Heroes in Crisis #3
Tom King (w), Lee Weeks, Clay Mann (a)
Chief says: Trauma has always been at the centre of Tom King’s work. Whether it’s the psychological breaking of the Bat by Bane in Batman or Scott Free’s suicide attempt kicking off Mister Miracle, King is a writer who likes to scar. It’s mental scars that run right through the heart of Heroes in Crisis.
It’s a smart play. From Batman’s idolatry of Jason Todd’s Robin costume to, well, the fact that Kal-El can never really avoid the ghost of Krypton past and has to have a whole fortress just to be all by himself (eat your heart out, Eric Carmen), the great and good of the DCU have never been that great or good at processing what’s wrong with them. In fact, I think theres an argument to be made that trauma IS the thing they need the most. So King has given us a care centre, looked after by AI to help the heroes get over it. Sanctuary.
The concept is already gold. It’s secrecy means it slots right into the existing DCU. But added to this is a strong murder mystery, a whodunnit complete with unreliable narrators (made all the more unreliable in this issue by the fact we’re presented with a room that can give you ‘whatever you need’). it’s a story, possibly of simulacra and simulation. A fake out. Or maybe not. Did I not mention? Tom King likes to play with you expectations too.
The art on this issue is supplied by masterful Lee Weeks, guesting along with Clay Mann doing the books’ framing device. Week’s fits run in to the existing visual narrative with his urgent, emotive style and facial expressions. They’re really aren’t enough superlatives, at least not in my limited vocabulary of grunts and snorts, to say how well the two artists do their thing. Tomeu Moray’s 50’s cinema colour palette adds a muted sheen to the work. This is clearly a crisis not of Universes’, but of confidence and conscience. It may be the best crisis yet.