Heroes in Crisis #8 (of 9) Review "Not saying I like it but I unders
• Mitch Gerads (Colorist - Cover) • Ryan Sook (Variant cover)
We've arrived at the point in the month when I read Tom King's Heroes in Crisis and Tom Scioli's Go-Bot's. Unfortunately, Go-Bots has ended so what we're left with is Heroes in Crisis.
I visited my Local Comic Shop late this week and by the time I got there, the ending had already been spoiled. Actually, I'm not sure if you can really talk about this comic without discussing the reveal so Ill get it out of the way.
Wally West, traumatized from the events of DC Rebirth and the loss of his wife and children has snapped, and is revealed to be the murderer behind the events at Sanctuary.
So my working theory walking into this issue was that HIC was an Elseworlds story. After reading the series I don't believe it's an Elseworlds story at all. I think there is more to the story than the explanation we're given but I don't believe we're in an alternate reality anymore.
My theory after reading the issue is that the trauma is really but Wally was being influenced by the Psycho Pirate Mask.
I'm not sold on Heroes in Crisis, a matter of fact if you've been following these reviews you know that the series kinda lost me after issue 2. I feel that there were other stories to be told that can be just as compelling without being oppressively dark or macabre. HIC, The Grim Knight, DCeased, Dark Knights Metal are all solid stories but give me the impression that DC as publisher is currently in a bad head space and needs counseling.
I'm not sure if the current mood around the DC line is a result of the cutbacks to the number of books being published but something is definitely off and series such as this one is sure to alienate long term fans.
All that being said this is easily the best issue of the series. Wally has lost everything, his wife and kids are gone and he's currently stuck in an alternate reality where everyone is basically a shadow of the people that he loved and grew up with. Imagine if you were in this situation? This is Wally's life right now and there is no going back.
The anger I'm seeing toward the issue on social media is that Wally has been destroyed. I don't really have an argument against the claim but based solely on the fallout from "rebirth" I get why Tom went this route. If Wally wasn't dealing with any lingering issues relating to the loss of his wife and kids it would have been just as jarring.
One of the appeals of an "Elseworlds" or "What If" scenario is that you get to see an alternate timeline and see how slight changes could have resulted in a different outcome (usually catastrophic). In this instance, this is Wally's life. He doesn't have the out of going back to his world.
I'm not sure if Heroes in Crisis is an indictment of the optimism that Rebirth endeared with the character and the line in general, but it sure feels like it. One that note the twist is actually pretty clever and puts a real-world spin on a fantastical situation. I'm not saying this is the story I would have landed on, but I understand.
The biggest issue with the series is the decompression. This could have easily been issue 4 of 5, but it's been padded out to an insane degree for whatever reason. The stuff with Superman probably could have been cut altogether. The Batman/Flash stuff seems irrelevant. What the focus should have been squarely on since the series inception is Wally West, his trauma, and what he deals with every day.
The writing for this issue is very strong and it easily one of the best written single issues of the year. I suffer from high functioning depression and have lulls throughout the week. Not to the extreme that Wally has, but I understand wearing a mask of optimism publicly while struggling with internal demons.
One thing that isn't in question is the art direction. Mitch Gerads and Travis Moore's are amazing. Every page is jaw-dropping and worth the price of admission alone. It doesn't really stand out as much because the issue is so melancholy, but the pencils throughout the issue are amazing.
Once you get past the shock of the events I implore you to go back and look at the issue again, it's simply stunning.
I feel like DC editorial failed Tom in this event. There are flashes of greatness throughout the series but the focus seems to be all over the place. You have the Silliness with Booster and Harley undercutting the real meat of the event.
I'm not sure what went on behind the scenes at DC Comics but if the focus had been entirely on Sanctuary and the events there I guarantee the series would have gone over better with fans. Decompression hurts comics. Heroes in Crisis an Doomsday Clock are prime examples of why decompressed storytelling needs to be put to pasture. It really hurts these stories and they end up feeling like uneven cash grabs because of the sheer amount of filler or irrelevant material. There is a great story in Heroes in Crisis but it's buried in the minutiae.