Heroes in Crisis #8 review

Hurrah, it’s time to solve the mystery of who killed everyone at Sanctuary, the happy holiday home for stressed-out superheroes.

It was Wally West, one of the bestest Flashes ever, because he was all confused and upset and couldn’t keep bolts of Speed Force lightning from escaping his body and slashing sundry sad superfolk to ribbons.

But don’t worry, he has a plan – no need to upset Sanctuary masterminds Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman by letting them know he’s killed everyone with a metahuman burp. Not when he can use his super-speed-knowledge of Sanctuary’s systems to frame Harley Quinn and Booster Gold, making each think the other had gone postal.

Hey, Wally’s Uncle Barry is a police scientist so of course he has the in-depth knowledge of how to fake a crime scene, so well that even the aforementioned senior Flash and Batman are fooled. That cryptic message in blood on the wall about foundry ‘puddlers’ will… er… throw doubt on the sanity of the superhero known as Pig Iron? Yeah, that’s it, those gosh-darned Zoo Crew types, never trusted ‘em.

Now the obvious thing for wise Wally to do is time travel five days into the future to execute another version of himself, then take that body into the past and make it look like just another victim – but not before doing all sorts of good deeds and confessing all to Lois Lane

Well done Tom King, Heroes in Crisis #8 is undoubtedly one of the best comics I’ve ever read, an important, insightful look at PTSD and the superhero set. Wally has journeyed from Flash fanboy to Kid Flash to The Flash – mass killing and the framing of friends are the inevitable next steps. Having learned that the reality he knew had changed, taking away his wife and kids, Wally simply had to lose his mind – it’s the truth Literature demanded. Why has it taken so long?

If there’s any justice at all, this bound-to-be-fan-favourite issue will win all kinds of awards and bring on a sequel or two. Grittily realistic comic books that treat long-established, much-loved characters, and their thousands of fans, with the respect they deserve. Perhaps Sanctuary can be rebuilt as a nursery and Sugar & Spike succumb to cot death! Or it could be a farm and Bat-Cow could infect the DCU with Mad Cow Disease! Let’s revive Parallax and Monarch for some team-ups with the new, fully realised Wally West!

There are so many Stories That Must Be Told, and King could bring back this issue’s talented artistic collaborators, Mitch Gerads and Travis Moore, to gift them to the world.

Heroes in Crisis. You know it makes sense.

22 thoughts on “Heroes in Crisis #8 review

  1. I really don’t blame the individual creators.

    There is a commonality that runs from “Identity Crisis” to “Heroes In Crisis”. You can see it in Identity Crisis, the New 52, and Doomsday Clock. The people commissioning these stories obviously want certain things. Tom King did what he was hired to do.

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    1. I don’t doubt you’re dead on as regards DC management attitudes but Tom King was pretty clear before the series came out that this was his pet project. I think he was perfectly placed at current DC to have this story greenlit.

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      1. I am sure that Tom King came to DC with the idea of Sanctuary, a murder mystery, and the theme of PTSD. Then, the higher ups at DC gave him a list of characters for whom they no longer had any use. King saw Wally West on the list and jumped at the idea of losing one’s family being uniquely traumatic.

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  2. Look, you know I’m no fan of this series, but I have to say, despite all the things that do not make sense in this particular issue (and you’ve nailed them all), I do think that King did a great job (well… a good job) with Wally’s narration for the most part. Tom has stated that he wanted to use this series to examine trauma, and we’ve seen precious little of that in this series until this issue. I can totally buy that Wally is suffering from a terrible, terrible loss. Even though Wally has people around him like Barry and Iris who love him like a son, King convinces me that Wally does indeed feel like he’s alone and that there isn’t anyone else out there who understands what he’s going through. I suspect the speech he makes throughout most of the issue might resonate with some people out there, and that’s maybe not a bad thing.
    However… the rest of the story, from the exploding speed force, to the time travel shenanigans, and framing Booster and Harley… just doesn’t work for me.
    I fear that with this story, DC has broken the character of Wally much like they broke the character of Hal Jordan back when they Paralaxed him. And we saw how long it took to fix that, and how many silly story hoops that the character had to jump through in order to work again. So… on the whole, I’m disappointed and sad.
    But I can see why some of this issue might work for people.

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    1. Thanks Murray, it’s good to hear another perspective. I’m reading the Twitter hashtag responses and the issue seems to be massively unpopular but I don’t doubt you’re right, Wally’s feelings will resonate with some people. I just don’t see Wally being the one to have them.

      Does that make sense!

