REVIEW: ‘DCeased,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

DCeased #1

DC Comics just got darker with the new series DCeased, from the writer Tom Taylor, with art from Trevor Hairsine, Stefano Gaudiano (1-6, 15-26), and James Harren (7-14), colors by Rain Beredo, and letters by Saida Temofonte. The series has been marketed with the horror genre in mind, with horror movie variants and variants featuring our favorite heroes as zombies or being attacked by them.

In DCeased #1, we see the series kicks off with Darkseid’s defeat on Earth at the hands of the Justice League, which, as the narrator explains, was the last time they were together. Having been on earth to find half of the Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid willingly leaves having taken what he came for, Cyborg.

Unbeknownst to him, he’s the key to completing the equation that will give Darkseid the power to control everyone, removing free will, and creating only those who will serve him. But instead of creating something he could control, Darkseid has created the Anti-Life virus, a techno-organic virus that takes over his body, spawned from Cyrborg’s body. In a attempt to save Apokolips from the virus, Darkseid’s immune torturing sends our now infected hero away.

At that moment, the true power of the virus is revealed and as Cyborg returns to Earth as patient zero, the virus begins to spread rapidly through screens and through social media, turning 600 million people and growing at an exponential rate.  DCeased #1 sets a devastating scene. People and heroes tearing at their faces, trying to rip the virus from their skulls. But the violence isn’t limited to themselves as they gnaw, scratch and take down others who are uninfected. As the last pages show, even the prepared are in jeopardy and as Taylor explained in his many tweets leading up the launch, anyone from DC can die, any hero, any villain, anyone.

Now, the issue isn’t just good visual horror, setting the scene for the apocalyptic wasteland promised in the press release, it also has phenomenal writing. Told from an unseen and unknown narrator, Taylor’s words begin like any post-apocalyptic movie, telling the reader a story about how it used to be and how the world got to where it is:

Truthfully, Taylor’s writing is the best part of this issue. His characterization of Batman is spot-on, and the tension built up with just the narration is fantastic. Beyond that, phrases like “Superman breaking the jaw of a god,” is something that will stick with me. The separation between what is happening on the page and what is being said about it is perfect, connected but different enough to keep everything interesting.

The art team’s illustrations are the right kind of pulpy with all of the heroes looking slightly smaller and purposefully rougher through the line-work. The colors from Beredo are eye-catching and vibrant. With most people thinking darker and muddied as the palette for horror, it is great to see the violence and heroes leap off of the page with such beautiful colors. Temefonte’s lettering is perfection when it comes to dialogue and the vibrant “KOOOM” shakes off of the page

That being said, I do have issues with the lettering on the credits page and the coloring of it. The red on white and white on red color choice is not easy to read, specifically when it comes to identifying names of the talented people who contributed to this issue. Beyond that, the font of the arc’s title is difficult to read, with the letter G in “Going Viral” resembling the letter C, so much so that I misspelled it in my notes.

But this small flaw does not overturn a horrific and beautiful first issue of DCeased. The poetry in the writing makes this an issue I will come back to and read again and again. The way Taylor mirrors his language in the beginning and the end sets the tone for the next issues. I’m currently on the edge of my seat as a fan of the heroes in harm’s way and of the horror genre.

DCeased #1 is available wherever comics are sold in many shop variant covers which you can see here.

DCeased #1
5

TL;DR

But this small flaw does not overturn a horrific and beautiful first issue of DCeased. The poetry in the writing makes this an issue I will come back to and read again and again. The way Taylor mirrors his language in the beginning and the end sets the tone for the next issues. I’m currently on the edge of my seat as a fan of the heroes in harm’s way and of the horror genre.