Heroes in Crisis #7 review

Enough!

I agree with Superman after reading this issue, a real step back from last month’s decent chapter. As originally announced, this number would have been the finale, but writer Tom King had two extra comics added to the run to, supposedly, go deeper into the story. Given this issue isn’t drawn by added artists Lee Weeks or Mitch Gerads, it’s obviously one of the originally planned issues.

But what a mess. Like earlier chapters, but even more so, Heroes in Crisis #7 flits about in time and space, not so much layering in meaning as kicking an already spilled deck of cards across the floor. HiC is ridiculously disjointed, and while it may be a cool read for editor Jamie S Rich, the rest of us don’t have the benefit of a full-series synopsis. Here’s Wally West reminiscing on his wedding to Crisis-lost Linda. Here’s Harley Quinn trying to murder Booster Gold as Batgirl and Blue Beetle sit back and talk inanely. Here’s Batman and Flash searching for the Blue and Gold team. Here’s Wally West talking to the Sanctuary computer over three weeks.

Here’s me getting really, really impatient. Most of this issue feels like a re-run, hitting character beats we’re well familiar with while moving the overall story forward very, very little. Here’s the new stuff:

Super-speedster Wally fires little blue bolts to stimulate plant growth and jolt Poison Ivy into regenerating after her ‘death’ at Sanctuary.

Babs, Harley, Booster and Ted finally decide to team up to find Wally, whose death, they surmise, may be mere technicality.

As for Superman? Not in the issue. The original cover, showing a dead or dying Poison Ivy, was pulled after a reader ruckus and Mitch Gerads’ alternate was presumably commissioned with undue haste.

I’m hugely sick of glacially paced nine-panel-grid scenes set in failed super-person treatment facility Sanctuary before the massacre of the first issue. In four pages of them, we get three panels that add to the story.

I can’t in a million years see resentment at Barry being enough to make Wally turn mass killer. Or are we meant to think PTSD – King’s stated area of interest with this maxi-series – pushed Wally over the edge? Maybe he figured that as another reality-reshaping Crisis is likely on the horizon, why not knock a few pieces off the board, see what happens?

What a rotten idea.

So anyway, Poison Ivy is back and looking a tad plant elemental. Everyone is swearing a lot and, like, talking as if they’re Shaggy Rogers. Beetle has forgotten that he’s a superhero as well as a scientist. Batgirl continues to favour child killer Harley Quinn over Booster Gold. Batgirl can somehow knock out a colleague with a momentum-free sideswipe. Booster’s brain is still missing.

Positives. Well, the first page and opening title spread are very pretty, think Laura Ashley redesigns the DCU. I actually thought the poem was being recited by an underground Swamp Thing whose wife, remember, was also named Linda. Well, I was at the wedding of Wally West and Linda Park and don’t remember any plant poetry. It might have happened off panel, I suppose, Linda’s family being Iowa farmers and all…

The art by Clay Mann, Travis Moore and Jorge Fornes is good throughout, I especially like Fornes’ unfussy approach to Batman and Flash’s tailoring. Tomeu Morey’s colouring and Clayton Cowles’ lettering are as expert as ever.

But oh boy, this comic is a massive misstep for the Line of DC Superstars. Is anyone really enjoying it?

10 thoughts on “Heroes in Crisis #7 review

  1. I honestly don’t see any real, true fan could be enjoying this other than maybe the sanctuary interviews. Other than that, this is yet another firm example of why I don’t buy comics anymore. Why waste money on fanfiction crap like this?

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  2. I love your recaps so that I don’t need to read this. I understand that people struggle with PTSD in real life, but this real life issue is a tough fit for the DCU. Reminds me of Zach Snyder’s recent statements about Batman killing.

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  3. Thanks again, Martin, for taking the hit on this and reaffirming my decision to drop the series after the second issue.

    I agree with your assessment of Wally’s thoughts about Barry, by the way – can anyone really buy him resenting Barry’s return?

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  4. Well, *I* still like it. I hope you don’t think I’m a sociopath.

    There are definitely some things I’m not crazy about. While Harley has a very inconsistent portrayal throughout the DC line (I’m a Palmiotti/Conner adherent; I like madcap, roller-derby Coney Island Harley best), I think King’s struggled with her a lot. (Her admission about the nursery rhymes in this issue — she doesn’t know what to say during fight scenes — I think is a tacit admission that King doesn’t have a handle on how to write her.) That said, I loved her therapy session a few issues ago. It felt honest and sad.

    I’ve been enjoying Booster and Beetle throughout, and this issue really liked Batgirl’s knocking Beetle unconscious to get through Booster’s shielding.

    One of King’s stylistic tics is an over-reliance on re-purposed poetry. He just spent two issues having the Penguin recite “The Turtle and the Phoenix,” and last issue we had Gnarrk wax poetic (which was a nice touch for the guy, I thought). Here we have Wally reciting poetry too. It’s a little much at this point — like the most influential page in King’s early years as a comic reader is the epilogue to the first Ultron story where Roy Thomas quotes Shelly’s “Ozymandius.”

    But mystery-wise, I’m still in. I wish we’d see follow-up to some of the earlier clues — the puddlers, the teeth — but I’m very interested in the 5-day-older Wally, and the resurrected Ivy.

    As for Wally resenting Barry, I’m sure he’s trying not to. He knows he shouldn’t. And yet it was Barry’s actions that inadvertently wiped his wife and children from reality. If ti were just him, and he came back, then yeah, I think he’d be able to let it go. But the woman he loves? The children he loves? I completely buy that lingering resentment, and I completely buy that Wally is ashamed of having those feelings toward someone he also loves. And I love that this series is willing to explore that complexity of emotion.

    I just wish it would face it more head-on, in a more focused way. King and Mann are telling this story at oblique angles, and it’s definitely time for some directness and clarity.

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  5. It was fascinating to read Paul Dini writing Harley in this week’s overall underwhelming Detective Comics #1000 and be reminded how she’s meant to sound.

    The poems are tiresome, but I find quotes of any kind attached to comic stories dull – I’d rather the writer just did their best and let their own words tell the story, rather than try to borrow gravitas from others.

    Fascinating thoughts on Barry, I just hope we see the pair back together again.

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