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      1. Absolutely it makes sense. I don’t really buy that Wally would be so traumatized that he would make these choices. That’s not the character that I grew up reading. But maybe that’s the point that King is trying to make. Trauma can change people in ways that don’t make sense to people who haven’t experienced the trauma. Wally isn’t acting the way I would expect him to act, based on what I’ve read of him as I grew up, but I haven’t experienced a loss in the way that Wally has, so who am I to judge him?
        I wish that more of the series had looked at some of that story. I would have liked to see more of the Trinity held to account for their ideas about treatment rather than spend three or four too many issues on Booster and Harley’s shenanigans. Based on this issue, there’s so much potential in the ideas that King has said he was exploring to tell a really powerful story. But instead we got… what we got.
        I mean, maybe the final issue will reveal a magnificent twist that will turn everything on its head. But I’m not particularly hopeful.

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  3. Ugh.
    I wish I could be more eloquent than that, but this comic has drained me of eloquence. I just. . .it’s simply not for me.
    Wally is my Flash. Guess there’s no other option than to go on a murderous spree myself. . .

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  4. This was terrible.

    Remember when Wally came back as the beacon of hope.. remember?

    Anyways, the sad thing here is I found Vision excellent. I found Mister Miracle brilliant. So it is hard to see Tom King misfire like this. Maybe he has gone to this well once too often.

    And it is a shame what has been done to Wally. Horrible.

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  5. I wonder if this will affect sales of Wally trades… will potential readers avoid him like the plague or will loyal fans cause a bump in Waid/Johns books. And oh, for some Moessner-Loebs books.

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    1. DC has some kind of vendetta against Mark Waid and they really have never supported William Messner-Loebs work. They’ll make it up to Geoff Johns by releasing ABSOLUTE STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E. or putting Cyborg into a new Challengers of the Unknown show on their streaming service.

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  6. I like Tom King as a writer of books like The Vision, Mister Miracle, and Batman, but this is such a huge misstep. He clearly does not know Wally West at all. Not even a little. Would Wally suffer tremendously as a result of losing his whole life to some messed up alteration in time? Absolutely, but would he frame people for his own mistakes and…

    Oh, for F#@% sake, this is just never a story I wanted to see. Even a cursory watch of the JL animated series would have told King that Wally is just not this character he has ruined. Accidental deaths, OK, I get that that is a possibility when people like Wally have such immense power, but come on.

    Oh, and Mr King, if Wally can travel into the future to execute himself, why not just travel into the past and prevent himself from going all kablooey?

    Ugh!!! I am so mad at Tom King right now!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There you are, with your sense and logic! Please let me know if you tweet that to Tom King!

      I thought Tom King didn’t get Booster until I saw how much he doesn’t get Wally – I fear his editor, Jamie Rich, is in awe of the man and lets him do anything.

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  7. Huh. Flash is haunted by the loss of his wife and winds up killing someone? It’s 1983 all over again.

    I’m pretty much with Murray here: On board with the “feelings” part of the story, but scratching my head at the plot mechanics of it. I still think there’s more to know. (Wally says “for some reason” Booster and Harley didn’t come out of the house with the rest. I wonder if there’s a reason being glossed over, until next issue.)

    I also don’t get how the Speed Force kills a whole bunch of people involuntarily. (Wally *did* have a Death Touch in his first annual, which he willingly gave up, IIRC. If that long-forgotten Baron/Guice story had been referenced, I would have *lost my mind*.)

    We’ve gotten a lot of the story, and we’ve gotten Wally’s informed perspective… but there might yet be more to know. And regardless, there’s got to be more to this story than the idea that lashing out and self-harm is an inevitable reaction to trauma. What’s Wally got planned to make up for all this? I’m very interested in seeing what happens in issue 9: I want to see what Tom King thinks will make this journey worth it, and to see whether I agree.

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  8. “Perhaps Sanctuary can be rebuilt as a nursery and Sugar & Spike succumb to cot death!”

    I wouldn’t put it past them!

    Thanks for taking the bullet for a lot of us on these, Martin; I’ve said before I couldn’t get beyond #2 and now, to have Wally as the killer . . . ?

    I’ll echo you and everyone hear and say just how little Tom King understands the character.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Frankly, if any character in DC’s Universe should be in a mental institution, it should be Batman.

    But, I can’t even begin to understand how having robots and an AI treat mental illness and PTSD is even something King would think is a good idea, and certainly Diana would have objected. She’s supposed to be the compassionate warrior. And Clark allowing the likeness of his childhood home to be used is creepy.

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