Written By: Tom Taylor
Illustrated By: Trevor Hairsine
(DISCLAIMER: This article will contain major spoilers for the entire DCeased Comic line. Please, read the comics, before continuing if you don’t want to be spoiled.)
Tom Taylor tells a thrilling, yet a horrific story about our favorite, and now corrupt heroes. DC Comics has always played with the end of the world many times. But, this is full scale apocalypse on Earth.
At first glance you think another zombie, comic book storyline. Until, you start reading the comics, and you realize there’s much more to it. No, zombies would be too easy. DC puts their own spin on zombies, and it’s compelling story telling. It exceeded my expectations countless times, and I just couldn’t stop reading. You see almost all of the heroes you can think of, and the fall of these characters. Some of these scenes were very emotional and shocking at times. Things change within a split second, and before you know it, one of your favorite heroes is infected. Taylor doesn’t shy away from brutally murdering our heroes. This story is such a quick, fun read. So many different heroes and characters are featured on each and every page. We get a little bit, of just about everyone.
For being such a short six issue comic line, the story is phenomenal. We see the fall of many heroes, and there’s no time to recover or dawdle on the losses of the characters. There’s so much ground to cover, in such little time. Yet, it never feels rushed. There’s a perfect balance in this storyline. It’s funny when it needs to be, horror bent the majority of the time, and just down right emotional.
This story has such a unique take on the anti-life equation that hasn’t been done before, and it’s brilliant. It brings on a completely new twist. The anti-life equation is a techno-organic virus; that attacks social media, and infects anyone who sees it. As the equation takes hold, desperate and frightened people try to tear the equation from their heads. And, then they become enslaved. They act like zombies in almost every sense. The only difference is, this infected doesn’t attack one another for hunger, but, to kill. They are spreading death, and stealing life. These beings are the anti-living and the trigger is the anti-life equation
You better prepare yourself, and strap in for a rollercoaster, because you’re not like the outcome of some of these characters.
Issues 1- 3:
Immediately, we are thrown in the middle of battle between the Justice League and Darkseid. On page one, Superman breaks Darkseid’s jaw. We only see the end of Darkseid’s fight. This series is focused on the aftermath of the battle, rather than the battle itself. We are told about the full-scale invasion that he did launch, and the Justice League tirelessly fighting off parademons, and deities, beforehand. Then, the Justice League just lets Darkseid go. He states he got what he came for, and leaves. (I didn’t really like the fact that the Justice League was content with just letting him go). Shortly after he leaves, they realize Cyborg is missing, and Batman is able to track him down.
Next we see, Cyborg nailed to an operating table in the presence of Desaad, and Darkseid. He doesn’t appear to be scared, and does the usual Cyborg thing to do, and has witty responses to everything. Bothered, Darkseid demands for Cyborg’s tongue to be removed. This is when you realize how grimy these comics are about to actually get. Darkseid figures out the anti-life equation and the results are disastrous. Cyborg is sent back to Metropolis, and goes from patient zero to infecting the entire internet with the anti-life equation. Cyborg’s body is the carrier and, the plague spread immediately.
Once Superman figures out what’s happening, Lois Lane, their son Jon, and Batman’s son Damien take refuge in the Daily Planet, and attempt to set up a broadcast signal.
Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen, and Dinah were just outside the city camping when Hal became infected. Dinah and Oliver fought hopelessly against Hal. Until, Dinah is left in an impossible position, and the force of her canary cry kills Hal. His lantern ring finds a new owner on the finger of Dinah. Superman hears Dinah’s cry and takes them to the Daily Planet.
After Clark returns with Oliver, and Dinah, they make contact with Batman. Bruce had quickly found out what was going on, and used his eagle eye to see the chaos in Gotham. He found himself face to face with an infected Dick Grayson, and Robin (Tim). They attacked Bruce, biting and clawing at him. He then, tells Clark, Damien and everyone that he is almost out of time. That he’s become infected and has sustained himself in one of Mr. Freeze’s suits, using the cold to slow his metabolism.He apologizes to Damien, and tells him it shouldn’t have ended this way for him. After those very words, he succumbs to the virus, and becomes infected. Leaving Alfred no other choice, but to do the unthinkable. He’s forced to kill the only son figure he had in his life
Now, an estimated 600 million worldwide were infected, and at the current rate, in just days that number would change to billions.
Aquaman finds himself infected, and spreads his infection to Garth. Being a Queen with no King, Mera finds refuge in Theymscira.
If you thought the first three issues, were action packed you just wait. Astronomical things are about to occur.
Superman searches for the two missing speedsters. He is able to find Barry Allen, and Wally West hiding out since the moment the infection began. Can you imagine two speedsters infected? Imagine how many people could be infected within a second. He regroups with them, and sets off to Metropolis.
Back at the Daily Planet, the team is able to successfully send out a broadcast, announcing that the Justice League is regrouping in Metropolis, at the Daily Planet. Superman, Wally, and Barry regroup with everyone.
