Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Trevor Hairsine & Stefano Gaudiano, James Harren
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: DC Comics
Since 1968, pop culture has been obsessed with zombies. George A. Romero set precedent in the horror genre and culture by introducing a whole new sub-genre to horror and writing that has since influenced movies, comics, books and television for years and will continue to do so. We’ve seen all sorts of undead. From half-decayed slow-moving zombies, to Rage Virus-infected running zombies. Hell, we’ve even seen zombies as pets (Fido? Anyone? No? Just me? Okay). Even the idea of Superhero Zombies is already 14 years old. So, to bring something new to world of zombies in 2019 is a tall order. Enter DCEASED. Tom Taylor’s work in this first issue is exactly how you take comic book mythos and zombify it with respect to the characters involved.
Issue #1 sets a grim and daunting tone in this 6-issue mini. The Lord Of Apokolips, Darkseid, is bound and ‘defeated’ by the heavy-hitters of the Justice League at the end of yet another epic battle. But, as we all know, with Darkseid, it’s never that simple. Easily dispatching the Golden Lasso Of Truth without so much as a shrug, he exits via boomtube leaving rubble and the ominous behind by simply saying: “... I have what I came for.” Batman, being the ever vigilant watchful eye of the JL, gets a push notification on his Batphone XR, informing him that Cyborg has vanished and can not be found within his 2-Lightyear radius network (powered by Verizon).
Star-warp to Apokalips. Here, we find Cyborg crucified on a torture table helmed by Desaad, a poison-immune Darkseid lackey, questioning Vic as to what he knows of the Anti-Life Equation. After some super-villainy monologue and quick responses from Vic, it’s revealed that the other half of the Equation is within Vic and that extracting it would, of course, kill Vic in the process. A process which would also result in the other half of the Equation to cease existing. Responding in the most Darkseid way possible, he summons Death himself, The Black Racer (sidebar: anyone else glad they updated his look? Remember when he literally looked like a French guy on skis, zipping through the Speedforce?). Desaad quickly extracts the Racer’s ‘blood’ and transfuses it into Cyborg. This was the pivotal mistake. Death’s blood corrupts the Anti-Life Equation and in turn, this new Anti-Anti-Life Equation corrupts the Darkseid, himself, sending him into a blind rage destroying everything in his path until ultimately hurling himself into one of Apokolips’ giant fire pits, causing Apokolips to explode. From here, the Equation takes the form of a highly contagious techno-virus, infecting anything and everything connected to a technological network. Meaning, anyone on earth scrolling through Instagram or swiping left on Tinder are turned into, yep, you guessed it, Zombies.
Now, I understand how easy it is to get tired of the trope “social media turns people into zombies” metaphor and how to some people that may seem like a cop out. As I think about it deeper, we’re constantly bombarded by our screens and social sites. I’m literally typing this review on my iPhone. Could you imagine the severity of how fast something like that could spread? Faster than the Man of Steel. 600 million, worldwide in the time it takes for you to send an email.
In a world where Superman exists, it seems as though there is literally little the JL can do against something both viral and cosmic in nature. Tom Taylor executes this in great fashion, modernizing the Zombie trope while also respecting the already established DC mythos, giving the Anti-Life Equation’s definition of the Futility of Life a new meaning. A heavy and great start to a 6-issue miniseries, with a hell of a cliffhanger final panel. This is definitely a must read for Zombie fans and DC fans alike.