WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for DCeased #1 by Tom Taylor, Trevor Hairsine, James Harren, Stefano Gaudiano, Rain Beredo, Saida Temofonte on sale now.
Everyone loves a good zombie apocalypse. It gives us a chance to reflect on the destruction of everyday society, plus it usually provides some mindless gore to enjoy. At a previously established cast of characters to the mix, and the end of the world can actually be a pretty fun experience. Marvel Zombies has been a successful franchise for Marvel, so it makes sense DC would eventually get around to crafting its own version of an undead uprising.
In DCeased, the DC Universe suffers its own zombie outbreak, resulting in a worldwide crisis unlike anything ever seen before. The book's opening salvo does not disappoint either, with major deaths taking place among the heroes and villains of the DCU. Here's everyone who met their end in the first issue.
Darkseid Dies at Dawn
Every zombie apocalypse has an origin story (unless it's The Walking Dead, because who cares how that one started), so DCeased wastes no time putting us at ground zero. It all started with Darkseid using Cyborg to piece together the Anti-Life Equation and establish dominion over all creation. However, something goes wrong, and it leads to the end of everything.
Instead of giving the evil New God the power to control living beings, a corrupted version of the Equation is created instead. This new Equation causes him to go insane and claw open his own heading because the power inside him is too horrible for living beings to even imagine. This is what causes the zombie outbreak in DCeased.
Darkseid becomes the first victim of the plague before he takes all of Apocalypse with him in a huge explosion of his own power. Unfortunately, the outbreak doesn't stop there, because someone managed to escape.
A Lonely Place of Eating
Cyborg is sent back to Earth and he's now the carrier of the virus. Since this Anti-Life Equation is a digital virus inside the hero's systems, it automatically gets uploaded to the internet, which causes the outbreak on Earth. People are infected through an exposure to technology, media and social media.
This allows the virus to spread across the world in a matter of minutes, and anyone staring at a screen becomes immediately infected. While Superman is able to save his family by destroying the technology in his home, Batman is unable to do the same. The computer in the Bat Cave may have been secured, but Wayne Manor was not, and as a result some of the Bat Family fall.
Dick Grayson and Tim Drake were unfortunate enough to be watching the news at the time of the outbreak, and as a result the two become infected. Batman and Alfred find Nightwing and Robin hiding in the dark, already having attempted to remove the Anti-Life Equation from their own heads. It's a sickening sight to behold.
The Dark Knight Bites Again
The destruction of Apokolips and the infection of some big-name heroes would have been enough for a first issue. The zombie outbreak is here, it's nearly instantaneous, and the heroes will have a hard time saving the day. But DCeased wasn't done there. In the closing pages of the book, Batman fights the infected and doesn't make it out.
Attacked by his proteges, the Dark Knight is overwhelmed by their voracity—or maybe he had a hard time fighting his loved ones. Batman is savagely beaten by Nightwing and Robin, then bitten by the infected. By all accounts, it seems that Bruce Wayne is dead, but the issue makes it unclear about his final fate.
By the laws of every zombie story, Batman was bitten by the infected, so he in turn should be infected as well. However, we don't yet know all the rules of this brand of virus. People are infected through social media, but can the virus be transmitted through bites and scratches? Even if the answer is no, it's hard to see how he could have survived.
We may have to wait another month to find out his fate, but right now it looks like DC Comics killed off Batman in the first issue. If this is the lengths this book will go to, it's hard to see how the rest of the world's heroes will fare. Good luck trying to save the day now.