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"What happens to the world's greatest superheroes when the world ends?"

DCeased began as a DC Comics miniseries by Tom Taylor depicting a dark Elseworld version of the DC Universe, which soon spawned many spinoffs and a sequel.

The story takes many cues from the Zombie Apocalypse genre, focusing on a corrupted, technological version of the Anti-Life Equation that, instead of brainwashing the masses, turns them into ravenous, rage-filled undead that will stop at nothing to destroy any living persons, including superhumans. Now the heroes of the DC Universe must stop the threat before all is lost, but when superheroes are among the infected, can anything stop them?

The series consists of:

  • DCeased #1-6 (2019): The main series.
  • DCeased: A Good Day to Die #1 (2019): A one-shot tie-in, telling the story of another group of heroes attempting to fight against the Anti-Life infection.
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  • DCeased: Unkillables #1-3 (2020): A spinoff focusing on Jason Todd and Deathstroke leading a group of villains on their fight to survive.
  • DCeased: Hope at World's End (2020): A Digital First series focusing on heroes like Stephanie Brown, Wally West, Martian Manhunter, Jimmy Olsen and more as the world ends.
  • DCeased: Dead Planet (2020): A Sequel Series taking place five years after the main comic.

This series contains examples of:

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  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: The Anti-Life Equation appears to partially mutate the bodies of its victims so that their fingers become sharper and more claw-like, in order to more easily pass on infection to others.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Justified; once the Anti-Life Equation infection starts spreading, Batman contacts the Flash and Kid Flash and convinces them to stay in isolation instead of trying to help with the crisis. Neither speedster is happy about it, but they agree that one of them becoming a carrier for the Equation would be disastrous. They're eventually able to get around the problem by putting on contact lenses that blurs their sight enough that they should be safe from witnessing the Equation on any screens. In Issue #5, these fears come to fruition, with Barry being infected by Martian Manhunter and going on to infect many around the globe, including Superman!
  • Anyone Can Die: Since it's a zombie apocalypse AU, anything goes and anyone can die.
    • The first issue kills off Darkseid (along with the entirety of Apokalips), Nightwing, and Red Robin.
    • The second issue features the infections and deaths of Green Lantern and Batman.
    • In the third issue, the infected Joker is shot and killed by Harley Quinn. The Birds of Prey, Aquaman, Tempest, Clayface, Perry White, and the senior Jonathan Kent are all shown to have become infected.
    • The plot of the fourth issue revolves around the Atom becoming infected, and in turn infecting Captain Atom.
    • A Good Day to Die: Captain Boomerang, Fire, and Ice have all become infected. Mister Miracle is killed by the infected horde, Big Barda and Blue Beetle become infected and kill Mister Terrific and Waverider, respectively, and Booster Gold is wiped from existence when his future ceases to exist.
    • Things go From Bad to Worse in the fifth issue with the deaths of Martian Manhunter, Lex Luthor, The Flash, and Superman.
    • The sixth issue ends with the deaths of Cyborg, Wonder Woman, the Amazons and everyone on Earth who couldn't get in the arks.
  • Arc Words:
    My mother used to tell me there was no such thing as monsters. There was nothing hiding in the dark. Nothing was going to jump out of the shadows. I wish I could have told my child the same thing. But by the time I was grown, I'd seen too many monsters. I knew they were real. There was one thing I didn't know...
  • Atrocious Alias: John Constantine mocks Mister Terrific's name, pointing out that it makes him sound extremely arrogant. However, after the latter's death, Constantine speaks highly of him and states that he genuinely earned the name.
  • Badass Family:
    • The Kent family. With the radio-equivalent of a Voice with an Internet Connection Lois Lane as the mother (which also counts her as a Badass Pacifist in this story, as she does none of the fighting yet is still just as badass as her husband Clark and her son Jon), the god-like Superman/Clark Kent as the father, and the demigod-like Superboy/Jon Kent as the son.
    • Black Lightning and his two daughters, Thunder and Lightning, are among the surviving heroes fighting against the infected.
    • The Bat-Family serves as the surrogate family equivalent of this. Alfred, who treats the Bat-Family as his sons, with Damian Wayne as his surrogate grandson. Batman even when he's infected is still a badass, as he makes an effort to at least hold the infection at bay long enough to contact the remnants of the Justice League. The narraration implies that Nightwing when he was still human had an off-screen moment of badass, as he managed to help defeat Darkseid despite Nightwing being a Badass Normal as opposed to Darkseid's superhuman badass.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • John Constantine is on the receiving end of this twice: the first by Mister Terrific's team of heroes, and the second by Doctor Fate and Zatanna. He's not happy about the second time, since he points out that the two sorcerers only showed up after the other heroes fell.
    • In Issue #6, a seemingly doomed final battle to protect the final fleeing survivors of humanity receives this when the entire Green Lantern Corps shows up to battle Infected!Superman.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sol/Sector 2814 is completely lost when the infected Superman absorbs the entire Sun, dooming those left on Earth, but .002% of humanity (around 14 million) are saved with Guy Gardner and the other Green Lanterns leading them to "Earth 2" with hopes to rebuild their world.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Cyborg kills an infected Giganta. Considering how big she is, the resulting hole is big enough for him to walk through.
  • Break the Badass: Superman is really put through the wringer in the story, having friends, colleagues, and his father get infected and turn on him throughout, and it all culminates in his own death and monstrous transformation at the end of the fifth issue.
  • Brown Note: The virus can be transmitted visually via the internet; millions are infected instantly while engaging in mundane electronics usage, including Green Lantern, Nightwing, Red Robin, and Joker.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Mister Terrific's group approaches John Constantine for help, but he refuses and goes to hole himself up at the Oblivion Bar. He changes his mind later, playing a pivotal role in dealing with the interfering Waverider.
  • Colony Ship: Once the heroes are able to regroup at the Fortress of Solitude, Cyborg and Lex Luthor start working on plans for arks to take the surviving inhabitants of Earth to another planet.
