DCeased: Unkillables #3 Review

DCeased: Unkillables #3 Cover

The DCeased version of the DC Universe has been expanded on with the events of Unkillables. This series has shown us what another group of heroes and villains not featured in the original series were doing when the Anti-Life Equation Virus outbreak happened. Through that Tom Taylor has added a whole new layer to the DCeased Universe that makes you care even more for this continuity. Now with DCeased: Unkillables #3 we are going to see what the survivors left on Earth have done to stay alive after they were unable to make it to escape the planet with the group at the Fortress of Solitude. How will things turn out? Let’s find out with DCeased: Unkillables #3.

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Karl Mostery

Inker: Trevor Scott, Neil Edwards and Mostert

Colorist: Rex Lokus

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: An Anti-Living Bane leads a group of other Anti-Livings in a charge inside the Bludhaven Orphanage. Jim Gordon is able to get all the kids inside as Solomon Grundy meets the Anti-Living Bane before he gets close. Solomon Grundy proceeds to rip off Anti-Living Bane’s head.

Solomon Grundy then blocks the door to the orphanage to with his body while warning everyone inside to run. Rather than run Red Hood, Batgirl (Cassandra Cain), Deathstroke, Ravager, Cheetah and Jim Gordon lead everyone into battle against the Anti-Living. As they kill all the Anti-Living horde the Creeper is able to help a heavily injured Solomon Grundy to the side.

DCeased: Unkillables #3

Deathstroke and The Creeper lead the fight against the Anti-Living in DCeased: Unkillables #3. Click for full page view.

With the horde not stopping everyone in the orphanage decides to leave by getting on the busses and having Red Hood and Ravager in the Batmobile lead them out of the area to The Garden. (the fortress Poison Ivy constructed and established around Gotham City in DCeased #5.)

As they hit the highway, inside the bus Deathstroke is driving an Anti-Living Mirror Master appears from one of the windows and slashes Deathstroke’s eye. Jim Gordon takes over driving so that Deathstroke can tell everyone to destroy all the windows on the bus. Unfortunately, he is too late to warn everyone as the Anti-Living Mirror Master starts taking children.

When destroying the last window Anti-Living Mirror Master appears and attempts to take another kid. Cheetah and Ace the Bathound work together to kill the Anti-Living Mirror Master before he can do that.

Deathstroke and Jim Gordon inform Red Hood and Ravager about what happened. As they do all the vehicles run into a huge horde waiting for them outside Gotham City’s Garden.

The Batmobile detects something heading at them. Red Hood doubts even a missile being able to dent the Batmobile. It is revealed that it is Anti-Living Wonder Woman who is what the Batmobile detected. Anti-Living Wonder Woman proceeds to easily flip the Batmobile, destroying it in the process.

Cheetah gets out of her bus and immediately goes after the Anti-Living Wonder Woman. Knowing that Cheetah can’t stop Anti-Living Wonder Woman by herself Creeper and Solomon Grundy rush off to help as well.

While Cheetah, Creeper, and Solomon Grundy fight Anti-Living Wonder Woman, Deathstroke tells Jim Gordon to get all the kids on the second bus as he is going to take the first one to save his daughter, Rose. Jim Gordon says he is coming as Batman’s son, Jason, is also in the middle of the horde so he is going with Deathstroke.

Deathstroke lets Lady Shiva know about Anti-Living Wonder Woman and that he is sending all the kids to her bus. Cassandra works on immediately getting all the kids on the other bus as the Anti-Living horde approach. As Cassandra gets in the bus some of the horde are able to pull her out of the bus by grabbing her cape.

DCeased: Unkillables #3

Lady Shiva shows her love for her daughter, Cassandra Cain, in DCeased: Unkillables #3. Click for full page view.

Lady Shiva immediately hands over control of the bus to one of the kids. She then goes to help her daughter against the Anti-Living horde.

Teaming up, Cassandra and Lady Shiva are able to create an opening so they can run to the bus. As they get inside one of the Anti-Living slashes Lady Shiva in the back. After killing the Anti-Living that slashed her Lady Shiva request that her daughter finish her before its to late. Cassandra hesitates at first but Lady Shiva tells her she must do. With a heavy heart Cassandra kills Lady Shiva before she turns into an Anti-Living.

