Comics have been a part of my life ever since I was a little boy. I think most people know that there are two major players when it comes to the world of superhero comics, Marvel and DC. And as is usually the case when it comes to things such as this, there are fans on both sides that get into very lengthy (and often hilarious) disputes, over why their side is the better one. Me? I’ve always been at home in the Marvel Universe. There is no real reason for that, but I just grew up with them, and as a child most of the comics I got back in those days were second-hand issues of Spiderman, The Hulk and the X-men. Occasionally I got hold of a Batman or Superman comic, but well they just never really appealed to me as much as the aforementioned heroes. I think part of the reason for that, was that the DC universe is more dark. And well, back in my younger days, I didn’t really like dark. Time moves on though, and as with many people, preferences change as well. These days I feel very well at home in things that have those more sinister aspects. Still didn’t really get me straight onto the DC bandwagon though.
No, actually there is someone that I totally blame for that, and that is my good friend Lashaan . You see, he is one of the creators of this great blog called Bookidote, that has been responsible for me adding many books to my already overflowing to read lists. (Seriously though, you all should follow that blog, as it’s amazing!) That’s not all though. Lashaan is a huge DC fan, and his enthusiasm for reviewing these comics is really infectious. You could say that he kind of infected me with that DC virus, as I got more and more curious with every review he posted for them. Sure, not every title was a good one, but still quite a few of them were, and it was especially some of the storylines that got me interested for them. I guess you could say my defences have finally crumbled, as I am now a carrier of this disease. Attentive readers have probably already noticed that I am using the words virus and disease quite freely. And you are right that has a purpose, for my first venture into DC comics has everything to do with a sickness. A bad one though. How bad you say? Well, how does end of the world bad sound to you?
DCeased starts off with a victory against one of the biggest bad guys of the DC universe: Darkseid. If you want to compare him to someone, you could say he’s kind of like Thanos from the Marvel Universe. As usual guys like this only want one thing, total control and either enslave or kill everyone. You know the normal things that supervillains want. As I said though, this book starts with a victory over him by Earth’s major superheroes, the Justice League, whose members include the likes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The big baddie is banished from the Earth never to return, but just as he leaves he of course has to utter some ominous words. In this case he says he will leave, because he has what he came for. Just what exactly that is, becomes clear quite soon as we travel to the planet Apokolips where Darkseid’s minion Desaad has captured Cyborg, another member of the Justice League. He tells him that his master is searching for the second half of the anti-life equation. As if that didn’t sound horrible enough already, it becomes even worse, as apparently that equation is inside Cyborg himself.
When Darkseid himself arrives on the scene, it’s extracted from Cyborg’s body and then merged with a piece of someone called the Black Racer, who is Death himself. However this produces an unexpected and horrifying result. Where Darkseid had wanted to use the equation to make mindless slaves, it’s now produced a technovirus that turns everyone into mindless zombies bent on killing every living thing. Cyborg manages to get back to Earth, but unknown to him is a carrier of the horrible disease. Soon the virus is transmitted to the internet, and infects everyone it comes into contact with. Millions of people become infected within seconds, and disfigure themselves to try to get rid of it. The heroes and villains of the planet Earth must work together or else the entire world is doomed. Unfortunately though, even superheroes aren’t immune to the effects of the virus. Is this the end of all living things??
What can I say about this graphic novel. Let’s start with the first thing that comes to mind right now: this is the best comic book I have read all year. Hell, it’s one of the best comic books I have read in my entire life. If you ever wanted to know what would happen if The Walking Dead would get blended together with a superhero universe, look no further. However I want to really make it clear that this is not just another simple zombie apocalypse story. Lord knows we have had enough of those the past few years, and it’s definitely an oversaturated market. Yes, this is an apocalypse story, and yes it has zombielike creatures in it. But what I really loved about it, were the human elements, and the incredibly heartbreaking moments that this book is filled with. No one is safe in this comic, and well known superheroes fall prone to the virus, which makes the odds of a happy ending decrease very rapidly. It’s during moments like this though that the book really shined. We follow the story through Lois Lane, as she stands in the middle of the world falling apart around her.
She tries to rally what’s left of the Earth, while in the meantime she is worried about the safety of her son, and of course the guy she loves, the Man of Steel also known as Superman. I’m not going to lie when I tell you this story is filled with very dark moments. Luckily there is room for some comedy too, in what is otherwise a very bleak tale. As I am not completely familiair with the DC universe, there were a couple of characters that were completely unknown to me. However this didn’t detract me from the story in any way. Another thing that is definitely a plus is the incredible art which brings this doomsday story to life. Every page is filled with very vibrant and often amazingly detailed drawings. This is definitely an R-rated comic though, as blood, guts and limbs are flying all over the place in some of the more visceral fight sequences. The book contains an abundance of action, and some very heroic sequences that you will love if you are a superhero fan. This first venture into the DC universe has left me thirsting for more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes horror and superheroes, and wants to see them blended together in a delicious albeit bloody cocktail!
I give DCeased a 9 out of 10 score