So far DCeased has been a fun book. Taylor has done a great job setting up the story in the first two issues, and even though I have been somewhat critical of certain aspects, I think it’s been a solid book for the most part. Last issue we left off with an exciting cliffhanger, where we saw zombie Batman attacking Alfred, who had been standing at the ready with a shotgun. In this issue we pick up where we left off last time. So, without further ado, let’s have a look.
Okay, up front, I didn’t appreciate this issue as much as the previous two. I don’t think it’s bad, I just disagree with some of the choices that the creative team made. A minor complaint is that, in the very first panel of this issue, we see Alfred in the cave standing over the corpses of Bruce, Dick and Tim. While the scene itself is well-written—not too dramatic and not too hasty and still impactful—I can’t help but notice Bruce lying on the floor in his batsuit, whereas last issue he was decked out in a Mr. Freeze suit to slow down the infection that was spreading through his body. I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to assume that Alfred removed the Mr. Freeze suit from Bruce’s body (though I still think this would be kind of weird), and that Bruce was wearing his batsuit underneath the Freeze suit. However, there is no indication of this in the story. So it ends up looking like a visual inconsistency to me. While, like I said, this is a minor complaint, it’s not a great start to the comic, because now I’m more inclined to look for mistakes in the art.
Speaking of which, I think the art ranges from good to just okay. There definitely are good panels. I particularly like the underwater stuff with Mera, Garth and Aquaman because it’s a nice change of pace compared to the mostly urban-centered scenes in the book. Especially Beredo’s colors are easy on the eye: the underwater scenes in particular are colorful, and I always like seeing various layers of colors blending together to create a deep sea environment. I also like how blood floats through the ocean, and the glow of Garth’s magic. What I dislike is how Mera’s standing at the bottom of the sea like she’s standing on land. It’s obvious they are at the bottom of the sea, but if we’d isolate Mera’s pose I doubt anyone would be able to tell that she’s meant to be under water specifically. Another thing I dislike is that the zombie we see attacking several Atlantis soldiers manages to slice open a soldier’s stomach, but he does so with a gloved hand. There’s no reason this zombie should be able to slice through a soldier’s body armor with just a gloved hand. That makes no sense.
Furthermore, faces continue to look wonky. Emotion is conveyed well enough, but with most characters’ eyes so far apart, almost everyone looks really weird in this book. There are also panels where proportions don’t work out very well. For example, there is a panel where Joker leaps toward Harley, but his arms appear a tad too long.
The art does score points for being nicely sequential, though. In particular a scene toward the end of the book, where we see someone walking into a barn, and slowly opening up a hatch in the floor. The artists build a lot of suspense, and the panels follow one another logically. So, all in all, the art is definitely serviceable, but I disagree with some aspects of it.
Before I get to what I consider to be the best part about this issue, there’s something else I need to get off my chest and it concerns Harley Quinn. I’ll warn you that this is going to be spoilery, but in order to explain my point I can’t really avoid spoilers. So her entire scene, in my humble opinion, just doesn’t work. For starters, the building in which she was originally going to confront Joker is exploding and she’s running away from it. Behind her we see Joker’s silhouette. This, immediately, is a cop-out, as far as I’m concerned, because it reads like we just abandoned the setup for their confrontation entirely. What I mean is, the build-up in the previous issue hinted at Harley being forced to fight Joker in close combat, and that would have been an interesting fight to watch.
But, for whatever reason, we completely skip that and watch a building go up in flames and Harley running away. To make things even worse, right in front of Harley there’s a random dude with a shotgun fighting off zombies, but the dude ends up getting killed and the shotgun drops right in front of Harley’s feet. She picks up the gun and—surprise, surprise—she shoots Joker. After killing Joker, she’s really giddy about that and even shouts that that was “the most cathartic thing ever,” which is very on-the-nose and just plain silly. I mean, I know Harley is crazy, but does that mean that she really won’t have any regrets or sad feelings about killing a man who she used to love dearly, despite him being abusive and psychotic? Is it all that clear-cut for her? If yes, then that would mean that she is shallow, and no character deserves to be shallow.
Obviously DC wants Harley to be a badass, but what happens in this issue is all too convenient, and her victory is more based on luck than her own skills, as well as her impenetrable plot armor. For all the aforementioned reasons, I dislike this entire scene and wish it wasn’t a part of the book. It’s that bad. And it’s extremely predictable, too. At least having Joker kill Harley would have been a surprise, but no. DC needs Harley to be in this story, for reasons.
But don’t worry. I might sound really pessimistic while describing that Harley scene, but at least Taylor makes up for this by proving once more that he’s incredible at writing Superman! I love how Superman deals with the zombies like it’s nothing. I love how Superman stops to rescue citizens on the ground and how he saves a bus full of people. I love how he cares about his family and friends. And I love especially the scene where he visits Pa and Ma Kent. The scene with Clark and his father is truly fantastic, too. Superman knows that he has to leave his father, and the emotion on his face is rendered really well by the artists. And yet, being Superman, he’s still on the job, and doesn’t stop to let his emotions take over. He keeps a level head. Really, guys, despite some of this stuff being rather predictable as well, everything with Superman is near-perfect. When does Taylor get to write the Superman ongoing?
- You love Superman!
- You want to see Alfred being badass.
- You’re in the mood for some epic action scenes.
Overall: It’s a quick read and an okay issue. To be honest, nothing here really stands out as especially shocking or surprising. The Harley scene is boring and seems uninspired and the comic would have been better off without it. The Superman scenes are great, though, if somewhat predictable because it’s so typically Superman. However, this book also seems to get rather formulaic really fast, and just seeing heroes die left and right isn’t enough for me. There needs to be a twist in the story. So far there is no such twist. Hopefully next issue will deliver on that. We’ll see.