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Review: Heroes in Crisis #1

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“I’m Just Warming Up”

Writer: Tom King

Artists: Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey

(Spoilers ahead) 

Heroes in Crisis #1 introduces us to a story from Tom King that asks “How does a superhero handle PTSD?” On the surface, this is another “DC Comics event” that plans on turning the DCU upside down. When you dig deeper, this story reflects stories that are all too familiar to us in 2018. The DC Trinity—Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman—have setup a secret hospital, called Sanctuary, for superheroes who’ve been traumatized one way or another. And much like places with think of as safe havens—hospitals, schools, religious buildings, etc.—Sanctuary becomes the scene of a mass murder.

The first issue of Heroes in Crisis sets up this next big DC event for the next several months—who is responsible for the mass murder at Sanctuary? Assuming that King’s story is truly going to take cues from real life tragedies, there’s a good chance we’ll find out soon. It will be about why did this person commit these heinous crimes? How will members of the DC Universe deal with the fallout? Will the society of the DC Universe come out better on the other end of Heroes in Crisis? Or will it mimic real life—where there is back and forth about gun laws and, ultimately, nothing changes?


Without spoiling too much, Heroes in Crisis #1 mainly tells the story in the present; but does use flashbacks to great success for fleshing out some of the heroes who stay at Sanctuary and Sanctuary itself. DC’s Trinity—Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman—also get to see first hand what happened at the facility the setup to help heroes. While I tend to always lean towards Batman on the Superman to Batman meter, King has found a story to tell that makes Superman not so super. Superman acts as a conduit for the reader—if you’re like me, after every mass shooting, you grasp for the why and can’t understand it. Superman, whose main weakness is rock from his home planet, can’t figure out why someone would do something like wipe out all the heroes at Sanctuary. Heroes in Crisis doesn’t use kryptonite to exploit Superman; it uses his other weakness—humanity.

I’m love for King’s writing isn’t a secret. The only arc I’ve ever been sour on was his Batman arc with Booster Gold; which I’ve gone on record as saying that it could be my lack of knowledge on Booster. However, King handles the hero with class in Heroes in Crisis #1. This story, which I suspect may not represent Booster Gold as he’s normally depicted, has made me want to go in a deep dive on the character. I also can’t get over Harley’s arc—I almost cried in her confessional panels.


Speaking of those confessional panels, the facial expressions Harley has in each one tells a story. Clay Mann brings his absolute best to this issue. And it continues throughout the issue. Mann does a great job with each character, but not since Batman The Animated Series have I seen a Harley Quinn I liked more. Every single page she’s on is a scene stealer. Mann’s work on Booster’s confessional panels must be mentioned too—I love how Harley and Booster almost bookend the issue with those scenes. It’s emotional and the art sells the hell out of it.


I have to admit, on my first read through of Heroes in Crisis #1, I wasn’t a huge fan. However, I always read comics at least twice—usually three or four times if I’m reviewing it. And after my second pass, it hit me. As I wrote my review, which I originally scored a 9, I realized how much I actually loved this story—from King’s words to Mann’s art and to Tomeu Morey’s colors. Sometimes, comics are pure popcorn; meant to forget real life. Other times, they are Heroes in Crisis and link up with real life in such a way you want to help change the world.

Score: 10/10

Images courtesy of DC Entertainment

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Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr
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