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Review – Heroes in Crisis #8 (DC Comics)

Heroes in Crisis #8 (DC Comics) variant cover (detail) by Ryan Sook
Heroes in Crisis #8
Overall
6.5/10
6.5/10
  • Writing - 7/10
    7/10
  • Art - 6/10
    6/10
  • Overall - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
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User Review
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Summary

Writer: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads & Travis Moore
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Variant Cover: Ryan Sook
Publisher: DC Comics
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Release Date: April 24, 2019

After months of speculation, the murderer responsible for the massacre at Sanctuary is finally revealed. But the culprit may surprise you.

The Slowest Confession Alive is in Heroes in Crisis #8

For months Tom King has been leading readers on a convoluted “whodunit” through the DC Universe. There’s been a steady back and forth between Team Harley and Team Booster Gold to try to discover just who is behind the massacre at Sanctuary. In Heroes in Crisis #8 King is finally revealing just who “the man behind the curtain” is to readers, and the answer will surprise you. 

Writing

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Heroes in Crisis #8 (DC Comics) main cover by Mitch Gerads
Heroes in Crisis #8 (DC Comics) main cover by Mitch Gerads

First of all, I’m not one for spoilers. My recaps tend to be light, focusing on the overall themes and motifs of the issue, as opposed to getting too bogged down in the plot. However, an intelligent conversation on Heroes in Crisis #8 cannot be had without rehashing some points that are admittedly “spoilers”. So here’s your chance to bail; cover your eyes and stick your fingers in your ears. Still with me? OK—let’s continue. 

One of the very first things I remember my writing teacher telling me was “show; don’t tell.” In Tom King‘s penultimate chapter, there’s a lot of “telling” going on. More accurately, confessing. Wally West (yep, Wally West) spends the entire issue recanting how he killed everyone at Sanctuary. Not Booster; not Harley.

“Five days, Ms. Lane, for me to finally tell the truth…”

In a moment of blind rage and emotional vulnerability, Wally explains how he lost control of the speed force. This created a lethal shockwave, killing everyone in its wake. When “The Fastest Man Alive” realized Booster Gold and Harley Quinn were still in their simulations within Sanctuary, he hacked the system (in a flash) and manipulated them both into thinking that the other was responsible for the murders. Lastly, Wally reveals how he stole Booster’s tech to travel five days into the future, kill his future self, and take the body back with him so as not to arouse suspicion. Oh, and he leaked the other heroes’ Sanctuary tapes too.

Now you’re probably thinking “umm…what?” and if so—you’re not alone. It’s not the actions Wally is taking that are so troublesome but rather the complete betrayal of his character with little to no explanation as to why it has happened. Yes, Wally has been depressed since the “Rebirth” event revealed that his family was essentially not real. I even buy him losing control and killing everyone at Sanctuary. But why does he cover it up? Why frame Booster and Harley? What was he doing for those five days? And if his plans are indeed to commit suicide, why is he leaking all of the other heroes’ confession tapes from Sanctuary and not his own?

Bottom line, this was a lazy turn of events; a true deus ex machina if ever there was one. Tom King spent seven issues writing himself into a corner and at the last minute threw up a Hail Mary to try to turn the tables on readers. Here’s hoping that the conclusion of the series offers more insight than was given this time around. 

Art

Quite uncharacteristically, Heroes in Crisis #8 felt a lot more subdued than previous contributions. Yes, it was likely intentional to derive a flashback aesthetic in order to better complement Wally’s confession, but the overall delivery just lacked in comparison. It’s a lot of lightning, a lot of red blurs; a complete exposé on Wally West and little else. 

I don’t want to give the impression that it’s devoid of merit; the panels where we see Wally in the Sanctuary confessional with fresh blood anointing the shield is powerful, although just a touch confusing: if everyone was outside who was at Sanctuary, and Booster and Harley were the only two still in the simulation—whose blood is on the wall?

Conclusion

Since its inception Heroes in Crisis has been a title that I just can’t seem to put my finger on. I’ve said it before, pertaining to Tom King, that although I may not always enjoy the ride, I respect the journey. Mental illness, depression, suicide: these are extremely important topics of discussion. They are not fantasy. They exist in our real world and millions of people have to do battle with these demons on a daily basis. Tom King is one of the only writers out there giving a voice to these issues. King is humanizing our beloved classic comic book characters in a way that’s never been attempted before. In doing so, he’s opened up completely new avenues of exploration and storytelling. Tom King is wandering in uncharted territory and while I may not have always enjoyed Heroes in Crisis I recognize its value and the importance it has on readers and comic book writing as a whole. 


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Jordan Claes

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