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Review: DCeased: Dead Planet #4

DCeased: Dead Planet #4

With the way the world is, the summer movie blockbuster has been missing and the experience of an over the top story full of crazy action and ideas has been lacking. DCeased: Dead Planet #4 fills that gap a bit as the heroes go on a mission to figure out how to unlock the cure for the Anti-Life Equation within Cyborg.

The plan is simple, to get the knowledge as to how unlock the secret within Cyborg, the team needs to steal from a God. To do that, they head to New Genesis where we find out the fate of the New Gods and where they stand in the current world.

Written by Tom Taylor, the issue is fantastic acting as a nice transition to the next act of his story. DCeased: Dead Planet #4 does a solid job of focusing on the impact of what’s happening on quite a few characters. There’s Dinah who is reeling from the loss of her love. There’s some foreshadowing about the possible loss of another hero. But, the real impact is what Mister Miracle, Scott Free has done.

Through all of the zombies and death, there’s an interesting look at fatherhood and parenting and the cycle that Scott has perpetuated with his own family. DCeased: Dead Planet #4 has time for the little moments that makes us care about these characters and more importantly relate to them.

But with that, the issue also has more than enough time for the over the top action and moments. From the “heist” to what’s revealed at the end, this is an issue that gets you hyped for what’s to come… a titanic battle for the future.

The art by Trevor Hairsine, ink by Gigi Baldassini, color by Rain Beredo, and lettering by Saida Temofonte definitely help deliver the emotion and action. What’s interesting about the art of DCeased: Dead Planet #4 are the small details of it. There’s a clash between the fresh heroes returned to save the day and those who have been trying to survive on Earth. There’s subtle things like how Damian’s Batman costume fits him, almost too big and a child dressing up in their father’s clothes. There’s the body language of Scott and Dinah that shows the weight and guilt they’re feeling. And then there’s that ending that you can feel the reverberations. It’s a great rollercoaster of a comic with some fantastic visuals.

DCeased: Dead Planet #4 helps fill the the giant space missing when it comes to summer popcorn films. The comic is a solid mix of focusing on the characters and emotion and delivering those moments that pop. The issue is clearly a transition and set up for the end game to come and it looks like it’s going to be a hell of a fight. While I’ve really enjoyed the series before, I’m beyond excited to see where it goes from here.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Trevor Hairsine
Ink: Gigi Baldassini Color: Rain Beredo Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: DCeased: Dead Planet #3

DCeased: Dead Planet #3

When we last left the world of DCeased, John Constantine and his team were beat while the mystery of the new green was teased. DCeased: Dead Planet #3 picks up on that mystery and adding so much more depth to the story. DCeased as a whole has transcended the concept of zombies in the DC world. This issue is a good example of exactly that. DCeased: Dead Planet #3 adds concepts and ideas that give us more than the shambling “anti-life.”

Writer Tom Taylor reveals there are more survivors. This group is made up of the rich and elite. Unlike Gotham, they’ve created a caste system with haves and have nots. Taylor clearly sets this up not to just create some more tension and a greater threat but also to have us reflect on what has been built by Ivy, Harley, and others in Gotham.

But Taylor has some greater themes going on. The hard-realism and brutal society built beyond Gotham emphasizes the hope that exists with the arrival of our heroes and the promise of a cure. But, Taylor’s story resonates further.

In today’s world, with a pandemic around us and divisions in philosophy clear, Taylor has captured the current zeitgeist. We have those who would be happy to create a society of evil with roles clear and defined. They would deliver a safety predicated on fear. Compare that to the heroes within Gotham. While their plan isn’t clear, the steps not defined, they’ve staked their future on teamwork and an all-in together mentality. Whether Taylor has adjusted his story based on the current reality is unknown but what he’s produced has captured the current real-world situation.

Trevor Hairsine delivers some intriguing visuals that emphasize the desperation of it all. Along with ink from Gigi Baldassini, color by Rain Beredo, and lettering by Saida Temofonte, the art pops on the page. It’d be easy to go the “scare” route but the series has never been about that. There’s some crazy visuals but it’s more along the line of action than scares. But, what stands out to me is the art’s ability to emphasize the wear of it all. There’s a reveal at the end of the issue whose visuals tell you so much of what has happened without spelling it out.

DCeased: Dead Planet #3 adds a lot to the series and world. There’s a concept thrown out that really drives the direction of what’s at stake and what might be coming. There’s so much more than a battle to find a cure and what the anti-life zombies have tipped as far as balance is interesting. The series continues to mix things up a bit delivering ideas and concepts far more than you’d expect in a typical “zombie” story.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Trevor Hairsine
Ink: Gigi Baldassini Color: Rain Beredo Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: DCeased: Dead Planet #2

DCeased: Dead Planet #2

DCeased: Dead Planet kicked things off in the first issue with lots of dread and foreshadowing the horror to come. As expected, the issue was full of tragedy as a rescue/scouting mission went south really quickly. DCeased: Dead Planet #2 picks up from that expanding the world and letting us see what has survived. It also addresses the fallout from the first issue. Of course, there’s even more tragedy.

Writer Tom Taylor has been killing it on every DCeased series. Each has a role building out a world and taking us on a rollercoaster ride full of highs and lows. Taylor does stick to tropes at times and plot points we’ve seen elsewhere but it feels like it’s partially done so that what’s new is truly shocking.

