HEROES IN CRISIS EXPANDS TO NINE ISSUES

Artists Lee Weeks and Mitch Gerads Join Tom King and Clay Mann in Revealing More Secrets of Sanctuary

Beginning September 26, Eisner Award-winner Tom King’s new limited series, HEROES IN CRISIS, introduces a new generation of readers to the concept of a “Crisis” within the DC Universe. This time, instead of a reality-ending event, this crisis is ripped from real-world headlines: How do superheroes handle PTSD? How do DC’s Trinity—Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman—handle the traumas and anxieties of fighting crime and saving the world, over and over again? And what happens when the safeguards that have been in place for years, fail?

First announced as a seven-issue series by Tom King and artist Clay Mann, HEROES IN CRISIS now expands to nine issues, with King collaborators Lee Weeks and Mitch Gerads providing art for the added issues. These issues will provide added insight into King and Mann’s epic tale, with Weeks (BATMAN/ELMER FUDD) handling art duties for issue #3 and Eisner award-winning Gerads (MISTER MIRACLE) providing art for issue #7.

HEROES IN CRISIS #1, written by Tom King, art by Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey, lettered by Clayton Cowles and edited by Jamie S. Rich and Brittany Holzherr, hits shelves September 26.

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It's taken me a few days to figure out why I was less than satisfied with issue 3, or the entire series so far. It was promoted as Tom King dealing with his own PTSD and the super-heroes doing the same in a realistic way.

So far, I don't think we've seen any of that. We get these little monologues of characters talking about things, but it's all incredibly surface level, and we have not seen anything new or revealing or deep from anyone. So far, all we have is a murder mystery. I really get the feeling this is going to pretty much be Identity Crisis, where it wasn't about the process of the story, it was all about keeping us guessing until the final issue, which is nothing new.

Clay Mann gave us two issues before having to call in a very welcome sight, Lee Weeks. I'm not complaining about the art, but it definitely has the feeling of so many other events we've seen--a lot of promise up front, with little payoff within the event itself, and with fill-in artists almost immediately.

I truly wanted this to be a welcome follow-up to Sheriff of Babylon and Mister Miracle and The Vision, but so far it's just a hollow mystery, where the writer throws you tons of red herrings so that you are wondering until you find out at the end which of the clues were actually true.

Is anyone else on the same page as me? I really want to be wrong.

This issue, and a later issue with Mitch Gerads, were inserted into the schedule so Mann would be able to keep to the regular series. My understanding was that these were originally planned as sidebar issues -- specials -- rather than issue 3 and issue 6 (or wherever it winds up being). But then they decided it was better to include them in the issue count, and bump the series from 7 to 9. 

But that might explain why this issue felt a little off; I hope we get more forward momentum next issue (and yes, also some more insight into how Sanctuary was actually helping people deal with PTSD, back when it was helping).

That said, I do really like a murder mystery full of clues and red herrings too.

"Is anyone else on the same page as me?"

I agree with you that, so far, the story has shown little depth. I am enjoying it as a character study, though, and I admire King's prose.

Okay, that makes a little more sense as to why this felt like marking time.

I'm still not feeling any character study or growth/expansion, though. I'm still hoping for a payoff of some kind before the ninth issue (and I'd prefer well before then). With Babylon, Vision, and Miracle, I felt like we got some payoff with each issue.

Not trying to be a hater, so I'll try not to complain each time an issue comes out. But if Tom King wasn't writing this, I would have stopped reading it after this issue. He is why I will keep on with it, though.

I find it really hard to believe they're going to kill Poison Ivy. I expect some sort of reset for her. Both Wally West and Roy Harper have been rendered redundant by replacement characters (Wallace West, Emiko Queen). But Poison Ivy is too unique and valuable a trademark. Maybe she'll regrow as a plant person, like Black Orchid.

There have been rumors that Ivy will come back as the next plant elemental when Alec Holland dies/retires, as he's been hinting at in Justice League Dark. 

I don't think Wally or Roy are gone for good, either. I think this story is intentionally deceptive in certain ways. 