Nearby Jim Gordon reach the Batmobile and gets Jason and Rose out and back to the bus that Deathstroke is defending. The bus gets destroyed as Wonder Woman throws Solomon Grundy through it.

Deathstroke tells Jim, Jason and Rose he will give them the cover to escape. Deathstroke then pulls Jason to the side to remind him that if Jason does anything wrong Rose can see it before it happens and will kill him. Deathstroke then tells them all to go. Rose gives one last hug to her dad and gets on the last bus with the others.

Meanwhile Anti-Living Wonder Woman kills Cheetah, Creeper and Solomon Grundy. As Deathstroke is the last one standing defending everyone Anti-Living Wonder Woman flies right through Deathstroke.

Anti-Living Wonder Woman is able to catch up to the bus and lifts it into the sky. After getting extremely high in the air Anti-Living Wonder Woman drops the bus everyone is in.

Inside the bus, seeing no way they survive the impact Mary Batson, who is one of the kids in the bus, transforms into Mary Marvel. As she saves everyone Mary reveals, through her inner monologue, that she and Billy (who died after being turned into an Anti-Living in DCeased: Unkillables #2) did not transform so the Anti-Life Equation did not gain control of the powers of SHAZAM. Seeing that she can’t hold back anymore flies up to face off against Anti-Living Wonder Woman.

Mary Marvel and Anti-Living Wonder Woman proceed to fight. Eventually Mary Marvel is able to counter one of Anti-Living Wonder Woman’s attacks and punches her hard enough to send her crashing to the ground.

DCeased: Unkillables #3

Mary Marvel reveals why she waited to use the power of SHAZAM in DCeased: Unkillables #3. Click for full page view.

With Anti-Living Wonder Woman dealt with Mary Marvel quickly flies the bus with everyone inside into Gotham City’s Garden.

Once inside they are greeted by Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Poison Ivy reveals that they are all sage as the Anti-Living can’t breach The Garden. Zatanna, Doctor Fate and Constantine appear to reveal that they fortified The Garden with their magic so the Anti-Living can’t get inside.

After everyone gets introduced a commemorative statue inside The Garden to honor Deathstroke, Cheetah, Lady Shiva, Solomon Grundy, Deadshot and Bane sacrifice. End of story.

The Good: Tom Taylor delivered the best issue of DCeased: Unkillables for its final issue. Using the fact that this issue completely takes place after the events of the original DCeased series Taylor had a greater opportunity to explore what its like to be on Earth now. And like he did with the original DCeased finale Taylor used all the character arcs he has built up to this point to make DCeased: Unkillables #3 a satisfying conclusion to this story.

Like in the original, one of the things that Taylor does extremely well is create incredible tension throughout DCeased: Unkillables #3. He does that by using how he has gotten you to care for every character in this series over the course of the previous two issues. Whether they were your favorite characters coming into this series or not, Taylor’s writing is so strong that you understand why each character does and says what they do.

DCeased: Unkillables #3

Anti-Living Mirror Master wrecks havoc in DCeased: Unkillables #3. Click for full page view.

That is best shown for Taylor’s writing of both Solomon Grundy and The Creeper. These are two characters I’ve never been fans of. But through his writing, in particular how he has built a bond between Solomon Grundy and The Creeper in the previous two issues, Taylor got me to care for them. The Creeper going out to help Solomon Grundy after he was tired from holding back the Anti-Living for as long as he did was a great sign of their friendship. That made the payoff of when they both agreed to sacrifice themselves to help Cheetah against Anti-Living Wonder Woman a great moment. You understood that if they were going to go out they were going to do it together knowing they protected the kids they grew close to.

It really exemplifies the great work that Taylor did with his writing that you do care when these long time villains make a heroic sacrifice. You feel like these sacrifices by Deathstroke, Cheetah, Lady Shiva, Solomon Grundy and Cheetah are all earned. This was part of the redemption arc that these characters went through while spending time with children they were able to teach how to survive in this post-apocalypse.

Taylor also took previously established character work like the relationship between Cassandra Cain and Lady Shiva to give their development as mother-daughter a complete arc. We saw how Lady Shiva need to protect Cassandra as a mother was fully represented in both her big actions in DCeased: Unkillables #3. First we see that Lady Shiva will not leave Cassandra behind for the horde to turn into an Anti-Living. Then she gives as heartwarming of a speech that shows she truly did love her daughter as she requested Cassandra kill her before being turned into an Anti-Living.

