[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
The Justice League has just repelled another invasion from Darkseid and Apokolips. Victory seems assured, and all that’s left is banishing Darkseid back to his wretched world. He leaves peacefully, claiming he already has what he needs. As it turns out, his forces captured Cyborg during the invasion, and Darkseid believes the other half of the Anti-Life Equation is locked away in Vic Stone’s systems. Darkseid and Desaad attempt to extract the Equation, but something goes wrong. It is corrupted, and it spreads as a techno-organic disease all the way back to Earth. The end of all life begins.
DCeased #1 begins the apocalyptic endgame miniseries which chronicles the death of the DC Universe as we know it. The setup is steeped in distinctly DC lore, with Darkseid and the Anti-Life Equation sitting at the center of how this all starts.
One we get to the armageddon which strikes the DCU, we learn that it’s…a zombie apocalypse.
Now, it does have some qualities that set it apart from traditional zombie stories. This one is primarily transmitted through technology, we already established that its origins lie with the Anti-Life Equation, and the infected aren’t strictly speaking dead already. In that last regard, it more resembles 28 Days Later or The Crazies.
However, it’s quite disappointing that the grand means by which the DC Universe dies is a pseudo-zombie apocalypse. Darkseid, the Anti-Monitor, Nekron, Neron, Brainiac, even Lex Luthor are all just sitting on the table, but it’s a zombie apocalypse that does it.
The story has time to get more eldritch and creative as it goes along, but this isn’t a confidence-building start.
Trevor Hairsine with Stefano Gaudiano handles most of the art in this comic, with James Harren taking the rest. They do a good job, and there is something to be said about how disquieting a lot of the art actually is. The consistent detail of infected individuals trying to claw the Anti-Life Equation out of their own heads is a nice touch. The art, on the whole, is quite solid, and the color work from Rain Beredo’s color work holds a perfect visual tone throughout.
DCeased #1 has quite a few creative and interesting qualities baked into its narrative, but the fact that it can be boiled down to another zombie apocalypse story a la Marvel Zombies or Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe is disappointing. Blackest Night had qualities of a zombie story too, but it succeeded in setting itself apart from the get-go. DCeased doesn’t quite do the same with its first issue. Unfortunately, I can’t quite recommend this one.
DCeased #1 comes to us from writer Tom Taylor, artists Trevor Hairsone with Stefano Gaudiano; James Harren, color artist Rain Beredo, letterer Saida Temofonte, cover artist Greg Capullo with FCO Plascencia, and variant cover artists Francesco Mattina and Yasmine Putri.