  • Covers Always Lie: Some issues feature covers with characters who either don't actually appear in the specific issue or don't appear at all, or are shown as being infected but this does not happen in-story if at all. There are even covers showing heroes fighting the infected after previous issues already had that hero turned.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Batman remains protected from the Equation in the Batcave due to both the Bat Computer's firewall systems isolating the virus and a network of analog cameras placed around Gotham City that allow him to view the outside chaos without worrying about witnessing digital signals carrying the Equation. In addition, he has an electromagnetic pulse ready to go to disable any and all electronics inside Wayne Manor. Unfortunately, these safeguards don't protect Nightwing and Red Robin from becoming infected. However, he has the foresight to provide Damian with equipment to counter and defeat the members of the Justice League.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: For one character in particular: after staying behind on Earth out of guilt for unintentionally bringing the virus there in the first place, Cyborg discovers that the cure for the infection has been inside of him the whole time. Sadly, he's killed by the infected Wonder Woman before he can communicate with the evacuation arks.
  • Darkest Hour: Issue #5, appropriately titled "Hope Lost," ends with Superman succumbing to the infection.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Green Arrow's response to Batman's discovery that the Anti-Life Equation is what triggers the infection.
    Green Arrow: I always knew math would doom us all.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: John Constantine pulls this off twice: when Waverider prevents Mister Terrific's team from going back in time, Constantine arrives and knocks him out. Later, Constantine uses a spell to keep Waverider from disappearing into the time stream, giving an infected Blue Beetle the chance to kill him.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The narration notes that Captain Atom was supposed to be impervious, so he was thought to be safe from the risk of infection. Unfortunately, he was in the same room as The Atom when the latter became infected; the Atom was easily able to enter the Captain's body at the microscopic level to infect the atoms in his still-flesh heart.
    • John Constantine almost literally invokes this: when arriving to confront an interfering Waverider, Constantine uses his magic to prevent the time traveler from seeing Constantine's own future. As a result, Constantine is able to knock out Waverider easily with some misdirection and a headbutt.
  • Dramatic Irony: Constantine didn't want anything to do with Mister Terrific's team when they first approached him for help. After he comes back later, he ends up being the only one who survives.
  • Driven to Suicide: Darkseid is corrupted by the Equation and kills himself by driving into the core of Apokolips and destroys his entire planet, along with himself.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In Issue #6, when the decision is made to evacuate what's left of humanity away from Sol, Guy Gardner jokes that this might look a little bad on the Corps, losing a sector and all. Dinah chews him out over it, but he justifies this by stating that he's scared right now and being his normal asshole self is the only way he can cope.
  • Episode of the Dead: This Elseworld mini-series is considerated as one, and the second one in DC after Blackest Night event for The DCU.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
  • Everyone Has Standards: Harley Quinn isn't a saint, but she sincerely tried to convince Poison Ivy to use her new Gotham Jungle as a refuge for human survivors of the crisis, and is very happy when she eventually agrees.
  • Eye Scream: Green Arrow kills Aquaman with an arrow through the eye.
  • Facial Horror: One of the defining characteristics of the infected. Once the Anti-Life Equation enters someone's mind, the victim will desperately claw at their own heads to try to get it out before fully succumbing. As such, all of the infected have their heads scarred with deep, bloody claw marks.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • Black Canary and Green Arrow are nearly overwhelmed by an infected Green Lantern. Black Canary is ultimately forced to kill him with a Canary Cry to save both of their lives.
    • In A Good Day to Die, Big Barda, Mister Miracle, Booster Gold, and Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) are forced to fight their old teammates Fire and Ice, both of whom have become infected.
    • The surviving heroes are eventually forced to fight an infected Martian Manhunter. Shortly afterwards, Superman is forced to put down Flash, who Manhunter infected during his attack on the Fortress of Solitude.
    • The infected Aquaman is ultimately killed by Green Arrow. Not long after, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, and Cyborg try to defeat the infected Superman.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • In A Good Day to Die, John Constantine realizes that Chas has been infected when he sees Chas's smartphone lying in the front seat of his cab, glowing with the red light of the infection. Chas attacks him seconds later.
    • When Harley goes to break up with Joker, he's hunched over a wall of monitors in his lair. At the end of Harley's speech, a close-up of his face reveals that he's been infected.
    • As Aquaman investigates a drifting freighter, a broken smartphone on the floor tips off what he's going to find happened to the crew.
  • Foreshadowing: In A Good Day to Die, Waverider apparently sees Superman discovering the Flash in hiding as the key event that "locks" the future into place. Eventually, the Flash becoming infected and Superman becoming infected upon stopping him leads into the Darkest Hour.
  • From Bad to Worse: The entire series, as the infection spreads and heroes die. Things get even worse in Issue #4 when Captain Atom becomes infected. His meltdown ends up devastating a massive chunk of the American east coast. Issue #5, appropriately titled "Hope Lost," ends with the infection of Superman.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • Captain Atom is considered to be this to the United States government. As the Equation spreads, Amanda Waller sends him out to destroy as many of the infected as he can with his atomic powers. When he detonates after becoming infected, the destruction is incomprehensible: the unleashed energy destroys Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, and even reaches Metropolis.
    • Mister Terrific considers his third and final plan to be this: using a time machine to alter history in order to save the world.
    • The crisis eventually gets so bad that Wonder Woman convinces Hippolyta and the other Amazons to allow survivors from Man's World to come to Themyscira. Lex Luthor later goes as far as to conclude that humanity has to leave Earth altogether to survive.
  • Green Thumb: Poison Ivy, as usual. She eventually turns all of Gotham City into a forested haven from the infected.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • An infected Big Barda tears Mister Terrific in half from the waist.
    • This is how an infected Martian Manhunter kills Lex Luthor. With Eye Beams.
  • Heartbroken Badass: All over the place, due to the nature of the story. Alfred is deeply saddened by the deaths of Batman, Nightwing, and Red Robin, with Robin joining him not long after. Superman is also hit hard after seeing an infected Jonathan Kent.
