REVIEW: ‘Task Force Z,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Task Force Z #1

Task Force Z #1 is a horror comic published by DC Comics. The writer is Matthew Rosenberg. Pencils by Eddy Barrows, with inks by Eber Ferreira. The colours are provided by Adriano Lucas, and the letterer is Rob Leigh.

Jason Todd has been reluctantly working with Project Halperin. They have been resurrecting villains as zombies, creating flesh-hungry versions of Bane, Man-Bat, and other monsters. The Red Hood leads this team, tasked with bringing in escapees of Arkham Asylum. His next mission is to hunt down another villain, one who has possession of materials only Project Halperin. Red Hood must lead this group on a successful mission whilst also trying to keep their enemies and everyone else uneaten.

This is a story with a superb concept. From the first scene, the intense action of the series is indicated. The plot moves quickly, allowing the readers to get what they came for. A clever move by Rosenberg is to have a cold open of an earlier mission. This instigates interest in the story before the actual exposition unfolds. It is rather amusing how quickly both missions go wrong, Todd’s plan barely registering in the brains of the walking corpses he calls allies. This does take place in the mainstream universe, which is another bold move. If a character appears in this series, the chances of them being eaten or zombified is very high. And whilst the initial layout of the Task Force Z #1 story may appear simple, it does not stay that way. 

The most notable annoyance with this comic is that it does rely heavily on reading stories before this one. A reader can enjoy the intense violence and awesome dialogue without much understanding, as a series containing a Man-Bat zombie will always be fun. But the organization involved and the characters within it will be a mystery for those coming in cold. Rewarding longtime followers and also providing newer readers with a jumping-on point is a fine art. 

Those characters are incredibly cryptic, however, and the epic nature of the others inhabiting this comic keeps interest high. Rosenberg writes zombies well. They are very unpredictable in this issue, so when they are even in the same room as a human, it causes a nervous shiver. Two of the zombies, Bane and Man-Bat, are well-known figures for Batman fans. But there are a couple of unknown crew members, and learning more about them will be fascinating. 

Red Hood is a brilliant figurehead for the comic. Violent and brutal himself, he still has a strict moral code. One of those involves not murdering civilians or letting zombies eat people. That may not be that obscure a morale, but it is difficult to maintain when the undead is your teammates. Their actions teeter between horrifying and close to funny due to how much they ignore their orders. The villain they face is a well-known nemesis of Todd’s. He is a powerful threat in this comic that reminds readers of his danger.

The art is sensational within this horror story. Barrows and Ferreira collaborate superbly as penciler and inker. The reborn villains look incredible. At a glance, they aren’t hugely different from their existence when they were alive. But the details added turn them into horrifying new monsters. Perhaps the greatest of the creatures is Man-Bat. Already a horrific yet beautiful design, adding minor tweaks to the design makes him perhaps the scariest possibility. The inks are crucial in Task Force Z #1, as huge shadows cover where Langstrom once had eyes, as well as making his figure seem thinner and more skeletal. Red Hood’s scars on his back during a show scene are made to look nastier through cross-hatching. The battles are rough and unflinching, superb choreography depicting the sheer savagery of these beasts.

The colours are fantastic. For much of the issue, it exists in a dark place. Therefore, dark browns and blues suggest nighttime are used frequently. But Lucas does also resort to brighter colours often. Using the bizarre character of Crazy Quilt provides the page with some circus colours, such a pinks, and purples. And the landscape does get much lighter, with whites and sky blues being involved. 

The letters are brilliant and match the dark genre of the comic. The text gets progressively more prominent as a zombie gets closer to a potential victim, their fear evident. 

Task Force Z #1 is a terrifying starting issue. The collection of characters, living or living dead, that Rosenberg has amassed are all incredible, each one capable of captivating readers with their presence. The potential of someone getting killed or eaten is higher in this book than even within a Suicide Squad issue. Red Hood as the central character is a tremendous choice. It will be fascinating to see if more zombies are brought into play, proving some diversity within the lineup. And the art has a brilliant mix of beauty and horror. 

Task Force Z #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Task Force Z #1
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TL;DR

Task Force Z #1 is a terrifying starting issue. The collection of characters, living or living dead, that Rosenberg has amassed are all incredible, each one capable of captivating readers with their presence. The potential of someone getting killed or eaten is higher in this book than even within a Suicide Squad issue. Red Hood as the central character is a tremendous choice. It will be fascinating to see if more zombies are brought into play, proving some diversity within the lineup. And the art has a brilliant mix of beauty and horror.