Someone has slaughtered the superbeings being treated for trauma at the Sanctuary facility. The Wally West Flash, Arsenal, Blue Jay and more have died, but who’s the culprit? Last issue ended with Booster Gold and Harley Quinn convinced the other had done it. As this issue opens, Harley has left an unconscious Booster in the fields surrounding Sanctuary and gone looking for protection.
When Booster wakes up, he discusses his next move with drone pal Skeets.
Later, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, who set up Sanctuary, catch up with Harley, who’s gone back to an old look. They’re here to take her in, but she isn’t going quietly…
Does this scene remind you of anything? I flashed back to the Identity Crisis crossover, in which Deathstroke took down the Justice League in three seconds flat. That was stupid, this is insultingly stupid… the three greatest heroes of the DC Universe punked by the Joker’s sidekick? Yeah, right.
Better is the Flash’s understandable reaction to Booster showing up in Central City – of course he’d be furiously upset at a peer announcing that he may have killed Barry’s nephew and closest ally.
Then again, Booster isn’t really any hero’s peer as written by Tom King, he’s a total dumb cluck… at this rate even fans like myself might not care if he doesn’t make it out of Heroes in Crisis alive.
And speaking of deaths, we now learn that Poison Ivy was a victim of the unknown killer(s). I really don’t care, given she was at Sanctuary as a direct result of a King Batman tale in which she was shown to be a Swamp Thing-level plant deity, all about the regeneration. It’s only a matter of time before she’s back – Demeter is running.
Perhaps we’re not meant to take the deaths seriously, it’s known that King wants to make points about what a life of violence does to a person. That’s why we have cutaway scenes with Heroes in Counselling, this time, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman; unfortunately, there’s nothing very interesting here, it’s just characters being a bit sad.
The idea seems to be that none of the Big Three have confronted their emotions previously, which is nonsense.
Ivy also has a scene with the unseen Sanctuary guidance counsellor, it’s nothing deep, just reminding us that she and Harley are gal pals.
I’m more interested in the mystery of who killed everyone than any message King wants to push. Mind, the way this book evokes the horrible Identity Crisis, it’s probably ruddy Jean Loring. We get two scenes addressing the mystery – a set of Joker trick teeth is found inside the corpse of Commander Steel, and an anonymous letter is handed to Lois Lane. More of this kind of thing, please.
There’s a fun reference to Lois’s movie self, the one who can’t spell, then King goes too far in making her seem an utterly incompetent writer. He does better at capturing Skeets’ voice, and I do like his den mother Diana, it’s a nice change from the stab-first character we usually see these days.
Clay Mann’s art is once again a pleasure to look at: the storytelling is smart, the faces expressive and the finish glossy without going to the extremes of Uncanny Valley. Meriting special mention are his grotesque Penguin, sweetly pastoral shot of Booster flying over a field and Harley in her classic outfit, looking terrifying and tender by turns. Oh, and penguins. Many, many, adorable, distinctly non-grotesque penguins.
Here’s a note on Lois’s desk.
Nope, Clay doesn’t make his deadline, meaning Travis Moore draws the encounter between Flash and Booster, and it’s powerful stuff.
Tomeu Morey and Arif Prianto share the colouring assignment and capture the tones of King’s script well, while Clayton Cowles letters with his usual professionalism. The cover by Mann and Morey is a striking image, and I always like it when a logo is move to accommodate the image; the actual scene referenced, though, remains ridiculous.
I’m not sure I should be buying a comic that I’m not enjoying hugely, though I did like this a little more than the debut issue. I suppose it’s because I’m starting to think of it as an Elseworlds story, its massive events likely to prove pretty inconsequential, pretty soon.
Oh Lord, I hope DC doesn’t take that last sentence as a challenge…