  • Heroic BSoD: The reveal that Cyborg had the cure all along causes him to carelessly release the Lasso and leave his back turned on the infected Wonder Woman, giving her an opening to tear off his head.
  • Heroic Suicide: When he becomes infected, Superman tries to fly deep into space and kill himself with oxygen deprivation before he fully succumbs. He fails.
  • Hive Mind: Implied of the victims of the Anti-Life Equation. Confirmed in Issue #6, when Infected!Wonder Woman speaks via the Lasso of Truth and states that "We have a voice."
  • Hold the Line:
    • Mister Miracle and Big Barda desperately try to keep the infected outside while the rest of their group attempts to use Booster Gold's time machine. Unfortunately, they're overwhelmed, and an infected Big Barda breaks into the building, lets the rest of the horde in, and personally kills Mister Terrific.
    • In Issue #6, the Amazons sacrifice themselves to hold off the infected Atlanteans long enough for the second ark to get away from Themyscira and into space.
    • Also in Issue #6, Jon heads into space to battle his zombified father and buy time for the ark to escape, fully expecting to die in the process. The fighting is intense, but it only lasts a minute after Superman manages to break Jon's arm. Luckily, that minute bought enough time for the Green Lantern Corp to arrive.
  • Hope Spot:
    • An In-Universe one. When the Batwing arrives and aids the surviving League members in fighting an infected Giganta, Robin clearly hopes that it means Batman is still alive. Instead, Alfred comes out of the cockpit and sadly confirms the death.
    • In A Good Day to Die, Mister Terrific's final plan involves using Booster Gold's time machine to go back in time and prevent the entire Anti-Life infection from coming to be. After knocking out the interfering Waverider, it looks like the heroes are going to be able to successfully use the time machine... then Booster Gold is wiped from existence as his future ceases to be, which is immediately followed by the infected breaking in.
    • Issue #5: After slowing the spread of the infection considerably by destroying the internet and securing safe havens across the globe for the survivors, the remaining heroes' efforts are undone when Martian Manhunter infects Flash, who then proceeds to kill/infect thousands more within seconds. Superman manages to destroy him, but in the process becomes infected as well and turns while trying to flee Earth.
  • I Choose to Stay:
    • Both Harley and Ivy choose not to board the arks leaving Earth. Ivy refuses to leave the Green, and Harley refuses to leave Ivy.
    • Cyborg also chooses to remain behind out of guilt for unintentionally bringing the virus to Earth.
  • In-Universe Catharsis: Lampshaded by Harley Quinn when she kills an infected Joker with a shotgun blast to the stomach. After a moment of shock, she's nothing but jubilant that he's finally gone.
    Harley: Oh my god... that was the most cathartic thing ever!
  • It Can Think: Played with.
    • The superhuman infected are outwardly as stupid as conventional zombies, but are nonetheless capable of using their powers and technologies effectively.
      • An infected Green Lantern is able to use his ring, for example, though not with any subtlety. And Aquaman can still control sea creatures, but only seems to use the most vicious types.
      • Even zombified Badass Normals can still use some of their skills. For example, the infected Nightwing and Red Robin can still use their agility to out-maneuver Batman, who is quite agile himself, and the zombified Birds of Prey can still use enough agility to swoop down from Gotham buildings like they used to do when they were alive.
    • They're also capable of coming up with some pretty elaborate strategies to attack pockets of resistance. The Atom is able to use his belt to find a way past Captain Atom's defenses, an infected Martian Manhunter crosses the planet while invisible to make a surgical strike against Lex Luthor and the Flash, and Aquaman bypasses Mera's hydrokinetic defense of Atlantis by filling the surrounding water with infected blood.
    • Furthermore, the Equation uses Captain Atom to blow up three cities using his radiation powers, and then later sends Flash to infect any survivors he finds using his super-speed.
    • After an infected Superman is surrounded by the Green Lantern Corps, he retreats into the Sun to drain it and kill the remaining humans on Earth.
    • Issue #6 reveals that the anti-living are intelligent enough to speak when an undead Wonder Woman is interrogated by Cyborg with the Lasso of Truth.
  • Joker Immunity: Averted; the Trope Namer is killed by Harley after he becomes infected.
  • Just in Time: Superman arrives just in time to destroy the smart phone and television in the Kent family apartment, saving Lois, Jon, and Damian from becoming infected. Sadly subverted when he's too late getting to Smallville to save his own father.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Darkseid sought the Anti-Life Equation to subjugate the universe under his control. The corrupted variant he created using Cyborg and the Black Racer ends up subjugating him, which leads to his death and Apokolips's
    • Waverider coldly deletes Booster Gold from the timeline and condemns the past to its fate. To top it all off, he tells Constantine that it’s unlikely they will meet again. John decides to repay this by freezing Waverider and have him be killed by an infected Blue Beetle.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Firestorm kills an infected Martian Manhunter.
  • Know When To Fold Them: In Issue #6, the infected Superman realizes he can't fight the entire Green Lantern Corps and thus dives into the heart of the sun to absorb it in a last-ditch effort to spread as much death as possible. In turn, Ganthet realizes there's no way they can stop him and opts to get humanity to safety as Superman's actions would ultimately kill all life in Earth's solar system and put the virus to sleep.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Aquaman leads an attack on Themyscira riding on a giant Kraken.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Issue #6 opens with Wonder Woman forging Kryptonite into a magic sword to kill an infected Superman.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Black Canary inherits Hal Jordan's ring after being forced to kill him.
    • After his father's death, Damian Wayne becomes the new Batman.
    • Jonathan takes his father's mantle before being forced to stop him from attacking the arks.
    • Wallace West has updated his costume in the final issue and is implied to taken on the mantle of the new Flash.
    • Only Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl) is left to carry the legacy of Diana and the Amazons.
  • Like a Son to Me: It's clear that Alfred feels this way about the entire Bat Family. He explicitly calls Batman his son before killing him once he's taken over by the infection. Before leaving Wayne Manor, he refers to Batman, Nightwing, and Red Robin as "[his] boys."
