The startling conclusion of the not-quite-zombie horror series finds its ending, here, among the embers of a dying world.
This is a Tom Taylor alternate reality series, so you know two things right off the bat: there will be a great many deaths, of people who aren’t ‘supposed’ to die as well as nameless civilian hoards, and the series will ultimately end on a note of hope. Both of these promises were absolutely fulfilled in this issue.
As a writer, Tom Taylor has three major strengths. First, he’s got a deep, unshakable understanding of basically all of the characters. More than knowing who they are, in canon, he sees them as they exist within the public consciousness (he knows what they stand for, for us, as readers) and he knows them as individuals — with all of the faults, frailties, and surprising strengths we all entail served up steaming and alive in text. We see this in Superman’s tearful goodbye to his family — an act which doomed the world — as well as in the loving baby between Black Canary and Green Arrow (which was frankly, worth the price of admission all by itself).
Second, he is a writer whose value system (whose very view of the world) seems to hinge upon compassion. Like the titular character in Steven Universe, Taylor seems happiest when characters win battles with their hearts. This is evidenced in the ending he gave to Harley and Ivy. Their bliss might be brief, but Harley finally found someone who is worth her loyalty, while Ivy twined herself round a lover who can anchor her to her own nearly-forgotten human nature. The world might have only seemed to lie before them (so various, so new) but their Edenic peace was no less real for being an exercise in brevity.
Finally, no matter how dark it gets, the story will always end on a note of redemption and hope. In this instance, yes, Superman’s dead, and the world is gone, but the survivors still have their families and their love for one another. So the feeling you’re left with when you turn the last page is anxiety, yes, but it is terror made bearable by the fact that there will be light again.
And he manages all of this without ever stunting on the bloody violence.
Speaking of that last bit, this series would not have been nearly so effective without the art. Trevor Hairsine’s pencils are sharp and clear, veering towards the photorealistic, and that’s exactly what you want in a series like this. His fleshy, riven faces (skin hanging off the hollow cheeks in flapping tatters) generate a horrific cannot-look-away energy that is infinitely more satisfying (on a visceral level) than the shadowy, cleaned-up masks of other series released by the big two (I’m primarily thinking of the recent relaunch of the Marvel Zombies series, here, which was highly enjoyable but which fell down in this area). Basically, zombies (or, you know, anti-life equations) should be horrible and the best way to capture that horror is by contrasting it with something as beautiful as the fully-rendered cheek of a twelve year old boy.
Basically, as far as I am concerned, this series moved beyond a fun little jaunt through the realm of nightmare and veered straight into the magnificent. If you haven’t read it yet, you are missing out.
A miniseries about a zombie-like apocalypse has absolutely no business being this beautiful, touching, or straight-up fun. DCeased #6 (Taylor, Hairsine, Edwards, Gaurdiano, Beredo) proved a fine conclusion to a wonderful event. Do pick it up.
DCeased #6: The Dying of the Light
- Writing - 9.7/109.7/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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