Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine are back with DCeased #2. This creative team has seemingly gone where no other have dared to tread before. The lives of everyone in the DC Universe are at risk and no one is safe. DCeased #2 certainly proves that point, but before we jump back into the horror, lets checkout the covers.
The regular cover for DCeased #2 is by Francis Leinil Yu and sees an infected Bat-Family savagely attack the man himself. Now I am a huge fan of this artist, and seeing the Batman mauled by the ones closest to him just adds to the sense that anything can happen in this series. The blood really flies on this cover and really sets the tone for the issue.
This next cover just jumped off of the shelf and straight into my hands as artist Francesco Mattina brings us a very intense image of an infected Superman. Of course I had to buy this cover. It looks as though it should be a retailer variant or convention exclusive considering how epic it looks. Those pulsating eyes full of infected heat vision make Superman look utterly crazed. This really is a great piece that looks intimidating as hell.
Just like #1, there are also additional retailer variants, which shows the scale of this series. This is an epic comic book event, and artists from different backgrounds really have come together to bring us some incredible pieces. Each and every single one of them are unique in design, it’s mind blowing. Take a look at them in the below gallery, featuring work by Yasmine Putri, Shannon Maer, Inhyuk Lee, Gabriele Dell’Otto, Ben Oliver, John Giang, Arthur Suydan & Jay Anacleto.
Straight off the bat, DCeased #2 delivers knockout punches left, right and centre. Honestly, I was an emotional wreck after reading this issue. As of writing this very review, I’ve re-read the issue three times and I am thoroughly enjoying re-examining it as part of my review process. It’s a quick read that leaves you gasping for breath with every turn of the page. After reading this issue, its safe to say that nobody is safe from this hybrid Anti-Life Equation, and there are certainly no exceptions. There really is no telling who will live and who will die during this event. With that being said I am almost positive that this is a tale being told out of continuity and that is just so refreshing to me and much needed. There are so many books on the shelves that are of course wonderful reads but very heavily tied down in continuity. This series just feels totally unburdened by those restraints, and allows the reader to truly read on believing that anything can and will happen.
DCeased #2 opens with Aquaman in the North Atlantic coming to the aid of a cargo ship in peril. Its not entirely clear whether Aquaman is aware of the Anti-Life Equation and therefore is expecting its fallout to greet him aboard the ship. Or if he is simply coming to the aid of what he believes to be a ship in need that has simply ran into rough sea. These opening scenes are just horrifying. Bloody and brutal – and that really sets the tone for the issue moving forward. The artwork detailing the horrific nature of the ‘virus’ is very graphic and feels so realistic. Every cut looks deep, painful and gushing with blood. So far I’ve used the words ‘horrific’ and ‘horrifying’ to describe the contents of this book. Well, I think I maybe using those words an awful lot more throughout this review. In my opinion this is a straight up horror / survival comic where the stakes couldn’t be higher. You can just feel our heroes are fighting for their very lives.
After we reconnect with Lois and Clark who are looking to re-establish communications with the rest of the world, we find ourselves alongside Harley and Ivy who appear to be taking up a task all of their own. One that proves to be extremely personal for Harley Quinn. This whole sequence looks to be laying the foundation for a rather violent encounter down the line which could prove catastrophic for Harley. The relationship cultivated here in this issue between Harley and Ivy, though short was extremely impactful. These two are more than allies, more than friends. They are sisters. I just love Ivy’s empowering dialogue towards Harley. Ivy really builds up Harley’s self confidence and belief that was methodically erased by The Joker during the years they were together. To me it seems like a glimmer of light in such a dark story, and it is much needed!
The sequence of events including Oliver Queen, Dinah Lance & Hal Jordan was just breathtaking. The fearful expressions on our heroes faces as pure hatred seeps into one of their own completely sells the pure horror confronting them. There is a specific shot of Hal Jordan surrounded by green flames produced by a construct that I absolutely adore. This image just sent chills down my spine. It really is a wonderful image that showcases just how dangerous Hal can be when he feels his back is against the wall. This image honestly took me right back to Hal Jordan during the Emerald Twilight story-line from 1994. Honestly, whilst reading this part of the issue I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. DC are most certainly giving us what we are least expecting. I absolutely love how we see Black Canary fully let go and unleash her might in this issue. I personally think Black Canary can sometimes be over shadowed by Green Arrow, but this is a character who was at one time chair-woman of the JLA. I’m so glad Black Canary is being written as the bad ass she rightfully is.
In the final pages, the reader is treated to a very emotional exchange between Damian and Batman as The Dark Knight takes a turn for the worse. The issue comes to a close with the unthinkable, as the end of an era is seemingly upon us. This whole sequence was just so emotional with beloved characters taking part in the most powerful and heartbreaking exchanges I’ve ever witnessed. I was honestly an emotional wreck after reading this issue. I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed and that is most definitely referring to the exchange between Alfred and Batman at the end of the issue. I find myself still reeling from it.
DCeased #2 is an incredible read that I absolutely adore. Tom Taylor has created a truly horrific masterpiece that is bloody, brutal but packed full of heart and emotion. Seeing Ollie and Hal out in the wilderness was a lovely callback to Hard Travellin’ Heroes by Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams. Trevor Hairsine’s artwork is magnificent in this issue, he has captured a variety of scenes that have left an indelible imprint in my mind. But like I said earlier ‘you have to see it to believe it’. I for one cannot wait for the next issue of DCeased. So much has occurred in this issue I have honestly no idea what will transpire next, and that is a wonderful feeling to have as a comic book fan. Thank you Tom Taylor for making me feel that way.