DCeased: Hope at World's End #4

DCeased: Hope at World’s End #4 Review

DCeased: Hope at World's End #4

DCeased: Hope At World’s End has been a nice surprise follow-up right after DCeased: Unkillables. Much like, DCeased: Unkillables, Hope At World’s End is showing us what other characters in the DC Universe were doing during the events of the original DCeased event. The big difference between Unkillables and Hope At World’s End is that the latter series has been using more characters from the original DCeased event to enhance what is going on in this mini-series. In the process, Tom Taylor has given us different perspectives from how the Anti-Life Equation Virus infection impacted different parts of the DC Universe. How will this latest issue turn out? Let’s find out with DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4.

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Marco Failla

Colorist: Rex Lokus

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: In Qurac, Aerie and Wink (two new characters Tom Taylor has introduced in his current Suicide Squad run) reach the Jotunheim fortress. Thanks to Aerie’s flying powers they are able to avoid all of the Anti-Living in the area and make it safely to the fortress.

Inside Jotunheim Raza Kattuah and Manticore spot Aerie and Wink flying in and order their soldiers to open fire on the pair. Wink uses her powers to teleport both of them into the base.

Before Raza Kattuah and Manticore attack them Aerie and Wink explain their situation and how they are just looking for shelter. Wink also mentions how she can easily use her powers to teleport Raza Kattuah and Manticore outside the fortress if she wanted to.

Over at the Fortress of Solitude, Wonder Woman has brought Cassandra Sandsmark and others inside.

In a private room, Jonathan Kent finds Damian Wayne looking at the suitcase his father, Bruce Wayne, left for him (DCeased #4). Jonathan tells Damian that Wonder Woman brought Wonder Girl’s and others safely into the Fortress of Solitude with her invisible jet.

Jonathan then asks if Damian is going to change into the Batman suit his dad left for him. Damian isn’t sure if he is ready. Jonathan points to his own Superman shield on his chest and says he understands the burden such a symbol carries.

Back inside Jotunheim, after Aerie and Wink have rested, Manticore asks them both to go find two scouts, Nightshade and Hyve, they sent out that have not returned. Aerie agrees and takes Wink to go find the scouts.

Back at the Fortress of Solitude, Superman comes to give Damian and Alfred some tea he just made. He then asks Alfred if he could talk with Damian. Alfred agrees and goes to another room.

Damian wonders why Superman is there. Superman mentions Jonathan told him Damian needed someone to talk to. Superman tells Damian that Bruce left him the Batman suit because he felt Damian deserved it. Damian isn’t sure his dad is right about that. Superman admits that when they are all young that they believe fathers are rarely right but when they grow older they realized their dads as just looking to protect them.

Damian says Superman’s dad was an old-school dad and asks if he was a genuine as he seemed. Superman says he was. Damian wonders if Superman is okay, knowing what Superman had to do to his dad.

Superman smiles and says he knows Bruce made the right choice having Damian take up the Batman mantle. He goes on to say that he knows Damian isn’t scared of what the Batman symbol. Damian admits that he fears that the moment he puts on the Batman suit it will mean that Bruce is really gone.

Superman tells Damian that Bruce became a hero in order to save others from having to go through the loss that he suffered when his parents died. Superman goes on to say the world still needs that and knows Damian can be the Batman.

DCeased: Hope at World's End #4
Superman shows support for Damian Wayne taking up the Batman mantle in DCeased: Hope at World’s End #4. Click for full page view.

After hearing this Damian has Alfred help him customize the Batman suit his dad left him so it can fit him. Seeing him in the Batman suit Alfred says that Damian looks just like as his father.

Elsewhere Aerie spots a massive Anti-Living army heading towards their direction. Right as Aerie warns Wink about it an Anti-Living Black Adam speeds towards them. Wink teleports them both away just before Anti-Living Black Adam hits them.

After getting a good distance away through teleporting Aerie immediately grabs Wink to fly them both back to Jotunheim to warn the others.

Anti-Living Black Adam is then shown leading an army of Anti-Living straight to Jotunheim. End of issue.

The Good: DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4 continues the trend of strong storylines that provide a good compliment to the events that occurred during the original DCeased. Seeing how other characters across the DC Universe responded to the Anti-Life Equation Virus has helped elevate the original event. DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4 did just that.

