REVIEW: ‘Task Force Z,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Task Force Z #2

Task Force Z #2 is a horror comic published by DC Comics, written by Matthew Rosenberg. The penciller is Eddy Barrows, while the inker is Eber Ferreira. Adriano Lucas provides the colors, and Rob Leigh is the letterer. 

Red Hood is working with a secret organization capable of bringing people back to life, which they did him. But their Lazarus Pills can also turn corpses into zombies. With a zombie Bane and Man-Bat, alongside the Arkham Knight and a mysterious Mr. Bloom. They are tasked with bringing in those that have escaped Arkham. The team is sent to take down Mister Freeze. Slaughtering his henchman, Man-Bat and Bane were re-killed. At the end of the battle. Freeze’s cooling suit explodes. When Todd wakes up, he’s frozen solid and with a hungry Arkham Knight wanting a bite.

In this issue, Red Hood has gone from a team full of zombies to preventing one from eating him. Project Halperin, his bosses, are not much help, and Mr. Bloom is hunting Mr. Freeze. In the aftermath of the attack, Jason is keen on leaving the team, but his bosses clarify that can’t happen. With another mission on the cards, Todd may discover new things about his colleagues.

Starting directly after the end of the last issue, Task Force Z #2 keeps that tension ramped up. The terrifying nature of the opener comes in two moments. The first is the situation Jason is in, and the second is Bloom’s attack on Mr. Freeze. Both are these highly unsettling moments that show just what the tone of the comic is and how far Rosenberg is willing to go. After this, the pace slows down, allowing some exposition into the chaos. Each massive revelation does not appear until the last possible second, with some events even happening off-screen. And then comes another mission, full of as much horror and brutality as the previous. Each twist fits the insane creature feature that this comic has become.

The dialogue and the characters are brilliant. Rosenberg’s black humor mixes with the utter darkness that radiates from this book. Jason Todd is a perfect fit to lead this team. For one, he is a man with a unique relationship with death. He deals it out happily but has also met it frequently. He is a great leader, and his brusque attitude means that clashes with authority figures are common. And with shadowy people at the top of this clandestine operation, there is a final goal in place. All of the zombies and the monsters in the comic are awesome, always dangerous. The person underneath the Arkham Knight cowl will be a complete surprise for everyone and suggests a very sad sub-plot. And Mr. Bloom reveals himself to be a spine-chilling addition to the book. His actions in Task Force Z are extremely creepy and frightening, and unrelenting. 

The artwork is fantastic. Having a specific inker for the comic was a brilliant choice. The details that Ferreira adds to Barrow’s lines are incredible. The scars on Red Hood’s back are a nasty multitude of grim markings, and that is probably the nicest looking piece in this comic. The designs of the zombie villains are superb in how grotesque they are. As injuries are picked up, their forms get more sickening. Even a character such as Mr. Freeze looks disturbing when presented by Barrow and Ferreira. Mr. Bloom has a simple design but is so terrifying. He is an abnormally tall, skinny creature resembling Slenderman. He lacks detail apart from a flower etched onto his otherwise featureless face.

The colors are also terrific. For a comic that is so extremely grim, it is rife with color. The backgrounds are generally bright, with a light blue being the primary shade for much of the first half of the issue. But that doesn’t mean it is warm. Instead, the locations are cool, scientific, and inhospitable. And the insidious Lazarus pills are a sickly, alien green.

The letters are excellent, with many custom word balloons used for the various characters involved. Slight alterations to the color and shape of the balloon can affect how the readers envisage the speaker’s voice.

Task Force Z #2 is a gruesome and extreme issue. The violence and unfamiliar surroundings that Todd finds himself in make it feel that nowhere is safe. Even his home base is filled with ravenous zombies. Rosenberg tells a superb horror comic within the mainstream DC Universe with characters that the readers care about. So when a known figure gets involved, the danger is real and pertinent. 

Task Force Z #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Task Force Z #2
5

TL;DR

Task Force Z #2 is a gruesome and extreme issue. The violence and unfamiliar surroundings that Todd finds himself in make it feel that nowhere is safe. Even his home base is filled with ravenous zombies. Rosenberg tells a superb horror comic within the mainstream DC Universe with characters that the readers care about. So when a known figure gets involved, the danger is real and pertinent.