the Apocalypse has come to the DC Universe in the form of an ever-expanding horde of hungry zombies! As the disaster threatens to spread worldwide, the personal costs for our heroes mount higher and higher. Can they regroup and launch a counterattack, or will they be devoured in the most horrifying way? Find out in our stunning Major Spoilers review!
Writer: Tom Taylor
Penciller: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 3rd, 2019
Previously in DCeased: Darkseid’s anti-life equation lurks within Cyborg. When the Master of Apokolips tortures him for it, the equation becomes corrupted. In despatching Cyborg back to Earth, Darkseid unleashes a techno-organic virus that turns everyone exposed into zombies. Superheroes fall prey just as normal humans do, and soon millions are on the rampage. Now, with the remnants of the Justice League holed up on the roof of the Daily Planet, can humanity be saved?
DCeased #3 left me…feel empty, ironically enough. All the elements are here – the expanding zombie outbreak, the shocked survivors attempting to regroup, individuals coming to terms with the terrible personal cost and shocking revelations that threaten all of humanity. DCeased #3 has all of those, but unfortunately, what we see adds nothing fresh or original to the tired tropes wheeled out in service of this issue.
Don’t get me wrong. DCeased #3 is a competently told tale of the beginnings of a zombie apocalypse. And that’s the problem – it doesn’t add anything to what we’ve already seen. While horror author (and occasional comic book writer (see The Last Zombie) Brian Keene is largely credited with the revival of the zombie in horror fiction, in the twenty years since the publication of The Rising, the zombie genre has basically been played out. There are at least three zombie related series on television, zombies in books and comics and surely at least half a dozen stuck in development Hell in Hollywood – the genre has had its day and sadly DCeased #3 is one rotting human corpse too many.
The artwork is pleasing on the eye Hairsine and Gaudiano combine to create some striking action sequences, such as the underwater sequences featuring Tempest and Mera where they depict a riot of characters all converging on one point. Rain Beredo’s colors are critical in a story as blood tinged as DCeased #3, and he doesn’t fail to deliver, especially with the night scenes featuring Harley Quinn and the zombified Birds of Prey.
SINK YOUR TEETH INTO IT
The writer of DCeased #3, Tom Taylor, makes a decent, if perfunctory stab at depicting how certain characters respond to personal trauma. There’s a scene between Damian Wayne and Jonathan Kent, where Superman’s son offers simply to sit with him as Damian attempts to process his father’s death. It’s a nice little moment, but it lacks the attention it deserves, as the action swiftly moves to Superman flying off to slaughter thousands of zombies. It’s these scenes, of mass attacks and mass casualties, which take up most of the issue. You have to feel sorry for a writer lumbered with crafting a story with these elements – high impact, high action, mass death – the smaller moments that make such a story more than a mere collection of body parts and blood are suffocated by the need for color and movement. It’s a real pity.
A latter scene, where Superman returns home to rescue his parents, suffers a similar fate. There’s no distinction between Clark and Superman – both are decent men. Too see, then, Clark’s lack of reaction to the fate of his father is completely puzzling and a little shocking. The lack of emotional impact here is replicated throughout the issue – a premium is placed on spectacle, with short shrift to the human moments a story like this cries out for. The lack of it makes for a humdrum experience that sells the reader, and to be honest, the story, short.
BOTTOM LINE: TASTES LIKE CHICKEN
One wonders what the point of the DCeased storyline is. Marvel got their first with Marvel Zombies. The Walking Dead television series itself is a rotting carcass that refuses to realise it is well beyond saving. The aim may be to shock, to depict familiar characters in wildly unfamiliar situations, and give writers a chance to kill off fan favourites. But we all know nothing is permanent in fiction, let alone comics, and even if the DCeased series was part of normal continuity, the reset switch would be flicked as soon as editorial demanded it. That being the case, with a torpid storyline that goes nowhere, why would anyone bother?
Tired tropes, missed opportunities, and a hankering for spectacle over human emotion leave DCeased feeling decidedly underwhelming and a bit pallid. A drab snack instead of the banquet it might have been.