The idea of the super powered community dealing with the after-effects of their lives is an interesting premise. One has to look around today, with mental illness finally being talked about openly, and then consider how that would apply to, say, a character like Jason Todd. How does he deal with being savagely murdered, coming back, and being occasionally ostracized by his male role model? How would any person deal with physical, mental, and emotional trauma that would cripple ANYONE who wasn’t also a super hero?
Superstar writer Tom King is presenting a story that examines just that, and additionally introduces a murder mystery into the fray.
Heroes in Crisis #1 features incredible artwork by the team of Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey in addition to a killer script by King, impactful lettering by the sublime Clayton Cowles, and a sea of variant covers that will make your jaw drop. It’s a very auspicious start to a story that seems like it will be pushing readers out of their comfort zone, something that Identity Crisis did very well back in the day.
The pacing in this book is trademark Tom King: alternatingly frenetic and slow burn, this book keeps readers’ attention with a frenzied race to the end, introducing two different groups with two different purposes. We have DC’s Trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, rushing to find out that Sanctuary has been assaulted. We also have Booster Gold and Harley Quinn going from pie in a diner to stabbing in the troposphere.
Clay Mann’s work here is incredible, especially with Booster and Harley – they display a wide range of emotions in this first issue, leaving everything out in the open. The quiet moments in the diner are resonant, just as their fighting is chaotic. You have to give it to color artist Morey for capturing each scene beautifully, carefully crafting a desolate outpost for Sanctuary and for utilizing the brightness of the costumes. It was nice to see such vibrant colors despite the weight of the story.
I alluded to Identity Crisis earlier, and I feel it’s an apt comparison: that book shook the foundations of the DC Universe, presenting a strange grimy realism to a world populated by shape-changing Martians and fishnet-clad sorceresses. Yes, some of what unfurled in that book grated on the exposed nerves of fans, but it still connected to the fears and emotional hotspots of the readers, just like Heroes in Crisis looks like it’s about to do.
King and crew present a thought-provoking (and gut-punching) first issue, producing a book that just may live up to the hype. The depth of the subject matter is a bit heavy, but this a great setup that I really recommend checking out.
(Also, my fan theory is that all those folks aren’t really dead, per se, but basically being “eliminated” so they can do a super hero version of Witness Protection...)