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‘Heroes in Crisis #1’ (review)

Written by Tom King
Illustrated by Clay Mann
Published by DC Comics


“Do it and we both fall.”
“Yeah, well… Duh.”

Once upon a time, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, built a special place.

A small American homestead, populated with sophisticated, human-looking therapist androids, (as one does), created to be a place of peace and healing for the super-powered hero population. Someplace simple and good and kind to decompress from the traumatic horrors of their profession. A marvelous technological oasis amidst the insanity of their lives.

A refuge they called Sanctuary.

But then… something bad happened.

Like, really bad. I mean it, it’s dark. So be prepared going in.

Even for superstar scribe Tom King this is a significant departure from everyday comic book fare. And it will leave a bad taste in the mouths of some, straightaway, pretty much right out of the gates.

Which is daring I’ll give them that. Although, keep in mind, this is Tom King we’re talking about, so there’s bound to be more here than meets the eye. And Booster Gold features prominently, which, if you’ve been reading Batman lately, may give you an idea of the sort of twists and turns that are likely yet to ensue.

Because something is broken. And Booster may be the only one with the background to appreciate just how much. Much less fix it.

Not that he’s seeing things all that clearly just now. In fact, as far as we can tell, Booster’s in a dark, dark place. Hard to imagine lower. Even Harley Quinn may not quite stack up. And that’s a striking contrast. Stabby even.

But even if all that’s as true as it seems – and it may be, it very well may – it won’t be the whole story. Because, end of the day, end of the timeline, Booster’s a hero. A superhero, to boot. And that means there’s always more to the story. And always a path to redemption.

He says, with confidence.

Guess we’ll see. One thing we can say about Tom King by now, is we can’t really know just how this will all play out. Where exactly he’s going to take us, what sacrifices will be made along the way. Or which will stick.

What we can say, I think with greater confidence, is that King, along with compatriot artist Clay Mann – whose art here, is the best I’ve ever seen it – is gearing up here to tell us the story of a lifetime. A deep, complex, psychologically astute and socially relevant story, that the genre of comics is maybe uniquely suited to tell.

A singular and compelling story.

Very possibly, an American masterpiece.

I’m not kidding. In fact, I’ll just predict now, that this series will become the comic event of the year. And considering that means eclipsing the other comic event of the year that King has already given us with the Mister Miracle limited series about to wrap up next month, that is… really saying something.

But let’s face it – much as I love Mister Miracle (and I do), I have to say that Booster Gold really is a character whose story deserves this type of A-level treatment. Heck, after all this time, I’d say it pretty much demands it.

Think about it. All-American golden boy, with yeah ok, a bit of a shaky internal compass, who nonetheless enlists himself in the cause of justice, donning the uniform to fight villainy and tyranny, leaving behind all he has ever known in the name of glory, adventure and the good fight, who finds a family in his compatriots, his band of brothers, and, in time, nobility in a cause greater than himself, only to lose it all, and himself too, adrift in time, alone, forgotten, and returned to a reality he does not quite recognize and cannot quite reconcile with.

He’s seen too much. He knows too much. And he cannot find peace. Because something is broken.

Something only he can see. And he cannot truly tell anymore where the break began, or where it will end.

Only that it’s left him alienated, unmoored, lacking meaning or certainty to define his life… and maybe more than a little broken himself.

What happens to a guy like that when returning home and reaching out for solace only confirms his worst fears: that really, there’s no going back? Not for him.

Like I say, American masterpiece.

But hold on, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We don’t really know what’s happened yet. Just the fallout so far. So far, all the rest is just guesswork. After all, Harley’s got her own American trauma to work with. And she’s certainly not alone.

Though I have to say it makes the old-school in me wonder if Booster knew he’d be running into his buddy Wally West at Sanctuary. Or whether what they have in common is really likely to have helped matters any…

We’re all going to have to wait and see. First though, we have to deal with the revelations of this issue. And if King is just getting started, as he seems keen to suggest, then one way or another it may be a little while before we see any sign of things getting much better.

But that surely is the point.

Can’t have a serious hero story without uncovering some serious gold. And you can’t do that, if it doesn’t first get very, very dark.

Next issue: Old friends? Old strangers.


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