27th May2020

‘DCeased: Hope at World’s End #1’ Review (DC Digital)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Tom Taylor | Art by Dustin Nguyen | Published by DC Digital

DC continue their push into digital with another high profile addition to the slate. Last year saw the publication of popular 6 issue mini-series, DCeased, a rarity in that the story actually lived up to the gimmicky name. Essentially an alternate world type take, an Elseworlds, it saw Earth consumed by a virus derived from the Anti-Life Equation. It was one of those epic, backs to the wall type ‘event’ books, and a huge success by all accounts. No surprise then that DC have asked writer Tom Taylor to return to that story, and add a little more to the gaps between events. Not so much a retcon as showing us what happened but was unseen at the time. Doing this now gives the digital slate a nice high profile launch, and also keeps things ticking over nicely until DCeased: Dead Planet, the proper sequel, is published later this year. Let’s take a look.

For those keeping score, this takes place around the events of DCeased #5. At that time, space did not allow Taylor to show us everything that had been happening, and to whom, but he deliberately alluded to things so at a later date those gaps could be filled in. So I guess this is gap-filler number one. So, billions of people on Earth are infected by the zombie inducing Anti-Life Equation virus, including heroes and villains alike. Metropolis has gone, among other places, and the last ray of hope left is that major players like Superman and Wonder Woman are still alive, trying their best to save the survivors. Let’s rewind slightly though.

We start with Jimmy Olsen showing some pictures to Daily Planet Editor Perry White, just as the first wave of the virus hits. Jimmy and a few staffers barricade themselves away from the infected, Jimmy realising that the virus, being techno-organic, infects people through their electronic devices, like phones and tablets. A brief recap shows us many fall, including Batman, Green Lanterns and Nightwing and Captain Atom, who takes three entire cities with him. We see the events through the eyes of Jimmy, a similar everyman approach as Marvel used with Daily Bugle photojournalist Phil Sheldon in Marvels. Superman and Wonder Woman lead the recovery effort, while Lois starts to look after survivors at the Fortress of Solitude. Jimmy’s narration always alludes to something bad coming, about documenting the efforts of the heroes as, clearly, they might not all make it or, even worse, they might not even win. We get a good look at Jimmy in the present and, judging from his appearance, there’s a lot more bad coming.

This was quite short and sweet, for two main reasons. Firstly, Taylor had to do a lot of scene setting and a lot of recapping, which he did well. Using Jimmy was a good way to do this, not just simple exposition but part of the flow of the story. Secondly, Nguyen was, I assume, tailoring his art to suit the digital screens it would be viewed upon, so we got a lot of nice, big panels, or pages just consisting of 3 panels or less. It gave the story that sort of epic feel, even though Jimmy’s story was much smaller and more personal.

Although it was a quick read I didn’t feel short changed in any way, I enjoyed what we got and it did make me eager to find out what was around the corner for these characters. The only negative I guess is that clearly it won’t be possible to get too much depth in this story, more the broader strokes of where this all went in last year’s book. All fan boys love a bit of gap filling, though, let’s be honest, and I’m no different.

DC Digital are doing a great job of bringing good quality stuff out, and this is definitely a prime example. Great price point too. Excellent start to this story, and gap filling for the broader DCeased universe.

Despite the gimmicky title of course.

**** 4/5

DCeased: Hope at World’s End #1 is available on Comixology now.


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