HEROES IN CRISIS #1 by Tom King, Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles
HEROES IN CRISIS #1 gives you just enough story to keep you hooked until the next issue. The character work is questionable at times, but that could be a setup for something later on in the story. The shining light of this particular issue is the artwork. Though it's a fascinating concept, and my interest is piqued, this is a classic first issue -- all groundwork for something bigger.
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A Good Start

If you ever wanted to see Booster Gold get into a knife fight with Harley Quinn, HEROES IN CRISIS #1 will make that dream come true for you. It will also attempt to shatter your heart into a million pieces.

For those of us struggling with mental health issues — particularly trauma-based ones — HEROES IN CRISIS #1 will start to hit close to home from the first couple pages. Warning, potential spoilers are below!

HEROES IN CRISIS #1 Jumps Right Into Action

HEROES IN CRISIS #1 starts off with Booster Gold and Harley Quinn at a diner. Before they fight, Harley needs to eat some dessert. Naturally. Once she’s had her fill of pie, she turns on Booster with a knife, singing bastardized versions of classic children’s tunes like “Old MacDonald.”

HEROES IN CRISIS #1 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

As Booster takes off and they bring the fight into the sky, Superman makes a terrible discovery. A group of heroes who he, Batman, and Wonder Woman were trying to help were slaughtered. Amongst the dead are Roy Harper (AKA Arsenal), former partner of Green Arrow, and Wally West (AKA the Flash).

As the story goes on, we see nine-panel-grid pages of some of these heroes speaking in a diary-room confessional of sorts. By the end, Booster Gold reveals that they’re speaking to a robot called Sanctuary. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all helped to make the machine using Kryptonian technology.

Sanctuary’s mission was to help these heroes treat their trauma through therapy. But something went horribly wrong. Throughout HEROES IN CRISIS #1, it’s seemingly obvious that Harley is the guilty party. Sanctuary was treating her along with the others. Yet, instead, she reveals a difficult truth to swallow.

“Nah, Goldie,” she explains to the hero, “I didn’t save ’em… but I didn’t… kill ’em. You did.”

A Cast of Characters

Writer Tom King can do a lot with a character. You don’t need to look any further than his work with Kite Man for proof of that skill. He has a tendency to elevate characters you normally wouldn’t think twice about, just as much as he adds new dimensions to the classics.

HEROES IN CRISIS #1 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

I was very excited to see what he would do with my favorite character of all time — Harley Quinn. Yet I have to admit, I was a little shocked when one of the first lines out of her mouth was, “I don’t believe in trauma.”

Considering that Harley is such an important character because of the way she’s handled her trauma in the past, that was pretty jarring. A survivor of abuse denying the existence of trauma is a little hard to swallow for me. Yet, by the end of this page, Harley’s crying in her confessional video. So perhaps this is just an act. I’ll reserve judgment until I see more of King’s work with her. Besides, his revelation that Harley doesn’t like pudding was priceless.

As for the other characters, he captures each voice well, though nothing is particularly noteworthy yet. Considering this is the first issue, that’s completely forgivable.

A Great Art Team

The team assembled for HEROES IN CRISIS #1 — Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles — is stellar. The pages in which the heroes speak to Sanctuary are particularly wonderful because of the subtlety in their body language. The facial expressions and gestures are prominent enough to be noticed, but not so big that they’re overdramatic.

The scene when Superman finds the slaughter at the cabin is also impressive. The tear running down Hot Spot’s face is a detail that will absolutely break the coldest heart.

HEROES IN CRISIS #1 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

These touches exist throughout the book, and they absolutely elevate to the level you’d expect from such an incredible group of artists.

A Solid Start

Is HEROES IN CRISIS #1 an incredible comic? No, I couldn’t say that yet. Is it a good first issue? Most definitely.

The twist at the end is good, but it isn’t exactly unpredictable. You expect some sort of twist in a first issue like this, and the only two people who seem to be suspects are Booster Gold and Harley Quinn. Yes, it could be an outside aggressor, but odds are it was an inside job. So this reveal isn’t earth-shattering.

That being said, HEROES IN CRISIS #1 sets the scene for what I’m confident will be at the very least a fun, thought-provoking story. It most definitely has my attention.

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