DCeased: War of the Undead Gods has taken time to get going as this version of the DC Universe settles into what it is after the Justice League was able to save Earth from the Anti-Life Equation Virus. While the Justice League was successful in saving Earth the same can’t be said for the rest of the DC Universe. Because while the Justice League was busy saving Earth the Anti-Living Darkseid quickly spread the Anti-Life Equation Virus to New Genesis and other planets. Now with the Justice League having to deal with Gods and others turned into Anti-Living can they save the DC Universe from the Anti-Life Equation Virus?
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Trevor Hairsine and Neil Edwards
Inker: Andy Lanning
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Leslie Thompkins helps Alfred Pennyworth, with who she’s been in a relationship for years now, through his trauma of knowing he killed Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake when they were turned into Anti-Living.
Damian Wayne shows up to tell Alfred that he is going with the rest of the Justice League to join the Guardians of the Universe in fighting the Anti-Life Equation Crisis. Alfred wishes to go. Damian smiles and tells Alfred there is also a little of Bruce in him too before leaving with Superman (Jon Kent).
Over on Planet Almerax Maxima and the rest of the planet are shown to be completely annihilated by Yellow Lantern Darkseid and his growing army of Anti-Living.
On Oa, after gathering the Justice League and Green Lantern Corps Ganthet and the Guardians of the Universe announce their plan to wipe out all Anti-Living by authorizing the Green Lanterns to use lethal force. Superman (Clark Kent) stands up against this plan as the Justice League has a cure for the Anti-Life Equation Virus. Not seeing that as an option Ganthet orders Superman to be arrested.
When this happens it causes a massive fight between the Green Lantern Corps and Justice League, Batman (Damian Wayne) realizes Ares is the one that secretly instigated this conflict. When Batman confronts Ares over this Mister Mxyzptlk appears saying he won’t let anyone hurt Superman. End of issue.
We’ve reached the halfway point of DCeased: War of the Undead Gods and you can sense that with how the story is paced with this latest issue. Now that all the major players are in position we see how it’s not a simple thing of knowing a big threat our heroes have to overcome in this latest Crisis-level event. With how the Anti-Life Equation Virus is quickly spreading through the DC Universe simply being a traditional hero makes things complicated because it’s not something that others will see as the direction to go.
As has been the case for all of the comic books in the DCeased franchise Tom Taylor gets you in with the emotional ties you have with the DC Universe. Showing the weight of the history within the DCeased version of the DC Universe has always been a highlight. DCeased: War of the Undead Gods #4 gives us just that with how we see Alfred Pennyworth still dealing with the trauma of being the one who killed Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake when they became Anti-Living. Knowing that there was a cure to the Anti-Life Equation Virus only made this trauma worse as he is now living with the knowledge he could’ve saved his sons.
This makes Alfred’s relationship with Leslie Thompkins even stronger. You can see how in the time we haven’t seen Alfred and Leslie become closer that it led to them being a couple. Leslie knows Alfred best and can tell simply by his expressions or way of moving what nightmare he just had. It’s strong development for a relationship that mostly took place off-screen but you as the reader still care about it as you see Alfred and Leslie interact together.
Making this opening better is Damian Wayne reaction to Alfred and Leslie’s relationship along with also recognizing the pain Alfred is feeling. Taylor continues to do a great job showing us Damian who has become a well-adjusted adult even with all the traumatic experiences he’s had from an early age. Little things like talking about how important of a family member Alfred has always been was a strong example of this. Damian even showing appreciation for Alfred’s request to join him in the fight against the undead Gods was well done. We see Damian understands where Alfred is coming from with this request but still makes it so he doesn’t simply say no.
This opening is balanced out with the brutal battle that takes place on Planet Almerax. The narration for this entire battle is an example of how having a narrator can give more weight to what is going on in a scene. Given that there will be fans not familiar with Almerax importance in the DC Universe the narration puts over the impact of Anti-Living Darkseid and New Gods decimating the planet. Even for a character like Maxima who has been able to match up against the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl is not enough to deal with Anti-Living Darkseid’s forces. It is all too overwhelming.
Setting that up made the Ganthet and the Guardians of the Universe’s decision to authorize lethal force to be used by the Green Lantern Corp after announcing the plan to wipe out all of the Anti-Living from existence. This immediately ups the ante of what will be going down in the rest of DCeased: War of the Undead Gods as it appears we will have three sides to this conflict. There’s Darkseid growing Anti-Living army, the Justice League, and Green Lantern Corps.
To Taylor’s credit, Ganthet’s stance is one you do understand. Seeing what Anti-Living Darkseid was able to do after gaining the power of a Yellow Lantern and control of Warworld on top of his growing Anti-Living army is a massive threat. With how the threat continues to grow going with the option of spreading the cure the Justice League was able to create may not be viable since we aren’t just dealing with one planet of Anti-Living.
At the same time, this spotlights how the Justice League will not back away from attempting to not just protect the DC Universe but save it. Superman is the one to lead the charge making this mission statement stronger. The fact you understand both sides makes things even more complicated and intriguing for how things will go in the second half of DCeased: War of the Undead Gods.
With this all going down it was great to see that Ares couldn’t help but make things worse by stoking the flames of conflict between the Green Lantern Corps and the Justice League. Once a God of War, always a God of War. Batman recognizing this was also a good way to further push the idea that Damian has overcome his own anger problems and that he was able to keep a clear head long enough to recognize what Ares was doing.
Mister Mxyzptlk appearing at the end of DCeased: War of the Undead Gods is a big question mark as to what the plan is with the character. While he is appearing to protect Superman you are left wondering what the Fifth Dimension imp can do in this conflict. Whether that questioning is a good or bad thing will be up to how things go in the next issue.
When it comes to the artwork this was not the best issue of DCeased: War of the Undead Gods. You can see how we had to have two different artists working on this single issue. Trevor Hairsine and Neil Edwards did their best to make the transition between artists as smooth as possible. But in doing so the artwork looked a lot less polished than in previous issues. Because of that, you are made more aware that this is an art-by-committee while reading the comic book rather than just being immersed in everything going on.
DCeased: War of the Undead Gods #4 continues to emphasize how this latest Crisis-level event can’t simply be solved by the DC Universe’s greatest heroes uniting against Darkseid’s Anti-Living army. The impact the Anti-Life Equation Virus is shown to have over the course of this franchise makes things much more complicated. Adding that along with the emotional weight that many characters are carrying from what has happened thus far made DCeased: War of the Undead Gods #4 a strong end to the first half of this story.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10