DCEASED by Tom Taylor, Trevor Hairsine, Stefano Gaudiano and Rain Beredo.
DC, HB, £25.00
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Darkseid has kidnapped Cyborg and used him to unleash a virus on the world in the form of an equation passed from person to person through technology. No one is immune, even those with superpowers are vulnerable to the death equation. Humanity’s future is uncertain as the superheroes have turned from their greatest ally to their greatest threat. After all, Superman is unstoppable.
DCEASED is a limited series and not part of any canon within the DC universe, which is helpful, there isn’t any background for you to familiarise yourself with in order to understand it. It can be enjoyed in isolation.
And, despite the exceptionally dark story, it is enjoyable. There are moments of humour mostly delivered by Oliver Queen, Arrow, flashes of light in a nightmare of superpowers turned against those they used to protect.
In a slew of zombie stories, a genre which is a particular favourite of mine, DCEASED has found a place among my favourites for asking the question; what happens in an undead apocalypse where the undead have superpowers? How do ordinary people defend themselves when the monsters were once their protectors with powers that can’t be controlled? Rather than throwing themselves into the battle, for the good of everyone else, most superheroes hide, aware of the damage they could cause, while others try to change what has happened but are limited by what they can do.
The artwork is everything I’ve come to expect from DC, gritty and realistic. Despite the subject matter, it is actually quite colourful which makes for very easy reading from panel to panel. It’s not gratuitous in the gore either, so despite the nightmarish front cover, it is suitable for young adults. Particularly as the few incidents of swearing are covered with symbols.
As in all good stories, elements stuck with me after I’d finished. The Harley Quinn / Poison Ivy storyline gave me strong females in their own right and an ending to the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker that was very satisfying. At the end of the book, there are variants of the front covers for each of the individual comics. My personal favourite is the Stephen King’s IT and Robin crossover which encapsulated the story, the vulnerability of humans and heroes alike. It seems DC’s entire catalogue of superheroes are given their moment to try and save the world, and it is written with an unidentified narrator’s voice which leaves you wondering if any of the superheroes make it to the end. So, if you’re a fan of zombies, superheroes, and DC in general, then you will really appreciate DCEASED.