DCeased: War Of The Undead Gods #1 sees Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine reunite to finally cap off their trilogy with the release of the first of eight issues in the finale series.
It all comes back to Darkseid and the New Gods, right where the nightmare began. The Anti-Life Equation was always the perfect way to incorporate zombies into the DC Universe. We’ve seen superheroes and villains become zombies, the Earth be overrun, young heroes assume old mantles, old heroes assume new mantles and some serious blood-spattering action.
A lot of interest can be drawn by combining the two words “DC” and “zombies.” Artists often more than deliver by giving these iconic characters horror makeovers with the DCeased variants to immediately hook anyone passing them by on the shelves. The series’ regular artist Trevor Hairsine’s art style has always been a mix of grit and pop art, which made him perfect for the series.
In the default cover, he and colorist Rain Beredo pit our heroes we have watched rise to greatness since issue one from the first series against a zombie Darkseid in a final confrontation to determine the fate of the universe. Jon as Superman, Cassie as Wonder Woman, and Damian as Batman are the Trinity of this universe in Crisis. Dinah also notably became a Green Lantern.
Francesco Mattina’s variant Batman cover for the original series is synonymous with DCeased. The use of realism over traditional comic art makes it especially unique. Every action figure even uses his art on their box or packaging. For his variant, he gives Supergirl that treatment. The piercing glowing red eyes, the flesh tears, the bared teeth, and the shadowy use of color make it another keeper in his gallery of DCeased covers.
Sun Khamunaki’s variant is the exact opposite of this dark, twisted superheroine with a lighter, hopeful one with Green Lantern Dinah set before a cosmic background. She’s been a DCeased regular since the beginning and is brought to life with another great realism style. It is stunning.
Kael Ngu puts Damien as Batman in the heart of a zombie horde. Ngu captures comic book heroes with a hint of Eastern influence, especially around the face region, but faces aren’t the focus here. Instead, he takes influence from zombie serials and surrounds the new Dark Knight with zombies with subtle details that make them unique, especially around some of their visible faces.
Jay Anacleto pits Supergirl up against a zombie Superman in a truly keeper variant. The lack of coloring makes it feel sort of exclusive in a way. Superman looks like something out of a “Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark” book with his lack of pupils and spattering black blood. Supergirl is drawn is expressive and crisp and it could be used as promotional material for a big-budget movie. Anacleto’s attention to detail makes it all the more impressive.
Dan Mora gives us the last variant starring a pretty unlikely character – the Main Man himself. Lobo is at the forefront of this leaping-into-action shot accompanied by Cyborg, Dinah, and Cassandra Cain as Black Bat with the powers of SHAZAM as seen in DCeased: Dead Planet. What really is eye-popping here is the use of colors. If you were to split the cover into quarters, each background has a completely different color and tone. It’s arranged in such a way that it looks like a color wheel if you were to remove the characters. Lobo is one of few characters in the DC Universe that would thrive in a post-apocalyptic world, can’t wait to see more of him in DCeased.
DCeased: War of The Undead Gods #1 begins with a retelling of Supergirl’s origin story so it fits in with the plot. Kara Zor-El is rocketed away from Kandor as it’s taken from Brainiac. However, she doesn’t land on Earth – she ends up on New Genesis, where the Anti-Life Equation has taken the New Gods. It has the universe on its leg now, the gods themselves are zombies.
It’s not all hopeless as our heroes – Jon, Cassie, Damian, Dinah, and Cyborg have discovered the cure in the last series, Dead Planet following a battle for the ruined Earth with Trigon. The cure is their biggest break as they begin the process of restoring their loved ones. Dinah was able to get Oliver back. A handful of survivors including Lois and Alfred also help rebuild the world. Of course, the cure enables them to confront the elephant in the room, or rather the Superman in the sun.
When Clark became infected after stopping a zombified Flash, he went right for the only thing that could satiate his hunger – the sun, and he’s been feeding on it for five years. Just like with every Omega-level threat, it’s all hands on deck as Jon and his strongest allies work to administer him the cure.
This is prime Superman action in space with his threat level as a celestial-powered being the main theme of the confrontation. One can’t help wishing it was louder though. The sun sputters and bursts and Superman blasts off and hits with enough destructive force to level planets. Shouldn’t have they been generous with onomatopoeias? Then again, there is no sound in space. More action arises when Brainiac enters the solar system with a dire warning for our heroes and sets the series’ events in motion.
Tom Taylor always writes DC characters with love and an understanding of what they represent, like most comic writers. What makes Taylor unique is that he applies these character conventions to new situations to see what heroes change and who stays the same. Injustice introduced the status quo world of DC to a grieving Superman’s regime and DCeased saw a zombie apocalypse.
Again, this series wouldn’t work with Trevor Hairsine’s gritty yet bold illustrations. The black backdrop of space also gives Rain Beredo a chance to make the colors pop. There will be a lot more battles in space in this series, I can already tell and I cannot wait to see them brought to life by this creative team. The action sequences are fantastic as usual and the details is great.
DCeased War of The Undead Gods #1 hits the ground running with great character moments, the return of a beloved hero, and a new undead threat.