The Countdown to Task Force Z pits Red Hood and Gotham’s best answer for Lois Lane against a shadowy crime spree that could involve zombies.
Warning: contains spoilers for Detective Comics #1036
In order to take down a plague of zombies in Gotham, the Red Hood will team with Batman’s version of Lois Lane. Countdown to Task Force Z promises to provide a mystery like Gotham has never experienced before.
The city of Gotham is in a delicate state of rebuilding following the Joker War. As Mayor Nakano and the GCPD dig in with anti-vigilante policies, the criminal underground and mob jockey for power, and the Bat-Family adjusts to the new status quo. Bruce Wayne has relocated to an affluent Gotham suburb and is acclimating to having neighbors. One of which is Deb Donovan, a reporter for the Gotham Gazette that Bruce considers the last decent reporter in the city. After Batman finds the dead body of another one of their neighbors, Sarah Worth, later in the evening Bruce Wayne encounters the woman outside his home, seemingly a zombie risen from the grave. Although there was an explanation for that “undead” encounter, it would appear Gotham has not completely escaped the threat of the macabre.
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Deb Donavan’s investigations will draw her into a mystery that will see her partner with the Red Hood amidst bodies vanishing in morgues and shady criminal activity. Solicitations for parts one and two of Countdown to Task Force Z, the backup stories by Matthew Rosenberg and Darick Robertson, found in Detective Comics #1041 and #1042, teases the beginning of a redemption arc for Jason Todd that ties into the missing bodies, Deb Donavan, and Task Force Z. In Future State: Suicide Squad #1, the Amanda Waller of a future timeline designated Earth-3’s Crime Syndicate as Task Force Z. The case the Red Hood and Deb Donovan are pursuing in the present day is likely to be connected in some manner. If that wasn’t enough, the body of Bane is also going to come into play. Bane had been missing and presumed dead since A-Day, but it appears whatever is behind the vanishing corpses has connections to Bane’s disappearance as well.
Although Deb Donovan may not have strong feelings towards Bruce Wayne, Batman appears to be open to using their relationship as neighbors to provide him with much-needed support and intelligence, as the Mayor and police are against him. It remains to be seen if the “Lois Lane of Gotham” will cozy up to her city’s caped hero as the real Lois has done in Metropolis, but the fact that Batman will seek to silence Donovan’s reporting in Countdown to Task Force Z doesn’t suggest they’ll be fast friends initially. Red Hood understands having issues with Batman and this could be where the reporter and vigilante-turned criminal-turned outlaw may find some common ground.
While Gotham’s last “zombie” sighting was actually Lady Clayface, something is happening to bodies in the morgues of the city. The fact that someone as dangerous as Bane may be a pawn, or even a mastermind, in this mysterious scheme is highly alarming. The Red Hood and Deb Donovan need to tread carefully. Detective Comics #1041 is on sale August 10th and Detective Comics #1042 is on sale August 24th.
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