Wally's a really problematic character right now, continuity-wise... but he's also really popular, and the symbol of Rebirth. I *do* think there are plans for him, one way or another -- although I think those plans have been put on pause thanks to the delays in Doomsday Clock. Doomsday Clock this week again teases that the JSA used to be part of the world's past, and isn't anymore. It's the same situation with Wally's family, and the solution for one might do the same for the other. Which I don't think will change the ending of Heroes in Crisis -- but I think Wally might be in better shape by the end of this story so he can participate in what happens after DC.

With Roy, I don't think he's as popular as Wally -- but with his background of addiction, he's a very useful character for a writer to have in his quiver. The DCU loses something important without him around, and Emiko doesn't fix that. Other characters can be addicts or ex-addicts, of course, but Roy's story happened so long ago that it's baked into the character, much the same way Hank Pym is known for hitting Janet. It's the flaw that finally made them interesting, and their character has completely pivoted on that point. 

But this is a series that has now shown us a house with robots or Kryptonian tech that can look like anyone or anything. There's also a diner that some think feels like a stage set, with extras disappearing when the fight begins. And finally, there's Nemesis, another master of disguise, on the final panel of issue 3. I feel like we're being told pretty explicitly not to trust our eyes on this one, and not everyone is who they say they are.

That said, I wouldn't expect to see Kid Devil or Gunfire running around anytime soon. 

“I'm still not feeling any character study or growth/expansion, though.”

I am assuming you have read The Death of Captain Marvel, the 1982 graphic novel Jim Starlin used to work through the death of his father. In it, via the assembled super-heroes, he illustrated how different people deal with death and dying. (I’m thinking particularly of the Thing and Spider-Man here.) Tom King is being a little more subtle, but I think he’s attempting to show (again, via super-heroes), how different people deal with PTSD.

Actually, I haven't read The Death of Captain Marvel. It's one of those black spots in my comic book reading that I just haven't gotten around to yet. But now you've got me curious! Is Marvel going to put out a new edition before this March?

I've been withholding judgment on Roy and Wally, too. But I can see the possibility that they may be (temporarily) dead. I can't see that possibility for Ivy. She's well-known, she's female, she's LGBTQ, she's #MeToo, she's #LeanIn and her partner, Harley, is going big time.

The others are no loss, and I can believe they're dead. But those three tell me something squirrelly is going on.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

There have been rumors that Ivy will come back as the next plant elemental when Alec Holland dies/retires, as he's been hinting at in Justice League Dark. 

I don't think Wally or Roy are gone for good, either. I think this story is intentionally deceptive in certain ways. 

Wally's a really problematic character right now, continuity-wise... but he's also really popular, and the symbol of Rebirth. I *do* think there are plans for him, one way or another -- although I think those plans have been put on pause thanks to the delays in Doomsday Clock. Doomsday Clock this week again teases that the JSA used to be part of the world's past, and isn't anymore. It's the same situation with Wally's family, and the solution for one might do the same for the other. Which I don't think will change the ending of Heroes in Crisis -- but I think Wally might be in better shape by the end of this story so he can participate in what happens after DC.

With Roy, I don't think he's as popular as Wally -- but with his background of addiction, he's a very useful character for a writer to have in his quiver. The DCU loses something important without him around, and Emiko doesn't fix that. Other characters can be addicts or ex-addicts, of course, but Roy's story happened so long ago that it's baked into the character, much the same way Hank Pym is known for hitting Janet. It's the flaw that finally made them interesting, and their character has completely pivoted on that point. 

But this is a series that has now shown us a house with robots or Kryptonian tech that can look like anyone or anything. There's also a diner that some think feels like a stage set, with extras disappearing when the fight begins. And finally, there's Nemesis, another master of disguise, on the final panel of issue 3. I feel like we're being told pretty explicitly not to trust our eyes on this one, and not everyone is who they say they are.

That said, I wouldn't expect to see Kid Devil or Gunfire running around anytime soon. 

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