Admittedly, I am fairly sure having a bunch of Batman villains being used as undead cannibal monsters to fight crime in order to keep themselves running is a neat twist on the old Suicide Squad concept. That doesn’t mean this series is good, but I did like the first issue. It was good and creepy and mysterious.
What about the second?
Issue: Task Force Z #2, November 2021
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira
The Plot: Jason Todd’s search for the source of the Lazarus Resin gets him some new and equally unreliable allies.
Commentary: There’s still a lot of mystery here, but the focus seems to be that, push comes to shove, Jason Todd can’t trust a single, solitary person with him. If anything, the zombified Bane, Man-Bat, and Arkham Knight are the least problematic as at least he knows what their deals are. The bigger issues are Mr. Bloom, a fellow who always conveniently disappears when Jason seems to need his help the most, and whoever is running the show. The people Jason sees and interacts with are apathetic at best over what they do, eating while Bane and Man-Bat are regrowing whatever parts they lost in the first issue’s raid because, apparently, as long as their heads are intact, the bodies will grow back with sufficient Lazarus Resin pumped into their system, a process that is apparently very painful as Bane is trying to scream without vocal cords.
And pump enough of the stuff in, and the undead seem almost alive, as Arkham Knight looks almost human and is conscientious enough to apologize to Jason for trying to eat him at the beginning of the issue.
So, while the zombies are maybe someone Jason can deal with when they’re not low on Lazarus Resin (and Man-Bat seems to be pretty unreliable no matter how much is in his system), it doesn’t help when the people in charge don’t tell him anything and Bloom disappears as soon as a fight breaks out to do whatever it is he’s there to do without telling Jason. That lack of information extends to the team’s newest member, a woman who seems harmless enough as long as there’s a light on. Turn the light off, and she becomes the murderous Sundowner, a really freaky thing that seems to just scream and murder things.
No one told Jason about that until he turned the lights off in the middle of a mission.
The issue ends with what looks like the strong possibility Jason could die again. Turning Jason into a zombie or even revealing he already is one and doesn’t know it might make a good twist, but I don’t think it will happen this early. Then again, someone is pulling the strings behind the scenes, and they aren’t the most trustworthy of people. Heck, Amanda Waller would have the courtesy of manipulating you to your face…