Heroes In Crisis #1 is written by Tom King with artwork by Clay Mann and colours by Tomeu Morey.
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There’s a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by C.I.A.-operative-turned-comics-writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD? Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who’ve been traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up dead, with two well-known operators as the prime suspects: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold! It’s up to the DC Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to investigate—but can they get the job done in the face of overwhelming opposition?
Crisis is a strong word to use in the DC Universe. It comes with all sorts of emotional baggage for readers and heroes alike. Heroes In Crisis has been building for some time quietly throwing in references to Sanctuary.
Now the event is here and it’s time to hang on to the edge of your seats. Issue #1 lays the groundwork for what’s to come over the course of the next nine issues. There’s some subtle manipulation of the time frame of the series as it jumps between flashback confessionals in Sanctuary to the present day crisis event. But all the elements work well.
Tom King has setup a genuine mystery here. Throughout the book I felt like I was being pushed to think a certain way about the characters only to have the rug pulled out from under me at the issues conclusion. That is always a pleasure particularly when reading well established characters such as these.
Pairing Harley Quinn and Booster Gold is genius. On the one hand you have the lovable Harley who we’ve known for years. As readers we feel we know what to expect from her character. She’s someone we’re comfortable with and we feel safe reading stories she features in.
Booster Gold is someone that older readers may be more familiar with. Clelverly DC made great use of the character in the build up to Batman and Catwoman’s wedding. That decision has to have been prefacing his inclusion here. But above all we know that, whatever the outcome, his intentions are noble
King cleverly builds anticipation around the two confronting each other in the diner. Something which pays off heavily when they take their fight outside and in to the skies. Whilst Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman also feature here this really is Harley and Boosters story (so far).
The events at Santuary are heartbreaking but I wouldn’t call them the focus of this issue. This is the whodunnit of Heroes In Crisis. There’s plenty more time for the why and the how later.
Clay Mann’s artwork is absolutely on point. From the huge title splash page of the cornfields to the awkward closeups of the Santuary confessionals it all looks great.
Character models are strong and consistent throughout. Harley and Booster both look great. The group cover shot is also a highlight of the issue.
For me the measure of a successful book is how well the art compliments the script without overshadowing it. Style with substance is what keeps me reading and this book is very much a shining example of that.
Heroes In Crisis #1 is without doubt going to challenge perceptions of the DC Universe. Whilst it might flaunt controversy with its representation of mental health but there is truly an important story to be told here. One with a strong emotional resonance and serious consequences going forwards.