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Played for Black Comedy: Green Arrow is annoyed to discover that Batman didn't bother coming up with a plan for taking him down like he did with the rest of the League members.
  • Narrator All Along: Issue #5 reveals that the narrator of the series is Lois Lane.
  • New Media Are Evil: The virus is widespread through the use of the internet and smartphones, with 600 million people being affected almost instantly. The surviving Justice League members take back the Daily Planet building since Lois Lane can use the analog broadcasting systems kept there to try and contact other survivors, and Issue #5 opens with them taking down the Internet and other digital communications entirely. Lois mentions that her parents are safe since her father, General Sam Lane, never trusted smart phones, and thus was able to avoid infection long enough to get himself and his wife to a secure bunker. Lampshaded by Green Arrow, who always felt that one day, destroying the internet would be key to saving the Earth.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The heroes added additional land mass to Themyscira to provide refuge for survivors. Unfortunately, doing so eventually allows the infected Atlanteans to detect it.
    • According to the narrator Superman's attempted Heroic Sacrifice after he became infected failed because he stopped to say good bye to his family. As a result of him succumbing to the infection the sun was destroyed.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • After studying the Equation and how it infects people, Batman concludes that the infected are not technically zombies. Green Arrow immediately points out that the distinction feels pedantic.
    • Usually, instead of feeding on the non-infected, they seek to spread "anti-life" as much as possible, either by killing or infecting anyone they can get their hands on. This is especially noticeable with Darkseid and Captain Atom; rather than trying to eat people, they both perform incredibly damaging suicide attacks to kill as many people as possible upon becoming infected.
    • Issue #4 reveals that the zombies are in fact undead.
    • In some cases the infected do in fact eat their prey, such as an infected Clayface trying to pull people into his mouth to eat them and some Gotham citizen trying to fight off the zombies with his shotgun, only to get over-whelmed and then eaten alive off-panel.
    • To make matters worse then they already were, any infected hero or villain retains their skills or power-sets.
    • Interestingly, as proven by Harley blowing out Joker’s guts with a shotgun, the infected don’t need headshots to be killed despite being undead.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Played for Laughs when Lois Lane decks Lex Luthor after he makes a cruel joke and realizes that Jon saw the whole thing.
    Lois: Um... violence is never the answer, Jon.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Harley Quinn gets a good one right before killing the Joker.
    Harley: Mistah J... you were never any good for me.
  • Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye:
    • After he becomes infected, Superman gives his family a tearful goodbye before he flies into space to try and kill himself before the infection takes hold.
    • Hippolyta requests that Wonder Girl pass her tiara and last words to Diana as the Amazons sacrifice themselves to hold back the infected Atlanteans from the ark. Subverted when Diana becomes an infected.
    • Jon Kent hugs Damian before leaving the ark to face his infected father, a fight he doesn't expect to survive. Subverted when he survives thanks to the arrival of the Green Lantern Corps.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A Good Day to Die focuses on a group of heroes consisting of Mr. Terrific, Big Barda, Mister Miracle, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and John Constantine. All but Constantine end up killed or infected.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Everyone on Earth is either dead or doomed, and the entirety of the surviving population couldn't be evacuated, but the survivors eventually resettle on a new planet and the virus enters a sleeping phase after Superman drains the sun.
  • Ret-Gone: Booster Gold fades from existence as the Anti-Life crisis wipes his future away.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Cyborg in the final issue decides to stay behind on Earth to seek answers from the now infected-Wonder Woman, partly due to his guilt from being the one to spread the virus in the first place. He ends up learning that he is also the source of the potential cure, but is quickly beheaded by Wonder Woman before he could act on it.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Although overall there is a "Ray of Hope" Ending as discussed above, the story ends this way for Cyborg. After Wonder Woman is infected, he uses the Lasso of Truth to speak to the Anti-Life Equation through her to find out whether there's a cure. Infected!Wonder Woman informs him that the virus is a binary construct, meaning that Cyborg himself contains the cure — and could have used it at any time had he known or tried, reversing every infection and making all the actual deaths throughout the series pointless. When Cyborg, horrified, tries to inform the fleeing Arks of this, Infected!Wonder Woman takes the opportunity to kill him.
  • Shout Out: Every issue of the series (including the additional one-shot A Good Day to Die) has a variant cover that pays homage to the poster for a well-known horror film:
  • Simultaneous Arcs: A Good Day to Die is a side-story that takes place during the main series. Near the end of the one-shot, Waverider uses his time powers to "see" that Superman has just found the Flash in Keystone City, an event that takes place early in Issue #4 of the main series.
  • So Proud of You:
    • Batman starts to tell Damian this before he fully succumbs to the Anti-Life infection. When he joins up with the other heroes later, Alfred makes clear that this is what Bruce felt about Damian, and that the deceased hero wishes he had told him that more often.
    • After Superman becomes infected, he tells his son Jonathan how proud he is of him before trying to kill himself in space.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • John Constantine is the only member of Mister Terrific's team of heroes to survive being killed or infected.
    • Mera seems to be the only Atlantean to avoid infection and boards an ark.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To Marvel Zombies and Injustice: Gods Among Us and others.
    • Just like Marvel Zombies, it is an Expendable Alternate Universe story of superheroes dealing with a Zombie Apocalypse. But instead of being a Black Comedy where zombifications make people amoral cannibals but let them retain their intelligence like Marvel Zombies, it plays off more like a traditional zombie story, with mindless hordes of undead and things being played for drama, not laughs.
    • When compared to Injustice it has a tendency to give heroic roles to characters who are evil or dead in that story, like Superman or Damian Wayne, while quickly killing off those who were crucial in the Injustice storyline including Joker, Catwoman and even Batman himself.
    • The arks with the survivors arrive at a new planet they name "Earth 2". The Earth 2 comics had the deaths of the DC Trinity and the death of planet Earth against Apokolips, and survivors evacuated on ships to settle on a new Earth, but played more as heroic Space Opera adventure. Earth 2 shared the same writer of DCeased and Injustice.
