As if there wasn’t enough to worry about on the streets of Gotham City, add a crew of undead super-villains to the list.
Earlier this year in Infinite Frontier #0, an attack on Arkham Asylum—known as “A-Day”—claimed the lives of a number of members of Batman’s rogues gallery. But with crisis comes opportunity.
In the new series Task Force Z, from writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Eddy Barrows, a mysterious benefactor assembles a new Task Force—think the Suicide Squad, but with resurrected villains instead of incarcerated ones. The team includes Bane, Man-Bat, the Arkham Knight, Sundowner and Mr. Bloom, with Red Hood recruited to lead. He’s something of a natural fit, given Jason Todd’s colorful history with death and resurrection.
With issue #1 now on sale, DC Nation spoke with Rosenberg about the influences of the series, collaborating with Barrows, what makes Red Hood the right fit for this unconventional group, and the joy of writing a giant zombie bat monster.
What was some undead horror inspiration you delved into before writing this series?
Matthew Rosenberg: I’ve always been a huge fan of zombie movies! Obviously, filmmakers like George A. Romero and Lucio Fulci were extremely influential. However, I also love when a movie can totally upend everything we know about the genre. Stuff like Cemetery Man, Train To Busan, Shaun of the Dead, Girl with All The Gifts, 28 Days Later, Rabid, Rec, so many more.
Eddy Barrows looks like he’s having way too much fun drawing this book…any chance he’s some sort of undead art zombie?
Eddy was born to draw stuff like this. He’s making one of the most beautiful and horrific comics I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how he does it. He’s channeling everything from Bernie Wrightson to Jack Davis in the most beautiful ways.
Red Hood has had a…let’s call it “weird” relationship with death over the years. How does his past inform how he leads a team of dead villains?
Jason’s history is something that both informs everything he does and something he has trouble coming to terms with. He’s probably the ideal candidate to lead the team, as he knows how dark and painful resurrection can be. He has also gained the perspective to see that he now needs to earn his redemption. However, he’s also not someone who has a lot of compassion for the wicked…or himself. Leading this team will be a struggle and a journey for him.
Can you tease a particular scene that’s going to creep out fans?
The last page of the first issue when Jason finds out what his team are really capable of. In a lot of ways, this book is a battle of wills between the human and the monstrous sides and which will capture the soul of the team and the team members themselves. That last page shows us that it might not be the human side that comes out on top.
Which Task Force Z member is surprisingly the most fun to write and why?
Man-Bat. I guess that’s not really that surprising. He’s a giant zombie bat monster. That’s as fun as it gets in comics!
How would you describe this book in one word that starts with the letter Z?
“Zugzwang.” It sums up Jason’s whole arc in this series perfectly.
Task Force Z #1 by Matthew Rosenberg, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Adriano Lucas, and Rob Leigh is available now in print and as a digital comic book. For a sneak peek at the issue, visit the DC Community.