The nightmare continues as DCeased returns for its 3rd installment. Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine really are pulling punches as the horror continues to escalate. I don’t recall seeing this amount of gore and violence in any other DC Comics publication prior to this very series. It seems with every turn of the page we are treading new ground with the unexpected around every corner. Before we check out just what exactly this creative team has in store for us next, lets take a look at the covers.
For the regular cover, interior artist Trevor Hairsine has created a totally action packed piece that sees members of The Justice League taking on the infected masses. I have to say it’s rather misleading as it hardly ties into the actual contents of the issue at all. That being said, the art is fantastic and the action depicted equals the brutality of the interior. Every section you look at has immense detail and another story to be told, I love those kinds of covers.
As we know there are MANY variant covers for this series, so I won’t go through them all… but my favourite is the horror variant is by Yasmine Putri and it is spectacular! I love these as it combines iconic horror film posters with our favourite heroes. This time we see a SUPER rendition of the poster for “The Nun”. The artwork is oddly beautiful, and it really reminds me of Christopher Reeve. It’s boldly coloured and completely eye-catching with the contrasting evil tear through the page.
As for the other variants, they are all epic, brutal and beautifully drawn. The artwork is fantastic for each and every one of them. There are variants by Francesco Mattina, Injyuk Lee, Gabriele Dell’otto, John Giang, Derrick Chew, Ben Oliver, and Jay Anacleto.
The horror continues and I have to say this issue doesn’t let up. From Alfred’s emotional dialogue at the start of the issue, all the way through to Clark’s heartbreaking encounter at the very end. DCeased lands blow after blow with right hooks peppered throughout to really allow the horror and gravity of the situation to hit home. DCeased issue #3 is a lightening quick read as we touch base with a multitude of characters in a plethora of horrific scenarios, which plants seeds for the next issue. The pacing of this issue really does play out like a montage section of a film – think the opening of the Watchmen movie for example.
We begin with a heartbroken Alfred mourning the loss of his family, however grief soon morphs into revenge as Alfred takes to the skies in the Batplane with a mission that could very well keep alive the legacy of The Bat. Alfred’s words and even posture in these opening scenes really hit me hard. Anytime Alfred refers to Bruce as his son or Bruce refers to Alfred as his father, I instantly get choked up. That certainly was the case reading these opening pages. Alfred’s words for his fallen family were just so sad and upsetting. The character’s trudge towards the Batplane really echoed that old saying ‘you can’t go home again’. This moment really signaled the end of an era.
In my opinion I don’t think Alfred believes that he will make it out of this alive. All there is, is the mission at hand. Alfred at the controls of the Batplane taking aim and pulling the trigger really is incredible to see, I honestly leaped out of my seat witnessing this. Recently we’ve seen much more proactive takes on the character be it from the hit TV show Gotham or from the pages of Batman: Earth One. Seeing such violent acts undertaken by this iteration of the character, a more traditional version of Alfred is incredible to see.
As I said earlier, this issue moves rapidly as we now find ourselves bear witness to an encounter between an infected Joker, and Harley Quinn who is yet to be effected by the Anti-life equation. Now, the way this encounter was built up in the previous issue I was really expecting a psychological, bloody massacre to take place, however this turned out to be a very short lived encounter that ended rather abruptly. Yes I wanted it to go longer with slightly more tension and horror involved considering who the participants are, but in the end we did receive a very poetic outcome that was played out in rather brutal fashion. I am also very pleased to see that in this issue like the last, we have another encounter already layed out for us ready to be visited in the next installment.
As the issue moves on we spend time at the Daily Planet with Lois and Clark along with the other survivors. These scenes are very somber and radiate a real sense of hopelessness. Damian mourning the loss of his father is heartbreaking. Jonathan’s comforting dialogue directed at Damian who is beginning to shut himself off is quintessential Jonathan Kent – who is well and truly his fathers son. Once again I was choked up at the simple yet powerful dialogue, which is now becoming a signature of this series so far. Speaking of dialogue, the narrator featured in this series… I believed it to be Batman originally. However the dialogue sounds more and more like the perspective of a civilian caught up in the chaos, similar to that of Norman McCay from Kingdom Come. I love the idea of this series and the exploits of our heroes being chronicled by a civilian. It really shows that at the end of the day we are all effected by the same things be it mortal, god or monster.
As the story progresses we come across various heroes such as Mera, Tempest and Black Lightning combating the infected in extremely horrific fashions. Honestly these pages are just full of gore and bloody violence, which I LOVE! Tempest tearing at the flesh on his face is just horrifying. His facial expression just radiates a sense of unadulterated violence and rage.
As the issue comes to a close things become very tragic and upsetting for not only the Man Of Steel but also for fans of the character too. Clark heads to Smallville to check on his parents – Jonathan and Martha Kent. These final pages are so heartbreaking for Clark as someone close to him is infected with the anti-life equation. I genuinely had a tear in my eye when reading this. Writer Tom Taylor really allows the art to speak for itself during these distressing scenes that are just full of sorrow and great sadness. This is depicted once again superbly through our characters facial expressions and posture.
Artist Trevor Hairsine’s artwork is incredible and very detailed. I love how the artist tackles combat and specifically powers. Black Lightning’s use of lightning on Clayface just looks so impressive, whilst Mera’s hydro-kenesis is devastating and looks even deadlier when the blood of it victims seeps into it. One of my favourite pages in this issue features Aquaman and a group of sharks in utter frenzy. This page really is the right hook I spoke about earlier. The blood is truly flowing in this one and really highlights the fact that nobody is safe from this threat. I honestly couldn’t tell you how this series could possibly end and that is very refreshing.