    • The infected Superman enters the sun to destroy it and Earth with it, not to restore the sun and save Earth; plus, the Unstoppable-Force Immovable-Object quote.
    • It's also something of an antithesis to Final Crisis. Both stories involve Darkseid discovering the Anti-Life Equation and unleashing it on Earth through technology, infecting both ordinary humans and superhumans alike. But where Final Crisis was ultimately an optimistic story about hope triumphing over despair and ended with the possessed being cured and Earth restored, DCeased is a much bleaker work which ends with Earth's inevitable destruction and many beloved characters irreversibly dead or corrupted (although it's not without a "Ray of Hope" Ending either).
  • Staking the Loved One: Once Batman becomes infected, he has Alfred stand by with his shotgun to put him down once he succumbs. Alfred is ultimately forced to do so.
  • Star Killing: Rather than trying to fight the entire Green Lantern Corps, the infected Superman chooses to fly into the sun and starts to absorb its energy. Ganthet notes that this will cause the entire solar system to go cold.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: An infected Captain Atom starts to go critical above Washington, D.C. Superman and Wonder Woman desperately try to fly him up into space before he goes off, but they're too late; Washington, Baltimore, and Metropolis are all destroyed in the ensuing explosion.
  • Take a Third Option: The Anti-Life Equation takes this approach in the final climax when Infected!Superman faces off against the entire Green Lantern Corps. The Equation is compelled to spread death and destruction, but is intelligent enough to realise that even Infected!Superman cannot defeat them all together — and so instead of fighting them, he instead flies into Earth's sun and begins to drain it, thus ensuring that it will destroy the solar system much sooner and eventually kill off everyone remaining there.
  • Take That!: Very subtle one. Issue #6 specifically has "432 Park Ave, New York City" as the ground zero where Infected!Superman starts slaughtering New York. That address is literally on the same block where Marvel Comics had their offices in the 1970s.
  • Take Up My Sword:
    • After Black Canary is forced to kill an infected Green Lantern to save herself and Green Arrow, his power ring chooses her to be its new wielder. Dinah isn't happy about this, but is urged by Superman to keep the ring to help with the impending crisis.
    • Batman gives Alfred a suitcase to deliver to Robin before he succumbs to the Equation. When Damian opens it, it's revealed to contain a Batman costume and various pieces of equipment, making it clear that Bruce wanted his son to take up his mantle.
    • In Issue #3, the aforementioned Gotham citizen who got eaten alive drops his shotgun, allowing Harley to pick it up and use it on zombified Joker and to fend off against the zombified Birds of Prey.
    • In issue #6 Wonder Woman gives the kryptonite sword to Dinah after she's mortally wounded by Superman.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Subverted in Issue #5 when the narrator suggests that Superman's Heroic Sacrifice might have succeeded if he hadn’t taken the time to say goodbye to his family.
  • Talking to the Dead: Before he leaves the Bat Cave, Alfred sadly apologizes to the corpses of Batman, Nightwing, and Red Robin for not being able to save them.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Before they learn about the Equation spreading, Harley Quinn is on her way to break up with the Joker while accompanied by Poison Ivy. Ivy declines to enter the Joker's hideout with Harley, reassuring her that she's more than strong enough to cut ties with him once and for all. Despite being caught off-guard by an infected Joker, Harley ultimately succeeds in killing him.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Despite the carnage taking place around him, Superman still tries to adhere to this, reasoning that the Anti-Life infection could potentially be cured. When clearing the Daily Planet building of the the infected, he's only seen moving them out to the street before blocking the entrance. He only traps an infected Jonathan Kent in the basement instead of hurting him, and he stops Wonder Woman from delivering a fatal blow to an infected Giganta. He's eventually forced to kill an infected Flash to keep the infection from spreading further, but only after Cyborg promises him that the Flash is well and truly dead.
    • Batman's plan for neutralizing Superman involved using kryptonite to synthesize gas that would slow him down. Wonder Woman explicitly notes that it (along with all of Batman's methods) wasn't intended to be lethal.
  • Threatening Shark: An infected Aquaman attacks Atlantis with a group of these, which helps to spread infected blood throughout the ocean.
  • Time Police: When Mister Terrific's group of heroes try to use a time machine to go back in time and change history, they're prevented from doing so by the appearance of Waverider, who forbids making changes to the timeline.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Cyborg turns his back on zombie Wonder Woman without neutralizing her or finishing her off, resulting in his death and the virus becoming unstoppable.
  • Uncertain Doom: In the final issue Harley and Ivy decide not to board the Ark and remain on Earth. While Ivy had managed to create a stronghold with her green, the fact that the Infected Superman ends up absorbing and destroying the sun means they likely won't be surviving much longer.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Directly referenced in the narration when Superman flies to confront an infected Flash and meets the speedster head on, letting him smash to pieces against his invulnerable body. Unfortunately, the impact is strong enough to embed some of the Flash's fingers in Superman's stomach, infecting him.
    Narrator: That day, we found out what happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object......they merge.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Darkseid successfully extracted the missing half of the Anti-Life Equation from Cyborg's internal Mother Box and combined it with his own, but using the Black Racer's essence in the process caused the Equation to become corrupt and change into The Plague that proceeds to threaten Earth. Darkseid himself promptly becomes the first to be infected, leading to him unintentionally destroying all of Apokalips.
  • Wham Line: From Issue #6: "The cure is in you."
  • Wolverine Publicity: Batman is featured prominently on the covers of the first three issues of the series, leaving the impression that he was going to be the main character of the event. He's actually one of the first heroes to fall.
  • X-Ray Vision: Superman reveals that he's kept his eyes set on X-Ray Vision since learning how the Equation spreads. If he can't see what's on digital screens, the Equation can't infect him visually like it has so many others.
  • Zerg Rush: Since the infected don't demonstrate a high intellect, this is their primary tactic. Considering how many there are, it's usually enough. This is how Aquaman is infected.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: If the title was not enough of an indication, the infected have plenty of similarities to traditional and non-traditional zombies, and they overwhelm the world.

