If you’re a fan of zombies and you haven’t gotten into DCeased yet, you’re seriously missing out. Apparently, the only thing that makes a zombie apocalypse even harder to survive is adding superheroes to the mix. Since the out-of-continuity franchise debuted back in 2019, it’s sunk its teeth in the hearts, souls and braaaaains of DC fans worldwide, spawning several spinoffs and sequels, including the latest, DCeased: War of the Undead Gods, which debuted this very week. But don’t worry if you’re not up to speed (though speed is very important when confronting the undead). You can get caught up right now on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE, or by grabbing the first graphic novel at your favorite comic shop, bookstore or library. Written by Tom Taylor with artwork by British penciller Trevor Hairsine, DCeased is a six-issue, edge-of-your-seat miniseries that’s perfect for getting your blood-pumping over this hot summer weekend. Here’s why this first storyline is essential reading and the perfect weekend binge.
Now you’re probably thinking “The DC Universe is full of magical and scientific heroes, how could something like a zombie outbreak bring them down?”
The logical answer of course is it coming from another world. After the Justice League once again prevents Darkseid from invading Earth, it’s noticed that Cyborg’s gone missing. Turns out, one-half of the Anti-Life Equation lies within the cybernetic parts of his body and Darkseid aims to rip it out. But due to the Equation being part technological, it evolves into a techno-virus that spreads through both physical contact and interaction with the internet. Cyborg escapes Darkseid and returns to Earth, only to unwittingly spread the virus by the millions. Before long, hundreds of millions are infected, and our heroes must race to save their loved ones and determine what the nature of the virus is and how to save their dying world.
Let’s Talk Talent:
Super-star writer Tom Taylor helms this story, bringing the same twisted love and affection for the characters that he delivered in his earlier alternate dark future storyline, Injustice. But Taylor is far from a cynical writer and depicts each character primarily through their heroism and love of each other. Scenes of Superman and Batman with their respective sons drive the heart of this story, and Taylor’s considerable knowledge of the various abilities, weaknesses and scope of intelligence possessed by the DCU’s heroes and villains augments the stakes.
Trevor Hairsine ably pencils the carnage throughout all six issues (notwithstanding a special appearance by artist James Harren in issue #1), with inks by Stefano Gaudiano—famous for his work on The Walking Dead. Together, these creators keep the story from being a depressing tour through the proverbial meat grinder, instead engaging readers with the supreme efforts and determination of the superheroes on full display.
A Few Reasons to Read:
- Comic book storytelling at its most epic scale, DCeased spans the entire DCU, from the hazy grains of Smallville to the distant stars patrolled by the Green Lantern Corps. From the micro to the macro, everyone gets involved and attention is spread with wonderful detail, much like the Anti-Life virus that the characters are combating.
- With the Justice League at the heart of the story, you’d assume they’re the ones who continually drive the action, right? That’s not always the case, as Taylor and Hairsine keep the suspense taught with major characters on the line right from the very beginning. Still, this is a DC book, so Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman will be just fine…right?
- Do you like DC’s legacy characters? Plenty of them get moments to shine and even ascend into grander roles. Relatively new characters such as Jon Kent, Damian Wayne, Wallace West and the various Amazons are put in unique positions of desperation you will not see presented in any other series. If you have a favorite unsung hero that you’d love (or fear) to see in a story like this, this story is definitely for you.
- Of course, the virus isn’t the only threat to Earth. What might happen if a speedster is infected? Or a telepath? Or a giant woman? Powers and abilities are twisted and turned on their heads when thrown in a scenario where friends and family quickly become enemies. Trying to predict the next potential threat keeps the story moving at a wicked pace.
Why it’s Worth Your Time:
There have been a number of Elseworld tales and alternate universes that reveal different shades of DC, but DCeased feels particularly close to our main Earth-Prime universe. With the characterization intact, new threats and horrors around every corner, enemies turning to allies and vice-versa, it’s an action-packed roller coaster that’s sure to simultaneously thrill and terrify you. And best of all, it’s readily available to read from start to finish, perfect for any time of the year.
Already read it? DCeased: War of the Undead Gods #1 by Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine is now available in print and digital.
Donovan Morgan Grant writes about comics, graphic novels and superhero history for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @donoDMG1.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Donovan Morgan Grant and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.