HEROES IN CRISIS #6
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads, Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles
Edited by Jamie S. Rich and Brittany Zolherr
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: February 28, 2018
(SPOILER FREE REVIEW)
With only three issues left in the #1 ongoing investigation in the DC Universe, King and company take a break to stop and follow the stories of G’narrk, Wally West, and Harley Quinn all before everything goes wrong at Sanctuary.
An issue dedicated to two characters that the series has focused in general, whether they’re active in the investigation or the effect of their death’s still being felt, and one character who is just one of the many Heroes that died when things went wrong is an interesting approach to take on for an issue of Heroes In Crisis. Choosing not to follow up on the investigation itself and see what Sanctuary means to its various members about “saving” people. What does it mean for these good and bad guys to save people? We’re only treated to the question and answers on the first and last page by Mann that illustrates the same cast of other characters all giving their different answers to what saving is, Mann gives each of the nine-grid panel’s character their own style and emotes to match King’s words about the subject. Thanks in part to Morey’s colors, every panel while having the same background, are all specific to each character making sure no one person is alike, in answer or in design.
The main chunk of the book is all Gerads, detailing the stories of three people that need Sanctuary for help and this issue explains why King and Gerads are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to illustrating and conveying emotions for stories, and not much else here. Choosing to center the story around a spotlighted character like Gnarrk who was already been confirmed to be dead in previous issues rings hollow as he is a major part of the issue, detailing his time in Sanctuary before the attack that’ll leave the Caveman’s specific plight ringing on deaf ears because it comes off as a question of why choose to a focus on a character that’s only known to have been in Sanctuary and nothing else? Gerads doing his own coloring gives each section for the heroes and villains it’s own color scheme and feeling. Wally West and Harley’s are more expression heavy with their stories ranging from Wally’s emotional history since Rebirth began or Harley going through Sanctuary’s process to help its inhabitants.
Gerads shows his talent for displaying a range of emotions as the script tugs on the strings that come with this territory and the characters in question. King writes Wally as a man reflecting on what his return means for those immediately around him and what he feels his character represents. Hope is something that’s been missing literally and figuratively from the DC Universe and with Rebirth coming to pave the way for restoring the DCU to it’s former glory, this is another side to Wally that his return hasn’t explored. It’s an interesting turn to Wally’s character because ever since he came back the titles he’s been in has never got into his frame of mind as he pines for the things he’s been missing. Gerads plays on the isolation of Wally and his emotional state, opposing the writing of King who encapsulates that Wally’s return is nothing but good tidings for everyone…but himself who still feels alone with Gerad capturing his loneliness even with Heroes around or not.
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s part of the comic fares better with the two enjoying each other’s company as Harley attempts to get better by attacking mockups of The Joker. Some of it is less than successful as confronting your abuser and a major part of your life can be on terms you control but Gerads captures the emotions involved from anger, hurt, and relief as their special form of getting better involves creative ways to kill Joker copies under the dark sky. The coloring for each segment is both vibrant and grounded for its the specific part in each of the three rotating members of Sanctuary with an appropriate amount of blood across all three.
Opting instead to only add another piece of the puzzle and add to the character work that has been set up throughout Heroes In Crisis, issue 6 isn’t much if you’re looking for more answers when it comes to what’s going on but spends time with select characters to discover where the headspaces of said characters are at and shows more about what Sanctuary can be used for if it wasn’t a murder mystery attached to it. With great art in tow, this issue is carried by a strong focus on how it renders the characters going through their own personal turmoil but doesn’t lend much to the overall narrative save for a few small dialogue hints and a comparable page to an earlier issue that shows something is definitely amiss in this investigation.
The Verdict: 6.5/10