     DCeased: The Unkillables 
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Jason is visibly annoyed when Gordon refers to him as "Robin" when introducing him to a bunch of kids, but Cassandra can't help but smirk.
  • And Show It to You: A rare self-inflicted version. Lady Shiva rips out her own heart to keep herself from becoming infected.
  • Anyone Can Die: Follows the main book's footsteps as Bane, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Vandal Savage, and Deadshot all die in Issue #2. Billy Batson is revealed to be one of the infected people imprisoned inside the locked room. Followed by the rest of the villains in the final issue, leaving Jason, Rose, Gordon, Cassandra and the kids as survivors.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People:
    • The surviving villains (Deathstroke, Ravager, Lady Shiva, Cheetah, The Creeper, Bane, Deadshot, and Solomon Grundy) went from having an uneasy truce with the heroes to willing to bond and teach kids how to survive and fight.
    • Most notably Deathstroke and Lady Shiva were able to finally make peace with their respective daughters before their dying moments.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Turns out Mary Marvel is one of the kids in the orphanage, and she was able to fight off Wonder Woman long enough to throw her off and lift the bus to Ivy's garden.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jason, Rose, Gordon, Cassandra, and most of the kids were able to make it to Ivy's garden. But all of the villains sacrificed their lives in order to make it to the garden. If it weren't for Mary Marvel's bravery, they would have all died in Wonder Woman's hands.
  • Call-Back: To the first series:
    • Jason Todd finds the bodies of Batman, Nightwing, and Red Robin left in the Batcave by Alfred.
    • He later finds the Joker's corpse where Harley Quinn killed him.
    • Todd, Cassandra Cain, and James Gordon find the corpses of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), Catwoman, Huntress, and Batwoman where Poison Ivy left them.
    • The group picks up Lois Lane's radio broadcast calling survivors to the sanctuaries and arks.
    • The arks are shown leaving.
    • Zombie Wonder Woman.
    • Turns out all the magic users from the A Good Day to Die one-shot, including John Constantine who was the Sole Survivor of his group, regrouped to join Ivy's sanctuary.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: It turns out the narrator of the story is one of the orphaned children taken in by group. Their identity is revealed to be Mary Marvel, who manages to fight off the Zombiefied Wonder Woman in the final issue.
  • Chekhov's Skill: All the lessons from Cassandra and Lady Shiva became helpful when Mary Marvel used it to defend and throw Wonder Woman away, giving her enough time to lift the bus to safety.
  • Child Soldiers: Discussed. Deathstroke is more than willing to train the kids to be this. While the others argue against this, he counters that this is the only way to raise their chances of living and not to be a burden.
  • Deserted Island: Vandal Savage amasses a group of villains in an undiscovered island and invites Deathstroke and Rose to join them there. The undead Wonder Woman eventually finds the lair and destroys it.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • When Jason finds Bruce, Tim, and Dick's bodies, he takes the time to bury them in the cave and give at least Bruce a fitting grave marker.
    • Statues dedicated to the fallen villains are shown in the last chapter.
  • Family of Choice: Much to their own surprise, the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that the story focuses managed to develop a familial bond with one-another and the children they end up protecting.
  • Foreshadowing: When Jason, Cassandra, and Gordon first arrive at the orphanage, the kids there explain that a superheroine appeared, barricaded the infected inside of a room where they couldn't escape, and brought the kids supplies before vanishing, and that they don't know what happened to her. It's eventually revealed that she never left; one of the kids, Mary, is actually Mary Marvel.
    • The above is also foreshadowed when Jason recognizes one of the imprisoned infected is Billy Batson.
    • Easy to miss amidst everything else, Mary is wearing a red shirt like Billy's.
  • Friend to All Children: The villains gradually develop bonds with the kids as they teach them how to survive. Deadshot and Cheetah are more obvious with this. Deadshot got killed while saving a kid from Mirror Master.
  • From Bad to Worse: An undead Mirror Master was able to infiltrate the orphanage, kill Deadshot and turn Bane into an undead. Bane runs through the walls and was able to create a hole for the undead outside to enter, creating a hopeless situation to the survivors.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • Vandal Savage gets torn apart by an undead Wonder Woman.
    • The undead Wonder Woman did this to The Creeper, Solomon Grundy, and Deathstroke. She particularly bashed herself into Deathstroke so he won't be able to regenerate.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Oh boy, Shiva risked her life to save Cassandra and got infected, making her tear out her heart. Cheetah, The Creeper, Solomon Grundy and Deathstroke did their best to slow down the undead Wonder Woman and the horde to let the others escape.
  • Honorary True Companion: Jason is able to track down Cassandra and later Jim Gordon in the Batmobile due to the fact that the radar is synced to all of the Bat Family's pulses. While Jim considers this to be an invasion of privacy, Jason states that this was Bruce's way of saying he considers Jim one of the family.
  • I Choose to Stay: Cassandra, Jason and Gordon receive Lois' warning about the impending evacuation on the Arks; while the former two consider the option, Gordon points out that the three of them might make it to Gotham, but they'd never make it with all the kids in tow.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Subverted and Played for Laughs; Deathstroke warns Jason about ever hurting Rose... but it's because Rose can see the future, and he warns that if she finds out Jason is going to hurt her, she'll kill him.
  • The Immune: Turns out anyone with a Healing Factor will be able to survive the corruption and can return to normal after a while, as Deathstroke found out a day after his infection.
  • In the Back: How Mirror Master and Bane met their end.
  • It Can Think: Continues from the previous series.
    • Just like she did to Cyborg, anyone immune to the infection (Creeper, Grundy, Deathstroke) Zombie Wonder Woman just rips apart. Killing Vandal Savage and Cheetah instead of infecting them implies that Undead Diana still has some of her memories and killed them in hatred.
    • Undead Mirror Master uses hit-and-run attacks.
    • After becoming corrupted, instead of immediately attacking the others, Bane breaks open the barriers first to let the undead hordes enter.
