Destroying a comic book universe isn’t necessarily a new concept. We’ve seen various stories from different publishers over the years. One person who has experience in telling these types of stories is Tom Taylor. Taylor has previously penned stories of character evolution and mass destruction in Earth 2 and Injustice. Taylor is now horrifically dismantling the DC Universe within the pages of DCeased.
DCeased can sort of be described as a cosmic zombie outbreak story. With this being the fifth issue in the series, many characters have already been killed (in gruesome and tragic ways). This has been part of the excitement and surprise of each issue. It’s not often you see big DC powerhouses killed off right away. Just when you think the remaining “popular” characters are safe, they end up suffering a cruel fate as well.
It’s not just characters getting wiped out. Several big DC landmarks and cities are getting razed as well. It’s hard to image a story taking place in the DCU and knowing that Metropolis is gone or Gotham has been transformed. This is an aspect that would be excellent to see fleshed out further.
The struggle for survival isn’t an easy task, even when the remaining heroes (and villains) band together to fight the new threat and acclimate to the new world. This is another area Taylor shines. Taylor sprinkles in the reactions and thoughts of different characters. This gives a varied and personal outlook on the chaos while also humanizing them further. Lex Luthor is a great example.
Lex may be a complex character but often comes across as narrow minded with his evil motives and schemes. His arrogance doesn’t allow him to admit his shortcomings, but even Lex has to confess how morose and dire things have become.
Witnessing Lex fall to his knees in front of Superman in despair really puts some perspective on things. Of course, Lex being Lex, he doesn’t give up his old demeanor that easily. Taylor later follows up this moment with a more brutal exchange with Superman. Seeing a certain other person react to Lex’s words is priceless.
Taylor easily brings the characters to life and mixes the emotions on each page. It’s bizarre and fascinating to see the mix of humor and ghastly deaths just pages apart. This makes the comic more than a superhero/horror story. The characters have to adapt to the new world, and this adds to the excitement. We know it’s a miniseries set in an alternate world, but seeing how Themyscira and Gotham have changed makes you want to see the story continue.
The art by Trevor Hairsine and Stefano Guadiano with colors by Rain Beredo amplifies Taylor’s story. It’d be easy to dismiss the deaths of the classic and iconic characters since it’s an out-of-continuity narrative. The exceptional visuals gets the reader invested in the story. It’s heartbreaking to see these characters suffer. Taylor keeps throwing curveballs at us and the art and colors makes it all feel real.
DCeased is a story superhero fans need to read. Despite Taylor being attached to write the series, I thought it was going to be more of a novelty–superheroes fighting in a zombie apocalypse. Taylor and the rest of the creative team take the story to a different level in each issue. With the characters fighting to survive and seeing the world adapt to the changes, this is a story that could easily continue beyond the final issue of the miniseries. We’ve already seen the death of many of DC’s major characters, but there are plenty of others who can step up to take their places. Let’s hope we do get more. DCeased is a book that should not be missed.