In the newest issue of Undead Gods, two cosmic forces get into an unexpected stare down while the true evil grows stronger. No matter what happens, each action seems to bring readers closer and closer to an inevitably morbid conclusion.
In my last review, I openly questioned the point of this series. I can only assume Tom Taylor is hitting some kind of bingo list of sadistic ideas to include into the story. Although it continues to utilize more what if scenarios, the story doesn’t seem to have a meaningful silver lining. Issue #5 inserts Mr. Mxyzptlk as a wild card into an already tense conflict about who is worth saving in the universe. As you can probably tell, there isn’t anything good that can come from upping the power bracket. In the midst of the arguments, someone finally reminds them that even more dangerous “big bads” are coming. Not that the darkness need any more strong allies.
Unfortunately, the very mention of another obscure cosmic being like Erebos causes the The Guardians decide to prioritize the protection of Oa. In addition, the little blue sociopaths ignore the impending destruction of Kilowog’s home world. The resulting events focus on The Green Lantern Corps disobeying orders to help one of their own. The intrigue depends on who you think is right. On one hand, the Quintessence makes decisions with the big picture in mind. In both cases, the Guardians argue that you shouldn’t focus on just saving lives. However, Superman and the others would rather die than live with any casualties they could possibly prevent.
Regardless of which side you take, nobody could foresee what actually ends up happening. Taylor’s melancholic narration recounts the gruesome detail as if it were a poetic tragedy. To the surprise of no one, things go horribly wrong. The biggest tragedy is the extremely dark fate of the Green Lantern Corps as the Guardians look on with near apathy. At this stage in the story, those who express compassion and loyalty suffer the most, while the sociopaths and heartless infected multiply. Or I am just trying very hard to wring meaning from the gratuitous violence for violence’s sake.
Instead of pointing out the artwork’s subpar perspective and orientation again, I’d rather discuss its successfully heart wrenching moments. Supergirl finally meeting Kal El for the first time as a zombie, and Superman giving his son a pep talk aren’t as powerful as they could have been. Although, watching heroes like Kilowog or John Stewart fight to their deaths is emotionally moving. I read parts of this book genuinely horrified at illustrations of seventy-eight year old characters tearing their own faces off. However, I am learning that just because something is effective doesn’t mean I should like it. While there is nothing wrong with depictions of gruesome horror and violence like Berzerk (1988), it should always have a theme. Sadly, Undead Gods creates scenarios that are cool, but meaninglessly sadomasochistic. The series revels in the corruption of familiar images without learning anything but how to grieve.
- You want to see heroes get brutally murdered for fun.
- You wish to collect every story in the DCeased universe.
- Mxyzptlk succumbing to anti-life gives you nightmares in a good way.
DCeased has been running a morbid zombie campaign for nearly five years. Pass the half way mark, the series only seems to care about the next metal scenario to come. I can only believe that Tom and Trevor are intentionally creating issue after issue of depressing and joyless fiction on purpose. Why else do you need a big bad darker than an undead Darkseid? You don’t corrupt symbols of hope for no reason, you deconstruct them to support their existence in the first place. Undead Gods seems like it is playing a tune that a specific niche wants to hear. At least for now, it is unwelcome in my playlist. I am at least curious about what the Spectre will do with a sword!
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.