue Tom Taylor has written in the DCeased Universe.

Continuing the trend of centering the story around absent characters from the main DCeased mini-series was once again an excellent choice. Taylor’s use of the events in the main story in this series has enhanced each chapter of DCeased: Hope At World’s End. That is once again the case with Batman’s quick appearance in this issue as we see the Dark Knight warning Wally West about the Anti-Life Equation Virus. Seeing Batman in the Mr. Freeze armor immediately reminds you what happened to him in the main DCeased mini-series and showed that he was working to the very last minute trying to save people the best way he could.

Batman’s appearance heightened the level of danger Wally West found himself in. Because while he was using his best to save as many people as he could you were left wondering if he would be scratched at some point. We saw that happen to Barry Allen in the main series and that caused major ramifications in how the Anti-Life Equation Virus spread reached the surviving heroes at the Fortress of Solitude. And Taylor accomplishes that level of danger through this interaction between Wally and Batman.

The scene also worked to establish how Wally does his best to keep himself hopeful. While it was a tough decision to not be by Linda Park’s side he knew that he had to use his powers to save as many people as he could. Keeping us within Wally’s world as he was running around at max speed helped further how Wally was a true hero. All he was concerned about was saving as many people as he could.

That made the fact that Wally was able to fight off the temptation to join the Speed Force as he did reach his max speed a greater character moment. We’ve seen how the pull to tap into and join the Speed Force is highly tempting. At the same time, Wally was able to keep his composure long enough to know that he had to resist that urge and continue saving people.

It was also good to see that after a while Wally understood that not even his speed was enough to save everyone. Realizing he needed to recruit other Speed Force users showed us how when needed Wally can step up as a leader. This allowed Taylor to further examine the relationships within the Flash Family, something we don’t see often.

By bringing in Max Mercury, Bart Allen, and Jesse Quick, Taylor spotlights how their connection isn’t just because they are Speed Force users but are actually a family. That is best shown with how Taylor shows how effectively Max, Bart, Jesse, and Wally are able to work together to cover the maximum amount of ground in every city they visit.

Through it all it made you realize that even for all their speed that all the Flash Family were doing was buying time. Taylor having them all realize this made the plan to use the Tandem Cosmic Treadmill to evacuate 200,000 survivors to another Earth. This is a great use of elements of the Flash franchise to show how desperate things are. Max and Wally pointing out that they will have to figure out how to explain to the other Earth why they brought 200,000 people there added weight to this decision. While that is a concern, they had to be focused on the here and now first.

It was also fantastic to see that it was Wally and Bart who were the ones chosen to run. This not only highlighted how Wally and Bart are powerful Speed Force users but also how Max and Jesse recognize they are more effective by bringing the 200,000 people through the portal. Not having an argument about this allowed this decision to actually elevate all four Speed Force users as they each served an incredibly important role that maximized their power levels.

DCeased: Hope At World's End #3
The Flash Family uses the Tandem Cosmic Treadmill in DCeased: Hope At World’s End #3. Click for full page view.

Ending DCeased: Hope At World’s End #3 with Max saving Bart and getting infected because of his heroic sacrifice was heartbreaking. You could see in Bart’s eyes how he blamed himself. But the consummate superhero, Max was clearly happy he was able to save Bart and Wally. Knowing the good he did Max more than accepted what his fate became. That made the final page even more powerful as we saw Max with a giant smile on his face as he merged with the Speed Force after showing the heart of a true superhero.

Carmine Di Giandomenico’s artwork throughout DCeased: Hope At World’s End #3 was well done. I especially like the decision by Giandomenico and Rex Lokus to use the color of grey to show that time is slowed while Wally was running around saving people. It made the lightning trail that Wally and the other Speed Force users pop off the page even more. Giandomenico also delivered on the emotionally impactful story beats. The final page with Max’s smiling as he entered the Speed Force was excellent.

The Bad: Nothing.

Overall: DCeased: Hope At World’s End #3 is an emotionally impactful issue. Tom Taylor, Carmine Di Giandomenico, and Rex Lokus hit all the right story beats to maximize the page count of this issue. There is no wasted moment as we see Wally West lead the Flash Family in combating the Anti-Life Equation Virus. As heartbreaking as the conclusion of DCeased: Hope At World’s End #3 it’ll be interesting if any of the plot elements of this issue are used in the upcoming Dead Planet sequel.

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