Take, for instance, this issue’s travels of Constantine and his team as they head to Australia to find out about a patch of green Swamp Thing is trying to figure out. Things go as expected until they don’t Taylor sets things up and then delivers a unique twist that catches you off guard.

The issue dives a bit more into the world that has sprung up after the Anti-Life virus has spread. A sanctuary has been created by Poison Ivy creating a new role for her, Harley, and many more. It’s an interesting shift in positions that has former heroes and villains working together to keep the world functioning.

In that way Taylor keeps the focus on the characters. They get their moments to show where that are in life and some emotional moments between each other or reflecting upon the situation. This series could easily go for scares and gore but the team keeps it focused on the characters and survival which makes what shocks stand out more.

And this issue delivers on that.

Artist Trevor Hairsine, inker Gigi Baldassini, colorist Rain Beredo, and letterer Saida Temofonte deliver on the visuals. So much of Taylor’s story feels like the calm before the storm and when the last segment of the issue hits, it really hits. The team delivers the beauty and the horror in the issue. But, what feels more impressive is that it’s all done without going over the top into the fore territory. The final segment is horrific when you think about it but between what’s presented and Taylor’s dialogue with Temofonte’s lettering it hits as much as just going with over the top visuals.

DCeased: Dead Planet #2 is another winner of an issue for the series. It expands the world that we know showing us the impact of the Anti-Life virus and what remains. We get a better idea of the society that has sprung up. The issue too takes us on an emotional rollercoaster of hope and despair giving us everything in between. While some might see this series and think “zombie,” it’s far more than a simple genre.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Trevor Hairsine
Ink: Gigi Baldassini Color: Rain Beredo Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.10 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: DCeased: Dead Planet #1

DCeased: Dead Planet #1

When it comes to the DCeased storyline, DC Comics has been nailing the concept. They’ve done well to add to the story as opposed to giving us follow-ups that feel like they’re just an attempt to cash in on the idea. We’ve gotten the excellent DCeased: Hope at World’s End digital series and the latest, DCeased: Dead Planet #1, which kicks off the latest volume.

Five years have passed since the events of DCeased. The survivors of Earth have found a new home on a new planet, Earth-2 and have begun to build a new society. A Justice League has formed to protect what remains not just from the threat they escaped but others they face. Cyborg, decapitated but alive, sends out a distress call which the remaining heroes hear and decide to investigate.

Lets get the bad of DCeased: Dead Planet #1 out of the way. The comic is predictable and foreshadows things WAY too much. In that way it plays with tropes, cliches, and genres but doesn’t offer anything really new there. While some of it might be surprising as to when it happens, none of it is surprising at all.

What’s good is, Tom Taylor delivers a solid comic that while it’s familiar in plot, does it really well. While the original DCeased felt like Taylor’s play on the zombie genre, DCeased: Dead Planet #1 feels more like it riffs of science fiction. The issue seems to take its inspiration from films like Alien and Aliens more so than Romero. It’s an interesting direction for the first issue that’s unexpected and quite welcome in many ways. We see that we’re going to get something different instead of “another zombie story.” That alone raises the entertainment of the issue which otherwise wears a bit too much on its sleeve.

The art by Trevor Hairsine delivers. With ink by Gigi Baldassini and Stefano Gaudiano, color by Rain Beredo, and lettering by Saida Temofonte, the look of the comic captures that shift from horror/zombie to sci-fi/tense. What the team captures really well is the time that has passed. Characters look older and more worn down. The two worlds feel like they’re struggling in multiple ways. It’s small choices that are solid and some really interesting scenes that deliver some emotional punch over the cliches.

And that’s the issue with the comic. It’s really entertaining and an excellent follow up to everything that has come before. The problem is too much of what happens is choreographed. The latter parts of the comic are predictable and aren’t surprising at all as they’re all foreshadowed at some point. But, it’s still a fun read and is a shift from the expected take on the zombie genre. If only it kept a bit more of its secrets and delivered real surprises.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Trevor Hairsine
Ink: Gigi Baldassini, Stefano Gaudiano Color: Rain Beredo Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

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It’s Over My Dead Body this January from Jay Faerber, Simone Guglielmini, Gigi Baldassini, and Ron Riley

From the acclaimed Near Death comic book series universe—and featuring  many of the same characters—comes the all-new, standalone graphic novel thriller Over My Dead Body by Jay Faerber, Simone Guglielmini, Gigi Baldassini, and Ron Riley, with a cover by Jacob Phillips. It will hit stores this January 2020 from Image Comics.

In Over My Dead Body, a prison warden’s daughter has fallen in with a separatist militia, and the warden’s only chance to rescue her is his most dangerous inmate: the notorious contract killer, Markham. Markham claims that a near-death experience convinced him to atone for his past sins, and to start saving lives instead of taking them. This may be Markham’s one last shot at redemption. But is he ready to die for that shot? Over My Dead Body is a fast-paced, pulpy thriller perfect for fans of Jack Reacher and John Wick.

Over My Dead Body trade paperback (ISBN: 978-1-5343-1494-8, Diamond Code OCT190056) will be available on Wednesday, January 15 and in bookstores on Tuesday, January 21.

Over My Dead Body