Writer: Tom Taylor
Penciller: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Stefano Guadiano
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: DC Comics
With Metropolis burning, Gotham unprotected, and the ocean running red, DCEASED #3 continues to stack the pile of bodies throughout the DC universe. We’re halfway through this 6-part mini and the feeling of hopelessness is still the heaviest tone of the series. With Justice League heavy hitters are already out of play and the 600 billion rage monsters are wreaking havoc worldwide, Taylor seems to finally be foreshadowing who will the heroes of this story shall be. Each hero having to let go of something or someone, in violent and/or sad fashion.
The issue starts where last issue’s cliffhanger ended. Alfred is in the Batcave, with bat-briefcase in hand, apologizing to his first three sons and laying them to rest. He flies off the Batwing, in search of Damian, who’s still in Metropolis. The use of Alfred’s father figure role is done well to pull those heartstrings that Taylor favors so much.
Our lovable anti-heroine’s situation continues on from issue 2, where she finally ends it with the Joker... by way of shotgun. Taylor finally granting us the first moment of dark humor in the whole series when Harley’s reaction to killing Zombie Joker isn’t at morose as I would’ve expected. She continues on, in search of Poison Ivy, when she’s confronted by infected shells of some old colleagues.
Still coming to terms that Bruce is gone, he sits in silence. His role is foreshadowed by Clark saying, “Damian is his father’s son...” Jon Kent’s golden heart shines on, as he continues to be the friend that Damian has always needed.
We last saw Aquaman fall into the ocean in his fight with a boatload of Anti-Life infected. His appearance in issue 3 served as reminder that no one, land or sea, is safe. Mera witnesses Tempest become infected when he inhales the tainted blood that has begun to spread throughout the water. Good thing Mera is a waterbender! She manages to temporarily escape Aqua-Zombie and his newly-turned blood rage Atlanteans.
This issue definitely focuses on Clark. The narration that was written for Clark is masterful and perfectly crafted. Superman’s selflessness depicted in true Kryptonian fashion as the panels show us Superman saving as much people as he can on his way back to Smallville. He finds Black Lightning protecting helicopter under attack by a Zombie Clayface (yeah, you read that right. ZOMBIE. CLAYFACE.). Superman dispatches the giant blob just long enough for the helicopter to escape. He directs Black Lightning to go back to the now safe Daily Planet Building, reassuring him that he’ll meet them there after he checks on his farm. His return home is... well, let’s just say Tom Taylor stays true and continues to end each issue leaving you in a sad place.
Tom Taylor is crafting one of most memorable horror stories I’ve read in a long time. I grew tired of the Zombie trope, as I said in my review of issue 1. But the idea that not even metahumans and Krytonians can get through this ordeal without an insurmountable level of loss gives a new perspective to the Zombie lore. I mean, come on. At some point early on, I thought Batman would be the on to figure out how to stop it but by the end of the first issue i knew I was wrong. I could sit here and assume who I think will make it out alive, but I learned from Game of Thrones, that I probably shouldn’t latch on and get too attached to anyone in this story.
We’ve finally made it halfway through the story and I have questions. Most of them involving other superheroes and their whereabouts. Did Cyborg make it out alive? Where’s the Flash? Some of my questions will hopefully be answered in the Oversized 48-page One-shot special DCEASED: A Good Day to Die. A story by Tom Taylor featuring Mr. Terrific, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and one of my personal favorites, John Constantine, that’s due for release early September.