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‘Heroes in Crisis #6’ (review)

Written by Tom King
Illustrated by Mitch Gerads
Published by DC Comics

 

“I bet you think this is savin’. All this psychological pitter-patter. Well, let me say, one shrink to another… You’re not doin’ no one no good.”

I’m tempted to say that I didn’t like this latest issue of Heroes in Crisis much, simply because it seems to consist largely of a rehash of material we already know.

I’m reminded that this nine-issue limited series was originally slated to be eight, and find myself wondering if this is an issue that our production team wedged in, perhaps to better align the series with on-going continuity, or to accommodate some other un-knowable editorial imperative.

Or maybe Tom King simply felt a little more contextual runway was in order.

The whole of the script returns us once more to further scenes at Sanctuary just prior to the incident of the massacre, in a montage of character pieces of a style we are all now quite familiar with, which seem to do little more than to flesh out details that have already been provided to us before now…

…Mostly.

That qualifier is important, however. And of course, some things do happen.

And some thoughts do come to mind.

For one thing, author Tom King’s choice of character sketches does narrow our focus down to a thread of narrative that will undoubtedly begin to make quite a lot more sense very soon.

…Though not quite yet.

Take Wally West, whose grief at being returned to a reality that does not contain his family, is both poignant and, especially as Mr. King lays it out for us here, very easy to have sympathy for.

Or Harley Quinn, whose own history of trauma is interwoven so tightly between motivations of love and violence, the need for cathartic revenge, and the need for healing. Certainly, a subject of note, and one likely to be shared by many who find themselves seeking treatment at Sanctuary, even if Harley’s own particular brand of crazy was never meant to interface with the systems there…

Both are very interesting subjects of contemplation. And along with a third, rather brilliant look at the hidden complexities to be found in one-time Teen Titan and out-of-time caveman, Gnarrk, we are reminded that, in fact, much of what goes on in Sanctuary is fertile ground for contemplation. Contemplation, consideration, synthesis, and, presumably… conclusions.

And, if the overarching theme of this issue is any indication, that is exactly what Sanctuary has been actively doing.

In fact, we are given reason to believe that perhaps Sanctuary had at some point begun to consider that the motivations and the purpose of the heroes it has been tasked with trying to help, closely mirror its own prime directives. And, we might imagine, that perhaps this led the sophisticated A.I. to begin a meditation of its own – and an inquiry – played out through its work with its guests, about what that mission truly entails…

Whatever the actual case may be, what is clear is that despite the color and the textures of the narrative threads being explored, this is a substantially contemplative issue.

A little philosophic, a little cryptic, even a little socratic… and, if you were hoping for any action, or anything like an answer to the question on this month’s cover, probably a little frustrating.

Up until the very end that is, in a scene that should look very familiar to us by now… except that it is not.

Leading one to wonder just how much of what our characters have seen so far is real… and how much may be illusion. Shadows against the wall.

A disquieting thought. Because if our heroes are up against a threat with power over the very nature of perception, who’s to say what can be trusted to be real, and what is not.

Or for that matter, who can be trusted, and who cannot.

Indeed, it makes one wonder just how much of what we’ve seen so far, is really true at all…

Next Issue: An interplay of shadows

 

 

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