Writer Tom King and artist Clay Mann take us on a journey of examination. Heroes In Crisis #1 starts us with a barrage of questions. What is the price that superheroes pay to be our saviors?
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
Tom King is really good at introducing a different perspective to superhero comics. He has a superb knack for shining a light on the corners of comic books that we still haven’t paid much attention to. Heroes In Crisis promises to be another example of his ability to make us think differently about these colorful heroes we all celebrate getting punched in the face over and over again.
The experience of reading Heroes In Crisis #1 is a heavy one. Right out of the gate it’s clear that this is going to be an emotional experience–possibly a dreadful one as well. There have been hints and glimpses of Sanctuary throughout a number of DC comics recently. We’re still only shown bits and pieces, putting the full picture together on our own–which is a smart decision.
It appears that the holy trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman tried to create a place for superheroes to heal. The focus is more on the psychological than physical for once. The concept is fresh, it’s one that makes you think “how did nobody think of this already?”–another of Tom King’s specialties.
The testimonial segments are powerful, it’s a perfect plot device for this heavy emotional story. We’re given an intimate page with a handful of characters that makes the plot developments all the more tragic and effective. Heroes In Crisis feels like it’s more of a case study than your average superhero crossover story.
King’s dialogue and pacing are phenomenal. You can feel every character’s pain and anguish through just their words. The well-documented history of King’s career pre-comics clearly lends a hand, this story feels extremely personal and makes the entire experience gut-wrenching and believable.
All the death that seems to have befallen the Sanctuary raises a lot of questions. I highly doubt we’re going to lose Wally West after all we just went through to get him back. Either way, the scene where Superman arrives to the scene is devastating.
Artist Clay Mann does spectacular work, his pairing with King was a very wise choice. The emotional impact hits the reader directly in the chest during the testimonials. There’s a palpable tension from page one, we really don’t know what to expect and we’re terrified of what’s on the next page.
The subtle changes on character faces during the testimonials have massive implications. This isn’t just a comic book with a bunch of superheroes crying into their hands. These are all very strong and proud individuals that are letting it all out for the first time. Mann delivers very powerful imagery that speaks to every reader who’s had to deal with tragedy of any sort.
Colorist Tomeu Morey utilizes the colorful heroes but keeps the vibrancy grounded. These are still our ridiculous heroes, but their color schemes are dolled out tastefully. Every sighting of blood is striking, adding more tension to the experience. Letterer Clayton Cowles had plenty to do, there’s a ton of great lettering on display without overdoing it.
Heroes In Crisis #1 is an extremely heavy read, it forces readers to contemplate another side of being a superhero and the toll that it takes. There are a ton of questions yet to be answered, it will be virtually impossible to read this first issue and not pick up the second.
You can jump into this without being caught up on the whole world of DC Comics. Tom King looks to have another monster of a story, he’s on another level of comic book creating.