The dead walk in stately Wayne Manor. Will even the legendary Batman survive? Your Major Spoilers review of DCeased #2 awaits!
Writer: Tom Taylor
Penciler: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 5, 2019
Previously in DCeased: Millions are dying every minute. Heroes and villains alike are falling. Can the Justice League unite to find a way to stop the spread of death? Can they save humanity from extinction? Can they even save themselves? The key to survival may hinge on the last moments of one of the World’s Finest Heroes…
A TERRIBLE INFECTION, BOTH VIRAL *AND* DIGITAL
We open in the middle of the Atlantic, as an unknown narrator tells us about “the first days” of the plague, (making it clear that *somebody* is going to survive this) as Aquaman investigates a foundering cargo ship. He quickly discovers that it’s full to the brimming with infected, who stop tearing each other apart long enough to go after him, tearing him to bits as they fall in to the ocean. In Metropolis, Superman, Lois Lane, Superboy and Robin formulate a plan for survival, all contingent upon making it to the Daily Planet, where there is a broadcast apparatus that they intend to use to communicate with survivors. Things start getting real as the issue flits about the DCU, checking in on Harley Quinn as she prepares to break up with the (infected) Joke, with Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Black Canary on a camping trip, and find out what happened to Batman after last issue’s sneak attack by his adoptive sons. (It’s not pretty, and it makes for one of the most emotional sequences, thanks to Alfred.) As the issue ends, it becomes clear that this one is going to end badly for all involved.
DESTROY THE INTERNET, SAVE THE WORLD
After having serious reservations about issue #1, this book is a definite improvement for me, both in terms of the story and the art. The realization that Hal Jordan is infected is terrifying, but Green Arrow and Black Canary immediately take advantage of his weaknesses to take him out. Even more shocking, after he forces them to use lethal force, his ring seeks out a new bearer and lands on… Black Canary! Superman being sidelined protecting his family is admittedly a plot-cheat, but Taylor’s script makes it feel perfectly in character for the Man of Steel, and Batman’s final message to Damian is incredibly touching, as much for what he doesn’t/can’t say as what he does. Hairsine also pulls out the stops with his art, and the 3/4-page shot of Batman succumbing to homidical madness, snarling through a mouthful of blood and preparing to kill Alfred is genuinely frightening. The issue ending with a shotgun blast to Batman’s head is another shocking moment, subverting my expectations of how the crossover would go and making it clear that Taylor wants to do something more interesting than “if he only had an hour to plan.”
BOTTOM LINE: HAS SOME REALLY STRONG MOMENTS
This issue widens the focus of the story beyond Superman and Batman to its credit and hits us with a couple of truly surprising demises all the while increasing the tension. The only real downside of DCeased #2 is that even the well-done moments don’t overcome the feeling that everyone is doomed and that this is all going to end in horrific tragedy for everyone, but they do make it worth the ride, especially since the pricetag doesn’t increase because it’s an “event” book, leaving the book with a better than average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Even if it’s another zombie-style story, it’s got some things going for it.
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The grey font on yellow background narration is hard to read, but the issue delivers on a couple of thrilling moments, even if it feels a bit like a foregone conclusion.