Heroes in Crisis #2 review

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…

13 thoughts on “Heroes in Crisis #2 review

  1. Thanks for this, Martin – I’m going to pick this issue up and let that decide for me whether to get the rest of the series. I was so unhappy with #1, I want something to convince me not to drop this.

    And if I may echo Frank – “Demeter is running” Hahahahaha! Splendid!

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  2. “Demeter is running” is classic!

    Like you, I don’t quite know how Harley gets the drop on the Trinity and then just waltzes off. THat is idiotic.

    I did like seeing the one page of Harley dealing with the loss of Ivy, showing she has been completely shaken by the thing, questioning all her decisions. It the therapy scenes with the Trinity don’t crackle the way they should, especially Diana’s.

    So far, nothing special here … at all.

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    1. The Harley scene was one of the better moments but the Trinity scenes fell hugely flat for me; have they even switched ON the therapy robots? The heroes would be better off speaking to a wise human being who would offer feedback. Alfred, maybe.

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  3. OK, last issue was a shock, but this issue I flat-out enjoyed. The Harley vs the Big Three scene reminded me of the Deathstroke vs the JLA scene too — but I enjoyed that then, and I enjoyed this now. I like my heroes non-omnipotent, and being able to be taken off-guard. When I was growing up, Batman was routinely bested (temporarily, of course) by average thugs who caught him by surprise, or just plain outnumbered him. So I don’t mind when them getting bested now and then, even against someone they’d beat 99 times out of 100. There’s always that 100th time. And I liked Harley’s plan — particularly going to the Penguin because she knew he’d squawk.

    And I really liked the Booster/Barry scene, too. And I don’t have too much problem with Booster’s characterization — it seems pretty in line with his JLI days, but he’s dealing with a much more serious issue here.

    And I think the Superman interview, at least, brought something new to the table — or at least articulated something that’s often implied. I’ve heard the “Is Superman really Clark or Superman” many times before, but the second halves of his question — “Is Clark Superman trying to be flawed, or is Superman Clark trying to be better?” really worked for me. It’s that “trying to be better” part — the idea that Superman is an ideal that sometimes even Superman can’t live up to. That interests me.

    As for Lois, well — I agree that King beats that spelling thing to death here. I think I would have liked it better if it was an internal monologue — like this is what’s on Lois’s mind while her coworker is talking to her, not that she’s intentionally being repeatedly and deliberately rude. Put most of Lois’s dialogue in caption boxes instead, and I’d be all for that scene.

    Anyway, I’m sorry you’re not enjoying this one. I hope you continue, though, because I’ll still like to read what you think about it!

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    1. Oh, you know me, I don’t actually ‘hate read’ but I am horribly curious.

      I can’t think of a single writer in comics who can convincingly present a reporter, but this was particularly bad. Also, those clothes… Lois has a public-facing role and shouldn’t be dressing like she’s off to pick up someone st Bibbo’s

      Definitely, I like non-omnipotent Batman, but here he has the two other most iconic heroes of the DCU go hand, both with super-Speed and reflexes, one with super-vision and speed breath… maybe they’re fooling Harley for some reason?

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