You’ve seen all the clues. You’ve heard the testimony and eavesdropped on the secret confessions of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes. Now, with the killer revealed, it’s time to find out why. What could have driven a hero to the brink, to turn a savior into a murderer? Rifts will form between old allies, and the trinity of Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman will have their leadership challenged and will question their own judgment. Sanctuary has become something they never imagined…and it’s still potentially carrying on without them!
Heroes in Crisis #8 will light up comic fandom with the reveal as to who the murderer is and what happened in Sanctuary. For seven issues there’s been hints and nods as to who was behind it all and now we know the truth.
Without spoiling the reveal, writer Tom King has taken a hero and sullied them in a way that hearkens back to the grim and gritty days of comics of the past which is not necessarily a good thing. The reveal, as presented, feels more like an odd stunt and choice based on this character’s recent history. There’s some logic there but there’s so much “why” surrounding it all, hopefully to be explored later.
But, where King both succeeds and fails is in the “why” of the action. Heroes in Crisis is supposed to be about heroes dealing with post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. There are echoes here of real life heroes who have snapped in a blind accident hurting others or even killing others or themselves. It’s a real world problem and could have been an amazing exploration. But, the reveal is fumbled with lots of elements that are a bit too “comicbooky.”
Instead of keeping the story simple that this person snaps we get things dealing with their powers that put them over the line and in a way causes them to snap. It goes from a hero with PTSD who has a horrible accident to a hero who becomes a murderer. The sympathy isn’t present. The empathy isn’t there. It feels like shock for shock’s sake.
Art duties by Mitch Gerads and Travis Moore, with coloring by Gerads and lettering by Clayton Cowles, is fantastic as expected. There’s a simplicity to it all as the “how” of the murders is explained and the focus remains on the murderer himself. It’s a clear choice as he goes through how everything was done and what made him snap.
The issue is one that I both love and hate. There’s so much right and so much wrong at the same time. This will easily be the most controversial superhero comic of the year and folks will be up in arms. Unfortunately, that emotion is what stands out most of the issue. For a series about PTSD it has been hit and miss as far as connecting emotionally with those hurting and this issue is a prime example of that flaw.
Story: Tom King Art: Mitch Gerads, Travis Moore
Color: Mitch Gerads Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.15 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review