DCeased finally reaches the end of its five year long tragedy. As death comes to the worlds of the multiverse, only the brave heroes of Earth-2 stand on the front lines. Granted, will be there any kind of life to salvage if the heroes manage to prevail?
The Final Battle
Originally, Darkseid’s pursuit of the anti-life equation was responsible for the beginning of DCeased. However, readers learn in Undead Gods that Erebos is the actual mastermind. In fact, the manipulation of a being outside of space and time is even somewhat news to “Darkseid, The Unliving.” So after freeing him, they reluctantly join forces with the lord of Apokolips and author of much of their suffering. In spite of the reasonable cause, Tom Taylor characterizes Darkseid as more meathead than a capable intellect. As a result, the villian takes on a passive, but agreeable role in punching the greater evil for the greater good.
Invariably, the heroes and villains develop a plan to teleport to Erebos’ dimension to fight him. One of the dramatic challenges in the plan involves having to kill each member of the team to use the Doom Tubes introduced in issue #1. As a refresher, Doom Tubes are portals that only the undead can pass through. It is a hurdle for the sake of a hurdle. Once in the dimension, the meathead villians like Ares, Darkseid, and the Black Racer distract Erebos long enough for the band of heroes to open him up. Of course, now that Damian is Batman, he has a plan within a plan.
When the final issue begins, most of the surviving heroes are licking their wounds after The Spectre delivers a literal deus ex machina. Scott Free and Barda finally reunite with their son, Kara reunites with her parents and properly meets Superman, and everyone buries Highfather. Despite the win, Damian knows there can be no peace until Erebos is no more. Therefore, Damian tells everyone of a secret weapon after making his own inquires with Cyborg and The Black Racer. Regardless of the danger, Batman doesn’t tell Jon (Superman) or Cassie (Wonder Woman) exactly what the weapon is. When the time comes to show his hand, Damian absolutely devastates his teammates with the uncomfortable truth.
In the end, the final battle was an excruciatingly long goodbye. In a way, the scenario is not unlike visiting a dying loved one. Friends and enemies exchange compliments and final heartbreaking sentiments. Additionally, there was a justifiable amount of anger and accusations of selfishness or shortsightedness. Godly beings like Death, Ares, and The Spectre are equally powerless to stop it, and grant any final bargains. Admittedly, it completes the thesis on despair that the series began with. While I think the moment centers on a very silly plot device, it says a lot about the birth of hope within hopelessness.
Luckily, the art isn’t as ugly and underdrawn as it has been for a large portion of the series. The facial inconsistency found in much of the illustration in the series is less pronounced. The action is fairly clear and I can always understand what is happening from panel to panel. Unfortunately, there are still some more standout nitpicks Hairsine’s artwork. For instance, the framing of a sequence of panels of Damian talking gets progressively worse. At first I thought it was an extreme Dutch Angle, but to be honest it resembles vertical cellphone footage. Secondly, Darkseid casually hits Guy Gardner with an Omega Beam and everyone treats it like a shove! While more of a writing issue, it was probably the weirdest thing about the action sequences in the book.
- You made it to the final issue of DCeased!
- You enjoy the novelty of Yellow Lantern Darkseid as an ally.
- The concept of Erebos appeals to you at all.
War of the Undead Gods continues the DCeased series long after its expiration date. While mostly a morbid story, basking in the carnage and despair of notable characters, Undead Gods manages to tell a story about hope within hopelessness. Albeit, the story only really accomplishes this after killing whole families and civilizations for impact. I found some of the gnarly “what if” aspects such as Alfred as the Spectre, undead Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Yellow Lantern Darkseid some of the only likeable standouts. However, none of these superficial aspects do much to save the morbid storytelling or maddeningly distorted artwork. Outside of the ending, the series has disappointed my expectations for deeper storytelling. Overall, I can only hope Taylor finally lays DCeased to rest.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.