It all provided a sense of closure for Cassandra’s character as well. As we saw throughout DCeased: Unkillables, this event made it clear that Cassandra does love her mother, Lady Shiva. Even after all she has been put through the love did not disappear. And by being forced to kill her own mother we saw how heavy of an order that was for Cassandra to listen to. This moment made you feel like Cassandra truly graduated to being an adult as she enters this new world order.

Possibly getting the best payoff for all the character work in DCeased: Unkillables was for Deathstroke. With this series starting with Deathstroke it was only appropriate that he get a big send off. While there is possibly something inside him that could lead to a cure for the Anti-Life Equation Virus that was never going to be his fate. Deathstroke is a fighter and will go out with his sword and guns. Him doing that to buy time for the remaining bus of kids and, most importantly, his daughter, Rose Wilson spoke to how far his character came at this point.

DCeased: Unkillables #3

Deathstroke goes down fighting in DCeased: Unkillables #3. Click for full page view.

Taylor also played it smart by having Jim Gordon, Rose Wilson, and Jason Todd add to the importance of Deathstroke’s sacrifice. Each of these three characters built a bond with Deathstroke through the events of DCeased: Unkillables. Jim joining Deathstroke to save Jason and Rose and then understanding the sacrifice added to this part of the story. The same with the warning Jason gave about doing right by Rose and the final hug goodbye Rose gave to her dad. It all helped add importance to what Deathstroke was doing.

Taylor also remedied one of the big questions that there was following DCeased: Unkillables #2. In that issue we saw that Billy Batson was one of the kids in the Bludhaven Orphanage. But rather than transform into Shazam to save everyone Billy went out in his regular kid form. There was a big question why that was the case.

To his credit, Taylor answered that as he revealed that Mary Marvel was one of the kids at the Bludhaven Orphanage. In that reveal we learn through Mary Marvel’s inner monologue that she and Billy purposely didn’t tap into the powers of SHAZAM in order to ensure the powers would not come under the control of the Anti-Life Equation. That explanation went a long way into making you understand this game changing choice that both Billy and Mary made up to this point.

Getting to understand Billy’s decision made the fact that Mary had to transform into Mary Marvel be a bigger moment. There was nothing else that could be done. Mary had to take the risk as she was the only one left who could save everyone on the bus and have a hope to take on the Anti-Living Wonder Woman. And the fact that Mary Marvel was able to defeat Anti-Living Wonder Woman made this one of the most memorable moments for Mary’s character I can remember.

Ending DCeased: Unkillables #3 with the survivors making it to The Garden in Gotham City was an excellent way to conclude this mini-series. Taylor made this ending come across as the safety that all these characters were fighting to reach. It also sets up a key plot point for the upcoming DCeased: Dead Planet sequel as we learn that the Anti-Living are not able to get inside The Garden. This immediately sets up Poison Ivy, Zatanna, Constantine, and Doctor Fate to be key characters. They’ve at least found a way to combine magic and Poison Ivy’s control of the Green to keep the Anti-Living away. That could lead to a big storyline of a cure being created during DCeased: Dead Planet.

DCeased: Unkillables #3

The Garden’s protection against the Anti-Life Equation Virus is revealed in DCeased: Unkillables #3. Click for full page view.

While that is a great plotline set-up it was great to see that the final page of DCeased: Unkillables featured a statue honoring Deathstroke, Cheetah, Lady Shiva, Solomon Grundy, Deadshot and Bane sacrifice. Even though they were all villains and started this series out looking out for themselves they all had a redemption through their sacrifices to protect others. The statue shows that they were able to be redeemed through the bonds they forged with the kids at the Bludhaven Orphanage.

Karl Mostery’s artwork got the job done. As with the other issues, I was not blown away by Mostery’s art style. It did not help that multiple inkers did cause some consistency problems. That said, Mostery and company did deliver on making the big character sacrifices be visually memorable. As was the moment when Mary Marvel appeared on screen. The presence Mary Marvel had was appropriate for how big that reveal was.

The Bad: Nothing

Overall: DCeased: Unkillables #3 delivered an emotionally heavy ending for this mini-series. Tom Taylor did a fantastic job paying off all the character arcs in this mini-series to make the entire package better. Every character involved was given memorable moments. And the ending built greater excitement for what is to come in the sequel, DCeased: Dead Planet.


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