DCeased Dead Planet by Tom Taylor, Trevor Hairsine, Gigi Baldassini and Rain Beredo
DC Black Label, hb, £17.58
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
In Taylor’s final instalment of the stand-alone DCeased series, five years have passed since the events of DCeased and DCeased Unkillables. The survivors of the Anti-Life Equation Darkseid unleashed on Earth have found a new home in the stars, but a strange signal from Earth turns their attention back once more. There could be a cure that will heal all those affected by the Anti-Life Equation if they can find Cyborg and unlock the code from his memory before the infected heroes left on Earth find them. With John Constantine and his gang called Shadowpact made up of the uninfected heroes and antiheroes who remained on Earth, Jon Kent and Damian Wayne, the new Superman and Batman have the power to save the world. But in this final endgame, do they have what it takes to make the necessary sacrifices?
Like the preceding comics, Dead Planet’s narrator remains anonymous until the end, when the sacrifices’ consequences have the most impact. I won’t spoil it here by telling you who it is, but when the narrator is revealed, unlocking a new level of understanding. I also wouldn’t enter the series here. If you haven’t read the previous comics, then go back.
The story is split between Jon Kent and Damian Wayne’s attempts to find the cure for the Anti-Life Equation and Constantine trying to stop Trigon from taking advantage of the Anti-Life Equation situation. Yes, just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, Trigon appears.
The artwork is in keeping with the previous instalments, gritty and realistic, the bright colours of the costumes at odds with the dark environment and subject matter. It also blends the surreal elements created by Constantine and Zatanna’s magic as this is a story that combines both magic and technology. Some of my favourite panels include the speedsters, particularly Wally West, running through crowds of infected. Hairsine and Beredo have really captured the way Flash moves when he is among people.
Another panel that stood out for me is where Constantine and Jon Connor are talking in #3. As the new Superman, Jon Connor is tall and chiselled, every aspect of him clean and pristine. On the other hand, Constantine is rumpled and dark with the countless dark deeds he’s committed since this series started furrowing his brow. The contrast between the two men, young and idealistic verse jaded and hardened, is well done. The difference between them is the difference between those who survived on Earth and those who escaped.
DCeased Dead Planet is a finale that plays with your emotions. It offers you hope that some of your favourite characters will survive and then snatches it away at the last moment. But it is also filled with tenderness through the reunions with the survivors and the evacuees, making Dead Planet and the whole DCeased universe one of my top comics. Highly recommended.