Now I will admit that the effectiveness of DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4 will vary with readers. That is because unlike the previous three chapters of this series the main characters we follow here aren’t as well known. Aerie and Wink are new characters in the DC Universe that Tom Taylor introduced at the start of Suicide Squad run that began earlier this year. So there will likely be readers who just aren’t familiar with these characters.

That said, Taylor once again excelled at providing engaging dialogue that gets over who Aerie and Wink are. Even though this is the first time I read a comic with them in it I quickly understood who Aerie and Wink are, both from their abilities and personality. And like previous issues, Taylor is able to use the Anti-Life Equation Virus to elevate the sense of urgency in Aerie and Wink’s dialogue to show how different characters respond to this crisis.

DCeased: Hope at World's End #4
Anti-Living Black Adam leads an army of Anti-Living to cause chaos in DCeased: Hope at World’s End #4. Click for full page view.

Adding in the continuation of Black Adam becoming an Anti-Living at the end of the previous chapter of DCeased: Hope At World’s End was a good call. As soon as Anti-Living Black Adam the there is a heightened sense of fear in the Qurac area. We got a view of how dangerous the power of SHAZAM falling prey to the Anti-Life Equation truly is, giving greater weight to Billy and Mary Batson’s choices in the DCeased: Unkillables series.

The part of DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4 that will make this issue memorable is everything involving Damian Wayne and his decision to become Batman. Taylor expertly crafted the story of how much weight comes with the mantle of Batman. You understand that it is not such a simple thing as Damian putting on the cape and cowl to become Batman. There is a heavyweight that comes with choosing to do so.

What I especially loved about this is how Damian ended up admitting to Superman that the reason he has not put on the cape and cowl was that it would mean that his dad, Bruce Wayne, was truly gone. Damian having such an honest moment showed that becoming Batman took on a whole new meaning for Damian during this DCeased event. It reminded you that Damian is a kid that is dealing with the fact that not only did his dad pass away but he wasn’t able to say goodbye. In its own way, Damian putting on the cape and cowl would mean he was truly saying goodbye to Bruce.

Which all helped elevate Superman’s role in helping Damian accept that it is his time to be Batman. Taylor did an excellent job showing how supportive Superman was with Damian. At the same time, Taylor also was able to tap into the fact that Bruce and Clark were best friends to give greater importance to Superman’s dialogue. Superman spoke in a way that came from a place of understanding having been both best friends with Bruce and recently going through his own loss of his father.

Having Damian be open to Superman’s words of wisdom further helped make the dialogue be more meaningful. It added to how lost Damian felt at this point and how Superman was there to provide the words that Damian needed in the moment. That all made the moment when we see Damian in his own modified version of the Batman costume be more meaningful when we see the full splash page.

Marco Failla did just as much heavy lifting as Taylor’s writing. Failla’s artwork really hit home where each character in DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4 was at this point. The artwork especially shined in the scenes with Damian and Superman. Failla got over where both characters were at that specific moment in time. It added made all the dialogue leading to the final page with Damian as Batman has a great sense of importance.

The Bad: As mentioned before, the effectiveness of the Wink and Aerie scenes in DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4 will likely rest on readers knowing them from Taylor’s current Suicide Squad run. Without that connection, it may be tough to connect with these characters like you did with Wally West, Bart Allen, Max Mercury, Jesse Quick, Jimmy Olsen, or Black Adam. Aerie and Wink just don’t have that long history as part of the DC Universe.

It would’ve helped if Aerie and Wink were given other established characters to interact with. They didn’t have to be incredibly well known but this was a spot were maybe using a character like Static Shock, who is technically part of the DCU. Having that recognizable name to interact with relatively new characters in Aerie and Wink would’ve made these scenes much more effective. Having the characters they interact with turns out to be Raza Kattuah and Manticore just did not end up working out.

Overall: DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4 was another strong entry in what has been one of the best Elseworld Universe’s in the DC Comics library. Tom Taylor and Marco Failla did an excellent job of expanding on Damian Wayne’s sub-plot in the original DCeased event. Damian’s conversation with Superman will go down as one of the more memorable scenes in the DCeased franchise. If you read the original event than DCeased: Hope At World’s End #4 is definitely a must-read.

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