We’re at the halfway point of DC’s latest imaginary apocalyptic saga, following the successes of Injustice and DCeased. The Undead plague has taken most of the heroic big hitters, the skies are black and humans are being farmed in Smallville.
A ragtag group of heroes are leading a convoy to a rumoured secret sanctuary. Adam Strange, Director Bones, Wild Dog, Raven, Crazy Quilt, Peacemaker, Frost and Negative Man, though, are ambushed by members of the Vampire horde.
After an explosive fight, only Bones and a newcomer, Jayna, are able to continue the trip.
Finally, Jayna alone reaches the hidden stronghold, where she learns what – or rather who – Bones had been hiding in his car boot.
OK, Supergirl is on the cover, and in a superb flashback splash spread, but I never expected her to get such respect in a modern DC comic. For the last few years Kara has always been among the first heroes to fall whenever there’s any kind of possession plague. Not here, though, where she’s not only a survivor, but a symbol, considered vital to the triumph of mankind… even without her powers. It’s so refreshing, let’s just hope something dreadful doesn’t happen to her in the back half of this series – Jayna’s resentment of Kara after the death of her brother Zan could prove a problem.
Speaking of the distaff Wonder Twin, Jayna’s scene with Mr Bones features terrific writing from James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg; I don’t recall the last time the DEO director gave an inspirational speech, he’s been played as a one-note bullying boss for far too long. Here he’s a caring, wise mentor with plenty of spine.
The discussions among the heroes at the sanctuary are fascinating, I love it when characters who have no business being together mingle. I have to say, though, that this version of John Constantine needs an eye test
The story is moving along nicely, it’s just a shame that a massive plot point from a tie-in, DC Vs Vampires: All Out War, which isn’t out for a couple of weeks, is spoiled here. There’s even an editor’s note to point us there – what the heck happened?
Otto Schmidt’s full colour art is a total treat, able to go from zero to ten in the intensity stakes in an instant. You want talking heads? He can do talking heads. You want a Justice League member going out with a Big bang? Schmidt can do that too. The highway action scene is especially great.
Tom Napolitano has a lot of words to fit onto the pages, but he manages it with panache, gifting characters special fonts, balloons or backgrounds that reflect their personalities or costume colours. It’s clever stuff, and helps the storytelling.
As for Guillem March’s cover, it’s full of foreboding.
If you’ve not been reading this comic and have the DC app, check out the first issue there, with the standard six-month gap it should be available by now. That’s my recommendation – no fangs necessary.