Review: HEROES IN CRISIS #9
[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed by: Sean Blumenshine
The most-talked-about miniseries of the year reaches its stunning finale! The mystery behind the murders at Sanctuary is solved, but the mind behind it is one the heroes never expected. With their deepest secrets exposed, the Trinity has to consider how to carry on. Should the tragedy cause them to redouble their efforts to help their hurting comrades, or will they need to close up shop? The answers will be found in the ashes of this final showdown, and the fates of Booster Gold, Harley Quinn and the rest hang in the balance.
The cover by Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey is great. It’s a wonderful portrait of Wally that hints at story elements of the book. But it also evokes the mood of the issue well.
Mann’s interior art is also great. The characters are expressive and distinct. This issue relies entirely on character; there’s no big action. That makes Mann’s job a little harder because he can’t create any crazy spectacle. He has to create that kind of engagement with superheroes just talking. And he does so very well.
Thematically, I like what this issue, and the entire story, says. People have trauma and sometimes that can lead to mistakes. Tom King brings a level of nuance to this idea that I like. Wally is not a super villain; he lost control. But he still is responsible for these deaths and there are consequences for that.
I have not loved Harley Quinn in this series but the scene in which she confronts Wally is my favorite moment of the issue and is much more in line with her character than how she’s behaved in previous issue.
I appreciate that King does not reverse Wally’s actions. If Wally went back, he would be creating Flashpoint again. While one major character comes back, the rest do not. It is a comic book universe so they will be brought back at some point but I like that this story doesn’t get the happiest of endings. This is a tragedy.
While I do like the themes, the problem is the execution. The themes are not subtext; it’s all dialogue. The characters spend the entire issue explaining everything. There is a lot of standing around talking about interesting things. The ideas are interesting but there’s little else here.
Structurally, the issue is a little over the place. Like previous issues, there are constant cutaways to the confessions. They don’t add much and feel intrusive especially in this final issue.
This issue is fine. I like the intentions and the thematic ideas are great. I love what this story has to say about trauma and how King applies that to super heroes. But the issue doesn’t have much beyond these ideas. This story doesn’t have much to offer in terms of plot or even character development. I’m not sure why Batgirl is even in this or why the Trinity was such a big part of the early issues only to disappear from the narrative. The story comes from a good place and that is worth something even if I didn’t find it that engaging to read.