The Quarantine Book Club articles that we’ve been doing have been great fun—and we’re definitely going to continue doing those!—but I’ve missed writing these regular reviews. Before we begin, a brief recap of Unkillables: a handful of villains and (anti-)heroes are forced to work together to ensure their own survival as well as that of a group of kids. Now the survivors are trying to reach the Gotham Jungle, where they hope to be safe from the zombie-infested outside world. And so, without further ado, let’s have a look at the conclusion of this miniseries!
The time for deep character development and bonding is over, as that is what the previous issue was about. Although there are still a handful of standout character interactions that emphasize the themes of family and friendship, this issue is all about racing to the end. I don’t mean that in the sense that the creative team is rushing things, but I mean literally: the characters get on buses and in the batmobile, and try to get to the Gotham Jungle as fast as they can manage. Along the way they have to deal with hordes of zombies as well as perhaps the most terrifying zombie of all: Wonder Woman.
What strikes me about this issue is that, for the most part, it’s incredibly predictable, and the creative team doesn’t even try to present it in such a way that you can’t guess the outcome of certain events. For example, some of the heroes (yes, even the villains have become heroes now) decide to hold off a horde of zombies so the others can escape, and to me that’s an obvious cue that the creative team is about to kill off said heroes. This is also the pattern in this issue: the group is on the run until they get stopped by a threat; heroes sacrifice themselves so the remaining members of the group can continue on their merry way; repeat. And putting it like this, I realize, sounds rather boring, but in reality this issue is far from that!
Mostert has proven in the previous issues that he’s really good at creating action scenes, and he definitely doesn’t disappoint here. Everything happens in sequence, meaning that the action flows fluidly from panel to panel. Seeing as this entire issue is really just an extended action sequence, Mostert really does a helluva job in getting us from cover to cover: there’s a real sense of movement here, and Mostert draws kinetic fights where every blow and strike hits so hard that there’s absolutely no denying that these are some of the DCU’s most powerful warriors. Particularly the fight during which Creeper, Cheetah and Solomon Grundy team up against Wonder Woman is brutal. But so is the fight between Cassandra/Shiva and the zombies; Cassandra and Shiva fight more elegantly, befitting of two of the most sophisticated martial artists in the DCU, but the fight is still very brutal, and very bloody. The colors by Lokus deserve a lot of praise here as well, as it’s the color work that maintains cohesion and enhances the kinetic energy. And even with three inkers at work, it’s mostly a seamless viewing experience. This art team is going all out in this final issue!
Furthermore, I like how Taylor scripts this comic. I like how he sets up the action; I like how he sets up certain character deaths, as predictability does not take away from heroism; I love the character dynamics and how this group has become such a close family; and I like what happens when the survivors finally reach the Gotham Jungle—it’s a nice, hopeful way to end this miniseries, strangely comforting even when I take into account all the carnage and horror these characters have had to go through. I like all these things, but, precisely because I like all of this so much, the one thing that I consider a slip-up annoys me more than it should.
Mirror Master attacks through the rear view mirror and windows of the bus. But didn’t we already go through this last issue? We have some of the best tacticians in the entire universe in these vehicles, and again they neglect to take preemptive measures. Look, I understand that there isn’t much time and that they barely manage to escape with the vehicles, but as they are driving, they could surely smash the windows and the mirror! Or, if that’s too dangerous because there’s an entire horde of zombies outside, at least have the heavy hitters stand at the ready to intercept Mirror Master as he lashes out through a mirror or a window. Or, if really none of that sounds reasonable, at the very least don’t have someone like Deathstroke act surprised when Mirror Master attacks. But, really, why Deathstroke doesn’t just destroy the mirror before he starts driving is beyond me.
Before I wrap this up, I just want to add one last thing. I said that this book is predictable but, ironically, toward the end there is a jaw-dropping surprise reveal that completely blew me away. In hindsight, there were little hints here and there, but I honestly did not see this coming. Without giving anything away, I can say that it’s also really well done. While, to me at least, the surprise character seems like a bit of a deus ex machina at first, Taylor provides a good reason why this character hasn’t showed up earlier. It makes complete sense to me, and it’s also a great finishing touch to an already solid book.
- You want to see who makes it out alive.
- You are in the mood for some over-the-top, nonstop hack-and-slash action.
- You like hopeful endings to apocalyptic stories.
- That surprise character at the end. Seriously. That’s just badass.
Overall: This was great. I enjoyed Unkillables even more than the original DCeased miniseries. This one’s focused on a small cast that you get to know and that you get to root for. The villains turn into heroes. Sacrifices are made. Friendships are forged. Tears are shed. And this creative team succeeds with flying colors. Recommended!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.