Every week usually on a Tuesday I write my comic book pull list for the following week, and nothing brings a smile to my face more than seeing the next installment of DCeased scheduled for release. Everything about this comic feels prestigious and that has a lot to do with the myriad of incredible variant covers accompanying each issue. The regular cover of DCeased #4 is no exception as it depicts the last thing I was expecting.
Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson have created a striking cover that sees Sgt. Rock, (a character not seen within the pages of DC Comics for quite some time) adorn the cover while infected members of the Justice League attack. Now even though the cover doesn’t actually represent the events depicted in the interior, the underlying message is very much received and that is ‘no one is safe’. This virus will indiscriminately assault every corner of the DC Universe and that has certainly been the case up until now.
I adore the nostalgia of Andy Kubert drawing a character that was originally co-created by his father Joe Kubert back in 1959. The infected League members on this cover look totally rabid. Superman clawing the face of a soldier is just so grim and unnerving, this is Superman after all. Who else do we have if not Superman on our side? The scratches adorning the bodies of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman indicate to me that these poor souls have been wreaking havoc ever since their turn. I’m a huge fan of the rain effect on this cover. It’s so well done and adds to the grim tone and atmosphere that has been established. The contact the rain makes with Sgt. Rock’s upper torso only helps reinforce the characters steely determination.
As the issues go on, the variants have gone down. I’m not saying that’s a good or bad thing, but for avid collectors like me – it’s bittersweet! Variant B is by the incredible Francesco Mattina. The way that he so realistically captures the character is insane – the wrinkles, the gore, the facial expression, the pieces of hair – it’s just unreal. This week we see an infected Joker, which is absolutely terrifying!
Variant C is by Yasmin Putri, and it pays homage to horror film classics, this time Scream. I have to say, the way that she incorporates these classic film posters with the theme of the series is phenomenal, and this is no exception. Each one so far has been instantly recognisable to me, and I love seeing which classic film she has paid tribute to each week.
Dceased #4 follows on in exactly the same vein as previous issues where anything can and will happen. The issue sees our survivors comprised of Lois, Superman, Jonathan and Damien alongside others atop the Daily Planet. They are transmitting a broadcast of hope encouraging those unaffected by the Anti-Life Equation to make their way to the safety of the Daily Planet. This is all occurring while Amanda Waller on behalf of the government takes matters into her own hands with potentially catastrophic results.
The issue starts off with the reappearance of a character not seen within the pages of DC Comics for quite some time. He is essentially being wielded by Waller as a weapon, and considering the circumstances it makes perfect sense. The stakes feel very real and very high in this series and the government using this particular character – it just feels like the final roll of the dice. The governments only real attempt to curtail the violence.
The artwork depicting this individuals’ power set is just phenomenal. The energy and power pours off of him in waves and engulfs the page with ferocity. The narration that has been a mainstay throughout this series chronicles the events surrounding this character and uses a metaphor that is quite frankly perfect for the occasion. Writer Tom Taylor really allows the art to speak for itself while using dialogue that is subtle yet powerful and highly nuanced that elevates events even higher.
DCeased #4 is peppered with bloody and violent engagements including Harley and Ivy continuing to cut a bloody swath through the streets of Gotham city, however its the battle between our surviviors and yet another character who hasn’t been utilized in quite sometime that really steals the show for me. The battle between this long time Wonder Woman foe and the remaining members of the League totally encapsulates what I love about DCeased. This series gives you the worst case scenario in every eventuality. It gives you the match-ups and battles you want to see. This conflict is bloody and brutal, and sees a plethora of survivors using their skills and power sets in an attempt to stop this imposing threat. The outcome of this battle is horrific to say the least. Writer Tom Taylor is certainly taking our beloved characters down paths they have never dare tread before. I feel these characters have never been tested before like this in any other story before it.
As the issue comes to a close, by this point you really need to be sitting down for what’s to come, as the truly unthinkable transpires. Reading this I was left utterly breathless. I thumbed through the pages countless times before I could put this issue down. DC Comics have well and truly delivered on the premise of this title and then some. This issue certainly delivers blood and guts in a very big way as utterly savage moments are captured expertly by interior artist Trevor Hairsine. By this point the characters and the infected are soaked in blood which just adds to the horror. The creative team certainly don’t shy away from presenting their characters physically in the most gruesome way possible.
I love how the creative team pepper a plethora of really heartfelt and emotional moments into this issue between characters such as Damien and Alfred. Its so important to have moments like this as it really reminds you of what is truly at stake and what we are fighting so hard for. This was a gorgeous moment between these to that really left me choked up considering how shut off Damian was at one point. The Tour de Force of this issue really was the closing pages.
Tom Taylor found that incredible balance he finds so effortlessly regarding dialogue and really allowed Trevor Hairsine’s epic artwork to do the talking. These final pages are extraordinary. The destruction and devastation captured is a mixture of detail and simplicity coming together to create an image that is so impactful and full of emotion. Tom Taylor’s writing in this issue is very thoughtful as he allows the artist work to speak for itself. I found the narration in this issue extremely powerful as it doesn’t hold back. It presents cold hard facts in very stark light. The writer certainly doesn’t pull his punches.
Yet again, DCeased is my favourite read at the moment, and this issue shows why. With just two issues left, I will be gutted to see this story-line finish.
Haven’t picked up your copy yet? There’s still time – order your standard cover by Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson here. Variant B by Francesco Mattina is available here (UK) or here (US). OR Variant C by Yasmin Putri is available here (UK) or here (US).