  • Last Disrespects: Jason Todd ties the Joker's dead body to the front of the Batmobile before he, Cassandra, and Gordon leave Gotham. Gordon points out how disturbing this action is, but Jason doesn't care.
  • Legacy Character: We see that Cassandra Cain became Batgirl after Barbara Gordon, complete with her original all-black attire with full face cowl.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The story follows characters who weren't shown in the main books struggling to survive while discovering the fallout of the heroes' actions in the main books.
  • Mama Bear: Cheetah especially becomes this for one girl named Matilda.
  • Mercy Kill: When Harvey Bullock becomes infected, he begs Gordon to kill him before he fully turns. Cassandra promptly breaks his neck. Also done to the trapped infected in the orphanage.
  • Metaphorgotten: Played for Laughs; Vandal Savage uses the survival of a thought-to-be-extinct species of tree lobster as a metaphor for himself and his group of survivors. The Creeper immediately starts treating "The Tree Lobsters" as a sort of team name, complete with t-shirts, pendants, baseball caps, and a theme song.
  • Mistaken for Undead:
    • Played for Black Comedy when Rose Wilson thinks her father has turned and stabs him in the shoulder:
    Slade: Ow. @#$%!!!
    Rose: I don't think the undead say "ow." Or "@#$%."
    Slade: No. Could you take the sword out of me, please?
    • Played straight when the first child sees Grundy and understandably mistakes him for an infected undead.
  • Narrator All Along: Issue 3 reveals that the narrator for the story was Mary Marvel, who hid herself in fear of letting the zombies take hold of the Power of Shazam after Billy Batson fell.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Played for Black Comedy when Jason tells a group of children that he, Gordon, and Cassandra are the good guys; Gordon quietly tells him that he may want to remove the corpse of the psychotic clown from the hood of their car.
  • Oh, Crap!: Vandal Savage just before getting cleaved in half by an Undead Wonder Woman
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Commissioner Gordon is heartbroken when he confirms the infection and death of Barbara (killed by Poison Ivy in the main series). Deathstroke was able to get through Jim by referencing his kids' deaths too. Thanks to this, they risked their lives many times in order to save the kids in the last issue.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
    • Jason is not happy to discover that someone else killed the Joker, angrily stating that he should have been the one to do so.
    • Cheetah wants to be the one to kill the Undead Wonder Woman but is ordered to evacuate with the others. She tried again after they have to escape but she was easily killed by the latter.
  • Portal Cut: Deadshot's legs were cut when the mirror he was dragged into was broken by Gordon.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Deathstroke's reaction at seeing a man run away from his target site with a pair of clearly broken legs.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The main group presented here is an assortment of a former Police Commissioner, a hero, a couple of anti heroes, and some assassins and villains all having to take care of a large group of orphans. And yet they're able to function rather well as a unit.
  • Reality Ensues: One of the reasons why Cheetah has been able to fight Wonder Woman for so long is because Diana always held herself back. When Cheetah goes to fight an Undead Wonder Woman with the help of Creeper and Solomon Grundy, they are quickly dispatched. Mary Marvel is able to fight her off, but she acknowledges that, without the training she received from Cassandra and Lady Shiva, even the powers of Shazam would have hardly mattered against Diana.
  • Required Secondary Power: Darkly averted in the final issue while Deathstroke and Creeper's healing factors makes them immune to the Anti-Life Equation. With that said, their healing factors does not make them immortal, meaning they just as susceptible to any limb or organ loss. They both meet their ends to rampaging Zombie Wonder Woman.
  • Shipper on Deck: Deathstroke offhandedly encourages Rose and Jason to hook up, given that there's so little good left in the world. He even warns Jason not to hurt her in anyway just before he got taken out by Wonder Woman.
  • Shout Out: The variant posters released for Unkillables are shout outs to movie posters. For example, the cover for Red Hood is a pretty clear homage to the poster for the 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Downplayed; Gordon isn't happy to discover that Batman was monitoring his location at all times. Jason acknowledges that it was a violation of Gordon's trust and a Jerkass thing for Batman to do, but insists that Bruce did so because he saw Gordon as family.
  • Take That!: The internet and social media are convenient tools used by Neo-Nazis, and so they're infected and slaughtered just the same as everyone else.
  • Tempting Fate: Vandal Savage explains to Lady Shiva that Mirror Master is the key player and an asset in order to escape the virus. He's one of the first ones to go.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Mary Marvel, thanks to Cassandra Cain and Lady Shiva's training, is able to beat an undead Wonder Woman

     DCeased: Hope at World's End 
  • Butt-Monkey: Kite Man. He becomes infected and tries to attack the Invisible Jet...only to kill himself by slamming into it like a bug on a windshield, with Damian, Jon and Cassie laughing about it. Even in death he's a joke.
  • Eyepatch of Power: At some point in time after the initial outbreak, Jimmy somehow lost his eye.
  • From Bad to Worse: An Army of Anti-Life using their powers to enter the fortress, kill a few people in Jotunheim, bad. Worse, Black Adam sending the mountain fortress tumbling down towards his army only to be barely caught by Wonder Woman...with Black Adam ready to face her down.
  • Go Out with a Smile: How Max Mercury goes out - Wally sends an infected Max into the Speed Force and the last thing he does is smile at him before he leaves..
  • Interquel: The series is primarily set during the Time Skip from Issue #5 of the original series and helps to explain what happened to characters not spotlighted there.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: When facing the crisis of the Infected, Black Adam kills them and even those uninfected near them as saving them would waste precious time. While honestly horrifying, his actions did stop the spread making his home a safe haven. Though Black Adam admits he shows some regret in having to kill his people.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Black Adam refuses to work with the surviving heroes pointing out they don't have the ruthlessness necessary to invoke I Did What I Had to Do like he did in the name of stopping the Anti-Living. While heavy handed and condescending, his point that Superman could wipe out a lot of the Anti-living and make the world a lot safer in the process is completely valid. It’s also pointed out that many of Superman's allies are willing to use lethal force against the undead, making his refusal to do so stand out.
