DCeased #2, from writer Tom Taylor, with Trevor Hairsine as penciler, Stefano Gaudiano as inker, colors by Rain Beredo, and letters from Saida Temofonte tops the debut issue’s horror and tension.
Last issue, the always prepared Batman was unprepared for a techno-pathogen spread through social media, as the man who is disconnected from the world forgot that his boys, the Robins are very much connected to it. Ending with Batman saving Alfred from a ravenous Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, with Dameon hiding out with the Kents, the Caped Crusader was in danger.
At the start of DCeased #2 Taylor opens with Aquaman and our narrator, still mapping out the story of the past over the events we see our characters living. This issue, we peer into how Dinah, Hal, and Ollie face the threat and we see the Kents and Damian try to find help and give help, and we catch back up with Batman. That being said like Taylor has kept saying during the marketing of the book, heroes die, and the deaths are sure to hit the readers like a ton of bricks.
Once again, Taylor effectively utilizes narration, setting the events we’re witnessing in the past and building tension by letting us know it won’t be okay. Reading DCeased #2 you know everything will end badly and that the monsters win. While some may say that this narration takes the adventure out of the heroes trying to survive, I believe it has the opposite effect.
To narrate, someone has to live and see the horror the eyes of the narrator, the final girl, the last one standing always offers up a journey worth taking. As a six-issue series, Taylor’s narration seems to be moving towards their current time, Armageddon is incoming and in DCeased #2 we can easily see that few will survive.
With John and Damian, we see a child’s view, and we eventually see Damian scared, not typical of the character. However, we also see humor from them, a light spot in the darkness of the issue. But the showcase of their age makes the tragedy they face that much more impactful.
It’s hard to talk about DCeased #2 without revealing some of the big character moments, some crush you and others are amazing to see. The art team of Hairsine, Gaudiano, and Beredo has both beautiful moments and horrific ones. My only issue with the art is Poison Ivy’s character design, who is introduced helping Harley break up with the Joker. Her costuming is awkward and doesn’t elicit the appeal of her other iterations. With that said, every other character is styled and illustrated to perfection, most notably Dinah, the Black Canary.
The best part about this series so far is Taylor and the art team’s ability to build a pandemic. Visually, the anti-living, as the Bat calls them, are distinct from both regular people and the traditional zombies due to their need to claw at their own faces, break open their skin, and spread their blood. Narratively, Taylor is building out a world and a lore around the anti-living. In DCeased #2, Taylor sets the rules for his monsters, their habits, their ability to use powers when heroes are infected, and ultimately gives them a purpose.
From a horror perspective, DCeased is a master class in infection and zombies, from a comics perspective, Taylor masterfully exploits the known emotional points of heroes to make their deaths impactful and to build the tension we feel, worrying for them. Sons, friends, issue two has notable lines that fans will make fans of Batman sob into their issues.
In the end, we know that the world doesn’t escape and thrive, as the narrator tells us, they sought to hide, but they were too late.
DCeased #2 is available now wherever comic books are sold
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.