09th Jul2020

‘Dceased: Dead Planet #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Tom Taylor | Art by Trevor Hairsine | Published by DC Comics

Yes, I know, another ‘event’ comic, but bear with me here. Firstly, DC of late have been doing these way better than Marvel have. Secondly, the DCeased books have actually been pretty good up to now. We had the original six issue mini first, also by Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine, then earlier this year we had the bridging digital only story DCeased: Hope at World’s End, now we have Dead Planet. Tom Taylor’s been involved in all, so you would have to assume this book would continue the high quality of the others. The concept was very simple. The Anti-Life Equation was used to infect the Earth with a Zombie-like virus, with people turning on each other, including heroes and villains. We saw the gradual breakdown of society as pockets of survivors struggled to survive. This, of course, is not on the main DC Earth, but an alternate Earth but, hey, there but from the grace of God go I..

We start with a great opening, John Constantine drinking alone in the Oblivion Bar. Alone, that is, apart from the ashes of his dead best friend. His dead best friend he had to set on fire once he ‘turned’. Great opening, only mad better by the arrival of Zatanna in top hat and tails. We get a quick recap of the original story, and the horrible fate of virus carrier Cyborg, left as a living head for five years. Once again we get to blame Batman for what comes next, as Cyborg activates a tracker within himself hidden by Batman and sends out a distress call. It’s a distress call that goes all the way to Earth-2.

Earth-2, of course, has its own heroes who are alive and well. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman are all fit and feisty. Only, not Clark, Bruce and Diana. They died. Instead we have Jon Kent, Damian Wayne, and Cassie, along with President Lois Lane and 13 million survivors from that other place. Oh, and Dinah ‘Black Canary’ Lance is now Earth’s Green Lantern. Oliver Queen is still going as Green Arrow, though, which is nice. It’s the Justice League, Jim, but not as we know it. Cyborg’s distress signal has reached them, and they decide to return and find him, despite a whole box full of reservations. Find him they do, as well as the most unexpected guest star, Krypto. We love Krypto.

We don’t love monstrous hordes though, and they are on their way to where our heroes are. Time to make off, with Cyborg’s body and head, and make for the safety of Poison Ivy’s jungle. Unfortunately, before that can happen, the Justice League get intercepted by a certain undead former teammate, and one of our team goes down. I must say this was telegraphed a bit too obviously for me. Just as in The Walking Dead, where you know if a character gets a big chunk of an episode they won’t be around much longer, the pages devoted to a couple of Justice Leaguer’s gave it away. The use of the sword was also telegraphed too much as well. The final page is quite a shocker, though, as is the revelation that will turn everything on its head.

On balance, a solid opening to this new tale in the DC Zombies Universe. Promising set up, nice recap, and the concept is fun enough. Taylor did get a little lazy with the writing, though, and what could have been genuinely surprising near the end lost the element of surprise by being too well signposted. That didn’t detract, though, from some nice stuff, I especially liked the banter between Jon and Damian, and the moments between Arrow and Dinah. The art by Trevor Hairsine, Gigi Baldassini and Stefano Guadiano felt big, widescreen movie big. Big panels, big ships, epic scale storytelling. That’s not to say the few intimate moments were not also handled well, they certainly were. Art well suited to this universe.

Not as strong a start as the previous books, but not bad nonetheless, and certainly a book I will be picking up next time around. Enough dangling plot threads to reel me in, that’s for sure. I just hope Taylor trusts the reader more, and allows the reader to connect the dots themselves.

I’m dying to see what happens next. Ahem.

**** 4/5


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