What is Tom King doing to the DC Universe and to comic readers? King is an absolutely brilliant writer. I’ve said it many times, he keeps getting better and better with each comic he puts out. While he’s doing amazing things in the main Batman comic, he manages to cram each issue with a wide range of emotions. His new comic venture is the latest “crisis” in the DCU. Whenever that word appears in a DC title, you know there are going to be some horrible things happening.
We’ve been hearing whispers of a place called Sanctuary in recent comics. The idea is, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have built a safe place for heroes (and possibly villains) to recover from the heavy and traumatic moments that occur in their dangerous lives. With cutting edge technology from Superman, Batman built Sanctuary, adding in compassion from Wonder Woman. It’s a place to help and heal those in need. So what happens when Sanctuary is attacked?
You can read about how King came up with the idea, based on personal events, here.
One of the great things about Heroes In Crisis #1 is we’re thrown right into the middle of the story. Sanctuary is located in the middle of the midwest in rural Nebraska. We see Booster Gold calmly eating at a small diner when Harley Quinn shows up. She looks like she’s been through a heck of a fight, and it’s not real clear what her intentions are at the diner. We get flashbacks to an interview process with Booster, Harley, and others, so we can assume Sanctuary is the connection here.
While an inevitable fight between Booster and Harley breaks out at the diner, we see the horrific results of a brutal attack on Sanctuary. There are several bodies. What was supposed to be a safe haven has become a place of death. What’s shocking is when you see who some of the victims are. You want to immediately believe it’s a trick or a stunt. Often when comic book characters die, we don’t actually see the body. That isn’t the case here as the bodies are clearly laid out. With DC’s Trinity coming upon the scene and “confirming” the deaths, there is no reason to doubt these characters have met their end.
Comic book deaths aren’t new and are rarely surprising these days. It does feel different here. Perhaps it feels less like a stunt because he don’t see a heroic sacrifice (that sometimes feels like a stunt) that resulted in the death. This feels more like a tragedy. It’s a shame and feels like a waste. That’s how death can feel. You sometimes think about the wasted potential when a life is unnecessarily brought to an end. We don’t immediately know who the killer is or why this happened. That makes it more dismal. As Batman puts it, “Our hope for…redemption…is now just another hunt for vengeance.”
But wait until you see the final pages…
King’s script and writing are top notch, as always. The devastating story is delivered with absolutely gorgeous art and color by Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey. The story is completely riveting, but you’ll find yourself pausing to take in and admire the art. The detail and character designs are fantastic, and there are moments you can feel the emotions oozing from them within the panels.
Heroes In Crisis #1 is a stellar start to a horrendous incident. It’s always unfortunate when comic books tell stories of dark and dreadful moments. It can help to make the characters feel more human and allow readers to connect with them. It is hard to even try to think about what the next issue will bring. I’m still trying to get over everything that occurred. This is a comic you won’t want to miss. I love reading stories written by Tom King, even if they often feel like a massive punch to the gut.