Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Heroes in Crisis #1 by Tom King - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: 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?

Lately, everything Tom King has written has turned to gold. He writes intriguing stories with interesting characters, and often lends an emotional depth that the reader didn’t realize the character had (see: Batman, Vision, Mister Miracle, etc.). Heroes in Crisis #1 is his first (I think) event series, and it looks to be another entertaining and thought-provoking story.

So our story goes like this: At some point, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman established Sanctuary, a safehouse/hospital for heroes who need a place to go or someone to talk to when they have been affected by the battles they’ve been in and the consequences they’ve seen. As issue #1 opens, we have Booster Gold and Harley Quinn in a conversation about “something” happening, and just who is responsible. At the same time, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman come upon Sanctuary, where there has been a tragedy: a group of patients/heroes has been murdered. Who did it and why appears to be the focus of the series.

The idea of Sanctuary is fascinating to me. There have been a handful of writers who have approached superheroes from a realistic viewpoint (I’m thinking of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City in particular), but I don’t know that anyone has come at it like Tom King. To place Sanctuary at the center of a murder mystery just turns up the intensity, because Sanctuary is no longer a sanctuary for the heroes. King has also placed to very different characters at the center of the story: Booster Gold and Harley Quinn. Harley appears to be at her most psychotic in this issue, but Booster has always been sort of a joke as a hero (his team-ups with Blue Beetle were full of wacky antics). He doesn’t seem like a natural fit for this role, but King writes him with a deep weariness and melancholy that is far from the way Booster normally presents himself. I’m curious to see where King takes both Booster and Harley.

As far as the murder investigation, Batman is considered “The World’s Greatest Detective”, so I would anticipate his skills coming in handy. I’m not totally sure how Superman and Wonder Woman will fit, but I trust King to make it all work. I’m also hopeful to get some background on Sanctuary itself; when was it created? What prompted its creation? Are there other stories to tell about the patients who visited in the past? King also excels at writing complicated characters, and this series should have plenty of opportunities for him to use this skill.

Heroes in Crisis #1 by Tom King is a terrific opening to what promises to be one of the most fascinating stories of 2018. I’m all in on this series, and I’m extremely interested to see how it all works out. I highly recommend this book!

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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