DCeased: Hope At World’s End has been a great companion piece to the events that took place in the original DCeased and DCeased: Unkillables series. We’ve seen a lot of events from DCeased expanded on and characters not previously seen get a chance to show what they were up to during the events of this story. One of the sub-plots recent issues of DCeased: Hope At World’s End has followed up on is showing us Damian Wayne’s evolution as he takes over his father’s, Bruce Wayne, mantle of Batman. Things got really emotional as Damian finally accepted his father’s death and how it is his time to step up to take on being Batman from here on out. Now based on the cover of DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5 it looks like Tom Taylor will take the time to spotlight how the new Trinity featured in DCeased: Dead Planet in the form of Damian Wayne as Batman, Jon Kent as Superman, and Cassie Sandsmark as Wonder Woman first united before they originally left Earth. Let’s see how it all started with DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Marco Failla
Colorist: Rex Lokus
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Superboy (Jonathan Kent) returns to the Fortress of Solitude after helping Superman severing the last Internet cables to ensure the Internet is permanently down so the Anti-Life Equation Virus stops spreading. Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) tells Superboy that Batman (Damian Wayne) stole Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet.
Eventually Superboy and Wonder Girl catch up with Batman and tells him to land the Invisible Jet so they can talk.
In a forest area Damian admits that he is going to Gotham City to find his mom. Superboy wants to take Damian back to the Fortress of Solitude. Damian reminds Superboy he can leave anytime he wants and Superboy will never be able to stop him. Superboy relents and agrees to go with Damian to Gotham City, as does Wonder Girl.
In Gotham City Anti-Living Kite Man tries to attack Batman but he just smashes into the Invisible Jet and falls to his death. Batman, Superboy, and Wonder Girl all laugh at how ridiculous that just was.
Eventually they get to Gotham Bank where Batman reveals that his mom, Talia Al Ghul, showed up in Gotham City to kill the mayor with some members of the League of Assassins before the Anti-Life Equation Virus took over the world. Batman then leads Superboy and Wonder Girl to where Talia’s safehouse in the city is.
At Talia Al Ghul’s safe house Batman, Superboy, and Wonder Girl find a horde of Anti-Living. The trio make quick work of all the Anti-Living. They then lock themselves in a safe room to avoid being attacked from any other Anti-Living.
Using his x-ray vision Superboy is able to find where Talia is and Wonder Girl uses her strength to break into the room. Talia is shocked to see Damian with Superboy and Wonder Girl. Talia then asks Damian why he is wearing the Batman costume. Damian reveals to his mom that Bruce died, much to Talia’s shock. Damian then says they have to leave and that he can take her to safety in the Invisible Jet.
Before heading back to the Fortress of Solitude, Damian takes a detour to the Batcave along with Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Talia. They find Bruce, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake’s gravesites, which Talia is able to tell that Jason Todd created due to what is written on the headstones.
Suddenly they all hear something behind the giant t-rex. Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) appears and immediately hugs Damian. Stephanie assures Damian that she will be there for him. Damian hugs Stephanie back as tears rain down from his eyes.
Talia suddenly makes a negative comment about Bruce that sets Superboy and Wonder Girl off. Damian stops the two from doing anything as he knows that his mom is just said that as a defense mechanism. He says that they should all head back to the Fortress of Solitude.
Stephanie reappears in her Robin suit and says that if Damian is now going to be Batman he will need a Robin. End of issue.
The Good: Tom Taylor and Marco Failla pick up where the last issue left off and do not miss a beat with the story they deliver on DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5. The story was focused on keeping the overall narrative of expanding on events from the original DCeased going. In the process it had all the heart and emotion that has been expected from this franchise.
Following Damian Wayne, Jonathan Kent, and Cassandra Sandsmark was a great choice for DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5. Especially with how we’ve seen these three actively working as the new Trinity in DCeased: Dead Planet as they have been firmly established as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman when that series started. Seeing how their connection started even before they left Earth showed how by the time we see them again in DCeased: Dead Planet that they are comfortable working together.
It was a smart move to de-age Cassie Sandsmark to further build the connection with Damian and Jon. The three of them being around the same age makes there rise come across as friends that were able to help each other accept their future roles. It also made the dialogue in DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5 come across as contemporaries talking with one another. That created greater chemistry between the three as they spoke to each other like equals.
Damian going on a mission to find his mother, Talia Al Ghul, also made sense given where we last saw him after accepting his father’s death and taking up the Batman mantle. The emotions of losing his dad are still raw and having that be a driving force behind making sure he can save his mom was well handled. Even though things have been rocky between Damian and Talia since the former left to become Bruce’s new Robin the connection between mother-son is still strong.
Taylor did a good job establishing how there is a strain in Damian and Talia’s relationship. Talia’s attitude when she saw Superboy and Wonder Girl showed that she still has not accepted Damian’s choice to become a superhero. Damian shutting this down early does show growth in his character as he does not lose his cool like he would normally have done. It’s these type of character growth that Taylor has be so good at.
Talia changing her tone when she heard from Damian that Bruce died hit the right note. Everything from Talia’s shock to her trying to hide her sadness by throwing shade at Bruce was all in character. As Damian mentioned, Talia’s words were all an attempt to hide the love she had for Bruce. Because at the end of the day she did truly love him.
At the same time, Taylor did a good job bringing the events of DCeased: Unkillables into Damian’s story. Talia knowing that Jason Todd created the gravesite for Bruce, Dick and Tim was a nice touch to remind readers of how Jason’s rebirth was done by the League of Assassins. That sense of continuity for both the classic DC Universe and events in DCeased: Unkillables gives a greater connection for long-time DC readers to immediately recognize.
Stephanie Brown’s appearance at the end of DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5 was a nice surprise. Stephanie not wasting a minute and immediately hugging Damian and sympathizing with him was a great way to introduce her into the DCeased Universe. Through this action you can tell Stephanie has been grieving Tim and the others death and understands exactly how Damian is feeling. Damian accepting Stephanie’s words helped elevate this interaction between them.
Ending DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5 with Stephanie becoming Robin again was a great hook ending. This hopefully means that we will see Stephanie as some form of Robin or Nightwing in the time jump. Because as DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5 showed, there is a lot of potential with Damian and Stephanie working as the new Dynamic Duo in DCeased: Dead Planet.
Marco Failla’s artwork was solid throughout DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5. Failla’s artwork was at its best when getting across how Damian was feeling during this issue. Even with the Batman costume on Failla got across the emotion Damian felt when he was saying his dialogue. That emotional weight carried over to the different reactions all the other characters had during their various back-and-forths as the tone of the issue shifted depending on the scene.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5 continues the trend of emotionally impactful comic books that this mini-series has been known for. Tom Taylor and Marco Failla followed up Damian Wayne’s accepting his role as Batman in the last issue by exploring his relationship with his mother, Talia Al Ghul. Along the way Taylor and Failla where also able to spotlight Jonathan Kent, Cassie Sandsmark, and Stephanie Brown in compelling ways that fits the narrative of the DCeased Universe during this time period. If you have been following the DCeased Universe I recommend picking up DCeased: Hope At World’s End #5.
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