Alfred hears their broadcast, and flies the Batwing to the Daily Planet. He has an emotional moment with Damien, and mourns the loss of Batman. He bestows the bat suit upon Damien, and tells him Bruce was proud of him. Then out of nowhere, Hawkwoman falls out of the sky and announces that Captain Atom is about to blow.
Then, this next part is going to be a huge turning point on the comic book. This is a moment where things are about to go very wrong, very quickly.
Ray Palmer had shrunken to a microscopic size and infected Captain Atom from within. Superman and Wonder Woman fly to DC in an instant, retrieve Atom and fly as high as they could with him until he exploded. It was the most destructive explosion ever unleashed on Earth. It was felt, and heard all across the planet. Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Metropolis all gone. Millions and millions gone in an instant. We have always seen Superman and Wonder Woman as a symbol of hope, no matter how dark the day. However, they couldn’t protect anyone from this, and they stood there absolutely horrified.
Over the next days, they took down the internet, major servers, and all digital broadcasting devices. They began constructing arks to hold all of the remaining humans on earth. Lex Luthor and Cyborg set up the Fortress of Solitude as an information hub for allies. Places like Gotham (thanks to Ivy and her plants) and Themyscira became sanctuaries for survivors. “And Paradise Island was paradise no more.”
For the first time since Darkseid’s attack, the heroes took time to grieve and almost feel in control again… Or so they thought. Their biggest mistake was bringing all of the heroes together.
It started as a buzzing. Firestorm heard it first, and then it turned to a scream, followed by an invisible death. Martian Manhunter then made his debut.Lex Luthor is torn in half by him, and a chunk is ripped out of Barry Allen’s side. Firestorm disables Martian Manhunter at once with his fire. But, the damage was done. And, in a flash the Flash was gone. He was infecting people faster than the speed of sound.
Superman knew he was the only one who can stop him, without risking Wally.Superman meets him on the other side of the planet, since he knew he couldn’t catch up to Barry. “That day we found out what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.”
And, Barry runs straight into Superman at supersonic speed, and splits in half. That contact, left Superman on the brink of infection. He could fight the infection longer than anyone, but he didn’t have much time either. He says his goodbyes and goes as far away as he can in hopes to starve himself from oxygen before the virus could.
But before, he could get far enough away, he turned. Superman became infected. And so our final hope, was hope no more.
Issues #6: The Final Chapter
Superman has always been a symbol of hope, but the Superman everyone once knew was gone.
Damien reveals a Superman take down plan that Batman left behind. Although admirable, Dinah says that Batman was never lethal, and they need to be lethal against Superman. Diana is confident that her sword of Athena will end Superman.
The team splits up to protect Ivy’s Jungle, the arks, and Themyscira. Over on Themyscira they didn’t know the deadly force they were about to encounter. Queen Hippolyta and Queen Mera see something arising from the seas. What came next, no one could prepare for. Just when we thought we had seen the last of Aquaman, he arises from the seas controlling the Kraken, and waves of infected Atlanteons. From half a mile away, the Green Arrow shoot his arrow directly through Aquaman’s eye, killing the King. The matter of the fact is the infected from the sea, should’ve never set foot on Paradise Island. But, when they raised the sea floor, and extended Themyscira it was no longer hidden from the outside world. “Without fear, he Amazons of Themyscira clashed into the dead of the deep.. They fought as allies, and rose again as foes.” The heroes have no choice but to abandon Themyscira, and leave everyone behind. The Amazons fell.
Cyborg, Dinah, and Diana race to end Superman. In a battle to the death, Diana cuts off Superman’s arm, and stabs him through his stomach. “They were up against so much power.. Power without hesitation. Power without remorse.” Superman fires back with a fatality against Diana, infecting the Amazonian. Cyborg stays behind with Diana, and the rest flee to the arks. When Diana turns, Cyborg cuffs her with the lasso of truth, and asks the virus within if it speaks. It spoke, and reveals to Cyborg that there is a cure, and it’s within him. Then, Diana rushes Cyborg, decapitates him.
Back on the arks Jon (Superman’s son), and Damien have their emotional goodbyes with one another. Jon realizes he’s the only powerful force between Superman and the arks. Jon full force collides with Superman, buying everyone just enough time. Dinah calls in the entire Green Lantern Corp, and the cavalry arrived. Superman was faced against the entire Green Lantern Corp, and knowing he can’t kill the entire Corp, he begins draining the power of the sun. When the sun is drained and grows cold, it will die. Which would cause the entire solar system to freeze, and the virus would sleep. The arks leave the system to start new on their new home, on Earth 2.
And, that is the way this comic book series ends, with the remaining heroes, and six million people seeking refugee on Earth 2. There is also, a separate comic “DCeased: A Good Day to Die.” I would suggest reading that issue as it confers on some of the heroes we didn’t see such as; Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda.