This chapter of Tom Taylor’s Undead Gods eases off the pedal and focuses on how Anti-life is developing in the wider universe. As the threat continues to grow in the background, heroes, villains, and gods prepare to face the dark forces or perish!
Most of the narrative weight rests on the shoulders of three characters. Firstly, we get a tragic look at Adam Strange. In a world where an evil virus turns everyone into the anti-living, Adam Strange’s Zeta Beam becomes a deadly vulnerability. Strange’s involuntary dilemma ends up exactly how you would imagine teleporting into zombie infested streets would go. What’s worse is how it leads to the Thanagarians slaughtering the universe planet by planet. Next, we get a good look at how Lobo would cope in the zombie apocalypse. In contrast to Strange’s affliction, Lobo’s powerset surprisingly makes him immune to infection. Whether Lobo’s immunity makes sense or not, it makes for the most exciting combat in the book.
Thirdly, we catch up with a bittersweet funeral procession for Wonder Woman. After deadly exposure to Anti-life, Wonder Woman met her end at the hands of Green Lantern in DCeased: Dead Planet #1. Diana’s death represents a true loss of the old world, compared to Superman’s rebirth representing its fresh start. I enjoyed the warm moment of Artemis and Green Arrow lighting the pyre together. As far as tributes go, having representatives from Diana’s life as a hero and demi-god shows how important she was. Sadly, the god of war interrupts the memorial with a sobering omen of the true undead god.
Despite liking a lot of the visual art in the book, the quality of the artwork bothers me here and there. I think the layout shows Trevor Harsine’s eye for framing. Many of his panels have good balance and proper dramatic angles. In particular, he illustrates the horror of the loss of Adam Strange’s family or Lobo’s battle in potent point-of-view imagery. What tends to bother me is the inconsistent quality of the facial renders and settings. Some of the character faces look horrendously lumpy and the color is often muddy. The art is good enough to tell the story, but not enough to retain appeal. Even the background characters looming in the funeral scene are repetitive and randomly colored.
The best bit of artwork comes on the heels of a massive reveal. Ares confesses that the darkness they face is not simply a virus, but an old god. This time, DC names it’s next great darkness after the Greek god Erebos. While I completely hate the idea of unmasking another “it was me all along” style big bad next to Darkseid, the Unliving; Erebos comes off as an intimidating storm-like entity. Curiously, in Greek mythology the god isn’t an anthropomorphized personification as seen in the DC version. However, I can neither confirm nor deny if Erebos only has a face just to have something to punch. Regardless, the first tease of his Evil Dead look is the best thing you’ll see in this issue.
- DCeased hasn’t turned you off yet.
- You have an urge to see Lobo facedown a bunch of zombies in space.
- More DC content featuring disembodied entities is an instant buy.
War of The Undead Gods thematically revels in misery. So much is F.U.B.A.R at this stage in the DCeased universe, that I tend to feel very disconnected from each issue. As a reader, I have lost hope that any of the sadism spreading in that universe is leading to any pleasing outcome whatsoever. Although the layout is good, there are far too many ugly distractions taking away from the emotional beats. Just because DCeased doesn’t appeal to me, doesn’t mean readers looking for gore, misery, and space battles won’t find satisfaction. I like how this issue is exploring the wider universe, and maybe there are even cooler things to come.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.