SPOILER ALERT: The below feature discusses plot points from the first issue of DCeased: Unkillables.
BATMAN IS DEAD??
Yes, and so is Wonder Woman.
Then who’s left to save life on Earth!?
Literally, just all of the evil people…
And that my friends, is a real depiction of the mental conversation I had in my head after jumping into DCeased: Unkillables.
DCeased: Unkillables #1, from writer Tom Taylor and artist Karl Mostert, is the first issue of the spinoff derived from the wildly (and virally) popular DCeased series.
In DCeased, we saw every single one of our heroes do everything in their living, breathing power to help save humanity against Darkseid’s anti-life virus that quickly infected the world. As most of us know by now, many of our heroes died in the process and failed to save the planet (so if you haven’t read DCeased yet, I’m totally judging you, GO READ IT RIGHT NOW!).
Throughout the entire series, you can’t help but wonder what happened to all the villains that we didn’t see. What were they up to while our heroes were fighting to save the world from a zombie apocalypse?
This first issue of Unkillables shows us the very early days of the anti-life virus through the eyes of two of DC’s biggest antiheroes, Deathstroke and Red Hood. For Deathstroke, it was really just another day of mercenary work until he was attacked by Nazi zombies and almost got infected. Red Hood, on the other hand, visited the Batcave thinking he’d get answers about the virus from Batman, but instead came face to face with a sad reality.
The use of these two characters for this spinoff series is a deliberate choice in that they’re both very grounded antiheroes. When I think of their stories, I think of them fighting in dark alleys and abandoned warehouses in Blüdhaven and Gotham. Their perspectives offer something that DCeased couldn’t—the nitty-gritty, street-level details of the apocalypse. Their side stories have the potential to add so much more to this massive overarching tale and I’m definitely here for it.
While the details are very important, I have to say that the humor in this issue is what makes me love the story so much more. Similar to how DCeased had a plethora of snarky and funny dialogue thrown in, Unkillables #1 has just as much, if not more, sprinkled throughout it.
Even just the concept of villains sitting back, chilling, waiting for everything to play out before getting involved in the zombie apocalypse is really funny to me. A part of me wants to be mad that Mirror Master had specially-designed eye goggles to protect people from the virus and didn’t once think of using this technology to help people. But at the same time, he’s a villain… so I can’t really expect much. (He’s still an asshat for sure, though.)
There’s also that moment where Red Hood found Joker’s dead body and was upset that he died at the hands of the virus and not by him. So, what did he do? He strapped his corpse onto the Batmobile’s hood and sped off into the sunset. But hey, if it’s cathartic for him in some way, then so be it. No judgment here whatsoever, cause it’s really hilarious.
So far, it seems like this spinoff isn’t taking itself too seriously and that’s something I find both very enjoyable and admirable. It just goes to show that not everything needs to be serious, even in a zombie apocalypse.
The issue leaves us with Red Hood teaming up with Commissioner Gordon and Cassandra Cain, while Deathstroke joins Vandal Savage and the rest of the surviving villains. I’m interested in seeing how these two separate stories will link together down the line. I’m guessing it won’t be pretty. But as a final thought, one thing I couldn’t get out of my head was when Vandal Savage told Deathstroke that the heroes would fail at saving the world because they aren’t ruthless enough to survive.
Let me tell you, I lowkey felt that.
Vandal Savage knew that they would fail from the beginning, and as a villain and would-be world conqueror, I have to say he’s pretty smart for rallying up all the villains and letting nature run its course so that he could potentially inherit what was left of the planet. (Also, totally unrelated, but can we please have the Creeper’s “I’m a tree lobster” shirts made? That’s the type of merch I need in my life right now!)
But will being ruthless be enough for them to beat the anti-life virus? Based on everything that happened in DCeased, it’s clear that it won’t be so easy for Vandal Savage, even with so many villains by his side. This virus literally killed Batman, Superman AND Wonder Woman. All of whom are kind of supposed to be “unkillable,” right? So, what will make these villains more likely to survive and potentially save life on Earth when the most powerful heroes on Earth failed? To make things even worse, they’ve been left with even more to face this time around since they’ll be up against undead heroes that were infected and are still roaming the Earth.
Also, an antihero is not necessarily equal to a villain, so there’s no knowing for sure whether or not Deathstroke (and possibly Red Hood) can even fully trust Vandal Savage and the rest of the villains. There are so many challenges at play for them, and there’s really no knowing whether they’ll find a way to overcome the virus, or if they’ll end up with a similar fate that the heroes faced.
Overall, this first issue sets the tone and the bar high for what’s to come. It’s definitely a must-read series and an exciting companion piece to come out of DCeased. There’s still a lot left to explore and I’m very excited to see how the rest of this miniseries will play out with villains at the forefront of this insane zombie apocalypse!
Lissete Gonzalez writes about film, TV and comics for DCComics.com. Look for her on Twitter at @lissete74.