  • Just the First Citizen: Black Adam has utter control over his home Kahndaq. Oddly, it's because of being a dictator he was able to shut down the spread of Anti-Life with but a flick of a switch. Cutting off the internet.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Perry White was about to praise Jimmy's photography just as he saw the Anti-Life Equation on his monitor, infecting him.
  • Mythology Gag: The photos Jimmy was developing include Green Arrow and Black-Canary-turned-Green-Lantern, Jamie Reyes' Blue Beetle, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, Krypto the Superdog using his heat vision on some of the infected, Wonder Woman stealing one of Martian Manhunter's Oreos, and Robin (Stephanie Brown) dressing Damian in a comically oversized Batsuit while Jon gave him bunny ears in the background of the shot.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After being absolutely merciless in order to prevent the infection from spreading to his land, the moment Black Adam chose to show empathy to his people lead to him being struck and turned by an infected.
  • No-Sell: Wink teleports Black Adam of all people into a mountain in hopes of topping and possibly killing him. He bursts out in no time.
  • Perspective Flip: What Black Adam does by turning himself normal, to see how his people feel after protecting but killing his citizens. Even pondering if he should let the heroes like Superman aid his home. Shame it also caused him to be vulnerable and soon infected at the last moment.
  • Oh, Crap!: Recall Unkillables where Mary Marvel, the new Shazam, was utterly terrified about the damage she could cause if she were infected? Well, we get a view of that with Black Adam himself getting infected. Needless to say, that isn't good. Issue 4 continues this as Wink and Avry are in a panic as Adam leads an army of undead towards them.
  • Skewed Priorities: As everyone around him became infected, Jimmy took the opportunity to catch a photo using his camera. Played with in that he quickly used this photo to realize that it was people's phones that were infecting everyone, causing him to throw one of the survivor's phones out the window of the Daily Planet when she tried to call her family.
  • Taking Up the Mantle:
    • Damian, after hesitation and advice from Superman, finally takes up Bruce's mantle as the new Batman. As stated by the story itself, a good thing too considering what's coming.
    • Stephanie Brown is revealed to be alive and well, hiding out in the Batcave in Issue #5. Seeing that Damian has taken up the mantle of Batman, Stephanie decides to take it upon herself to reclaim the role of Robin so that he'll have a partner who can watchout for him.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: As in the main series, Superman is not using lethal force against the Anti-Living presumably because of the chance a cure could be found. Black Adam calls him out on this by angrily pointing that Superman could put a massive dent in the number of Anti-Living and make the rest of the world a lot safer but he will never do it.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Superman. In Issue 2 he tries to talk Black Adam into letting outsiders into the relative safe haven of Kahndaq, when Black Adam refuses on the grounds that the heroes (Superman in particular) lack the willingness to use Necessary Evil tactics which he sees as needed in this crisis ,Superman comments that he knows Black Adam is making this choice with the wisdom of a god but appeals to him to think on the issue with the heart of a man. The narrator notes that Superman's words got to Adam, prompting him to turn into his normal form and walk among the normal people to see what they think of the situation. It's only because he was in his normal form that an infected child managed to scratch him and create a supremely dangerous Anti-living threat.
  • Wham Line: The first issue ends on one from Jimmy:
    Jimmy Olsen: But I want everyone to remember the heroes who fought for the living, after tomorrow. Tomorrow could be their last day. Tomorrow the greatest heroes left on Earth try to halt the Anti-Life army.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Issue 3 explains what happened to speedsters like Wally West, Bart Allen, Max Mercury, and Jessie Quick. After saving the survivors in Keystone City by using the Cosmic Treadmill to bring them to another world, the strain became so great that the speedsters ended up trapped on the alternate world with the busted Cosmic Treadmill. Max, who got infected rescuing an injured Bart, becomes one with the Speed Force before he could turn.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In issue 4, Superman convinces Damian to take up the Mantle of the Bat this way, helping him work through his major fear that, by donning the costume, it means Bruce truly is gone.

    DCeased: Dead Planet 
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Justice League make short work of the alien invaders moving in on Earth-2. Jon makes a point that they could have really flattened them, but they wanted peace, not to kill the aliens.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Constantine spends his free time drinking, usually with only a box full of Chas's ashes for company.
  • From Bad to Worse: The opening issue ends this way; what started as a simple rescue mission to retrieve Cyborg and get out quickly spirals the minute the Zombie Wonder Woman shows up. She destroys the escape ship, kills and infects Green Arrow, and Jon ends up taking a kryptonite sword through the shoulder from an enranged Black Canary when he tries protecting Wonder Woman after learning that there's still possibly a cure.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Almost all of the heroes silently react this way when being told that there's a cure for the infection, so it was possible to save all of the infected that they've killed.
  • Not Quite Dead: The first issue reveals that Cyborg, thought to be dead after Wonder Woman ripped his head off, is still alive.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Played for Laughs; when Swamp Thing comes to Constantine for help, he gets fed up with John's attitude and yells at him to "shut the @#$% up." All of the magic users are stunned to hear him actually swear.
    Zatanna: That's new.
    John Constantine: Yeah. Kinda proud a' that.
  • Orifice Invasion: The undead Plastic Man kills Zatanna and Blue Devil by forcing his way into their bodies: Zatanna has her lungs filled with him while also getting stabbed in the eyes, while Blue Devil has his eyes and brain forcibly pushed through his head.
  • Survivor Guilt: The first issue opens by discussing Constantine's as he drinks in a bar and remembers the friends and heroes he's seen die.
  • Tentacled Terror: The giant, infected Plastic Man.
  • That's No Moon!: When members of the Shadowpact go to Australia with Swamp Thing to investigate the second garden he's discovered, they find a bunker surrounded by hellfire, a moat made of blood, and thousands of infected trying to get in. The blood moat turns out to be an infected, giant-sized Plastic Man.
  • Time Skip: The series takes place five years after the events of the first miniseries.


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