*To those who do not know what they’re about to read. Well, here’s your warning. The following is just Zechs being Zechs. Grammatical errors are bound to happen you down three bottles of This Ain’t Your Dad’s Root Beer or several soft drinks mixed with Captain Morgan trying to comprehend some of the comics he reads.
Further, these reviews began originally on the Outhousers forums. Those looking for a numerical system as per my other reviews best look else. Some folk who love me blurting out raw brutally honest shit, and rather have that be on the front page. So there. You’ve been warned what you’re about to read. If anything now it’s on your head for not following the warnings above.
** Secondary warning there be spoilers in this review.
So here we are. The issue where it’s all basically revealed. Who murdered everyone in Sanctuary, how, and all the clues. And– the revelations aren’t going to sit well with fans of this character, even if there is one issue to go and time travel is in play.
But see here’s the thing I realized while many are comparing the reveal this issue akin to Hal Jordan’s decent into Parallax, given that the very idea seems so Marvel Comic-like. I’m going to compare it to one of their’s: Speedball.
Here you had this fun-loving character. A fan favorite. Then Civil War came around. He was one of the parts that kicked off the event. He then became so wracked with guilt from said event he donned a new identity all-together Penance. With his new “edgy” persona he then joined a team of super villains who were being forced to do good, a sort of “Suicide Squad” as it were.
Does this sound like a certain character I’m describing in Heroes in Crisis #8? It sounds very much like it’ll take the same amount of years the character in this issue who gets “Speedballed”.
However, DC Comics converting heroes into villains has always been a thing they’ve done. Besides Hal Jordan, Jason Todd, Superboy Prime, Mary Marvel, Dr. Fate, and Cassandra Cain have all turned “heel” (aka villain) with various results of it working Superboy Prime, Dr. Fate, and Jason Todd) or it blowing up in DC’s faces forcing them to retcon it post haste (or make it even worse).
This need of edge, or bite has always been at the company since 2004 when certain parties attained power within. So this isn’t a new thing. However, given Rebirth line ushered in a promise of legacy and DC heroes doing some actual super hero stuff. Representing hope. No character represented that more than Wally West.
Why many fans gravitated back to DC because of fan favorites returning as such. They wanted to see that promise of hope and goodness be rewarded. Instead, the ultimate tale of that, Then DC event Metal happened. While fun and all, there was an old DC edge to it. We watched various multiverse Batmen turn evil.
Then the Bat Wedding was pulled, and this very comic was announced while the comic that was supposed to end the Rebirth line, Doomsday Clock has been mysteriously been pushed back. Now it’s months away from a finale and with an end in sight of hopefully October (yet I digress it probably will be delayed). Why is that though?
Why a comic such as Heroes in Crisis has been a hurdle to deal with. We’ve been so used to DC being good to these characters, and now lately it seems they’re back to the “Marvel” way of thinking. That the only way to rationally emphasize with the reader is to bring some edge and darkness.
Funny thing is though, back in the early 90s when I fully embraced comics I did “embrace the darkness” that was the Death of Superman. Because you knew full well, they would bring the character back. That there was always hope.
Now reading a DC Comic nowadays feels like a fool’s hope. You want to read something hopeful, or if you want a dark edge. That’s the point of the various characters in these various comics. If you want edge you have Batman or a variation of his comic. If you want light you pick up a Flash comic. But when you blur the line grey and everything isn’t as different. You destroy that outlet that some are seeking when reading a Big 2 comic.
Suddenly a happy hopeful Wally West is now a gritty damaged version. When his biggest villain in Zoom aka Hunter Zolomon spouted that the only way to make Wally a better hero was via great tragedy. Yet thru that Wally persevered. He beat Zoom multiple times.
When you basically, well prove the villain right and he’s won. Well, what’s the point any more?
And that’s basically this comic: what’s the point?
For eight issues we’ve been leading to a mystery that has no real red herring. No real twist apparently. This issue fully lays out the who did the murder, gives a motive, and why they covered it up.
The evidence sprinkled across? Just stuff to throw us and Batman/Flash off. On the bright side at least there isn’t a flamethrower involved. Still, it feels like all this was basically leading to one thing readers didn’t want to see. The revelation of a character they enjoyed go so different than what they’re used too.
If we’re going to compare with Marvel again, I will with writer Tom King’s other work Vision. Now that was a masterful comic and it was dark. So why is that being received well, yet this comic isn’t? The simple reason the character of the Vision has the dimension for this darkness. It’s in that character’s history. The murderer of those at Sanctuary? Sadly, they don’t no matter how much King has been telling us for eight issues.
It’s why this issue will probably be as polarizing again akin to when Hal Jordan becoming Parallax or Cassandra Cain/Mary Marvel going evil for asinine reason. The facts presented this issue are absurd as we spent eight issues building basically to this crack, and the payoff just doesn’t work because that’s not what this character has shown us in the past.
The worse part of it all is what does this say for people with actual depression? That there’s no hope? That there is no reasonable outlet to deal with depression at all?
Heroes in Crisis is a well intended, but utter failure of a mess (like an article of mine ironically). Even with an issue to go, the end just seems too predictable at this point even if it was spoiled even prior to the comic’s release (PIP! PIP!). All that’s left is fans who read it.
Now all that’s left is given the pattern we’ve seen is to wonder how long it’ll take DC Comics to undo this flop or will they even? We’re getting ever closer to SDCC, and well I can already foresee the company withdrawing fan questions because they’ll know the negative response in being asked when it’ll take to undo the mess done to the characters in this issue.
But sadly, the damage is already there. The character now has this in their history. Will it be a different case than what happened to Speedball that’s hard to foresee. Worse case scenario it’ll be like Hank Pym, and the character will never recover from it. Sadly be defined by the trait alone.
All, that I know is that this comic made me sick. Not for the reasons why, but just that this cycle of edge or wanting to be something it really isn’t. Because if that’s the case. That’s why Metal exists. Why we have DCceased or Injustice. For outlets of “elsewordly” tales to show these heroes from other universes with flaws. But you crack at the actual source. All you’re truly going to do is get negative reviews, to which I fully give this series.
If this series wanted to be Identity Crisis‘s successor then it has earned it. But not for any good reason at all that it wants to strive for. Instead, much like that comic only be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Why that story has now been picked apart by many and instead of remembered fondly is now infamous. Sadly, this will be the fate of this comic as well. Not even one more issue can save it given the ride we’ve been thru so far.