Review: Heroes In Crisis #1

HEROES IN CRISIS #1
Written by Tom King
Art by Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles
Edited by Jamie S. Rich and Brittany Zolherr
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: September 26, 2018

(SPOILER FREE REVIEW)

Sanctuary. “A Crisis Center for DC Super Heroes That Combines Superman’s Kryptonian Technology, Wonder Woman’s Amazonian Mysticism and Is Powered by Batman’s Financial Empire”

As the quote from the DC Comics announcement of the now nine-issue series says, Sanctuary is a Superpowered PTSD Center for the DC Universe to visit and frequent when the hero work or personal issues become too much for them. Heroes In Crisis is a different type of Superhero Story where the enemy is shrouded in mystery and the trigger for this murder mystery is something that our world is all too familiar with.

There’s a lot of talks about the body count that’s been teased and marketed as the book launches today and I won’t be getting into spoilers heavily in this review. Tom King and other writers have sprinkled teases of Sanctuary across the DC Universe in a bevy of titles over the past few months. Encompassing the DC Universe at large has given location and it’s nature an air of mystery and wonder as we finally uncover what the Center is all about but this isn’t about entering Sanctuary for the first time, we open in the aftermath of an event that hasn’t happened in the five years of its creation. Someone has murdered fellow Heroes at the Center and the two prime suspects are eating at a diner.

Clay Mann has been something of a recent and frequent King collaborator and his pencils stun throughout every page. Booster Gold sitting down to get something to eat is filled with all the small details and people you’d expect with Morey’s colors shining the early afternoon sun through the windows. His lines are crisp, lined with exactness and spread the movements on the pages across small, tightly compact panels and wide, all-encompassing panels. The issue features testimonials from specific characters that all have been housed in Sanctuary where King plots out a nine-panel grid for the characters to give their peace on what’s on happening with them. Here Mann shines as the nine-panel pages in particular offer little space with King’s writing for them but the subtlety of the characters talking about their low points is seen through Mann’s pencils packing another layer of emotion for the story.

The two sections of the book are divided up focusing on different parts of the aftermath of the attack on Sanctuary. Booster Gold and Harley Quinn are at odds because they both think the other has something to do with what went wrong and it gives us a prolonged battle between the two that allows Mann, Morey, and Cowles to let loose as Harley sings her way through the fight. Mann’s detailed pencils are great as he captures smaller movements and facial expressions. Foursquare sized panels showing Harley getting ready for battle are small touches that bring the book together even if the issue itself feels like a somber entrance to the series. The immediate rush into the story and the aftermath of the event that kicks it off feels like an issue that is beginning in the middle of the event rather than the true start. Morey’s colors work wonders for the pages with a great page of the Trinity on their way to the scene of the crime with the darker shadows of Batman, clean skies with Wonder Woman, and the golden, brazen glow for Superman all suit the characters respectively. King’s writing takes a minimalist approach when it comes to moments of emotion and heartache for Superman in particular with Mann’s pencils having small touches that add a heightened sense of sadness with certain pages.

The most talked about portion of the book will be about who the event takes away from us and rightly so, while I have my own issues with the manner and the body count of characters and the messages you can take away from it. I’m willing to let the story run its course for its following issues because of comic deaths and their nature. Some deaths feel more final and exact than others simply because of who is confirmed to be dead but nonetheless, there are emotions in these pages and the story has a lot of room to go from here.

Heroes In Crisis #1 does not begin with a bang, but with a breeze after the war is long and gone and the survivors are left to pick up the pieces. The bright and hopeful optimism of the Superheroes has started them on a murder mystery that already has plenty of merits given the events of the issue and with eight issues to go, the story of Sanctuary and the so far small cast of characters should pick up from this surreal opener that lowers the DC Universe into very real territory for the story that does the topics its opened justice.

The Verdict: 7.0/10

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