cover image Heroes in Crisis

Heroes in Crisis

Tom King and Clay Mann. DC, $29.99 (248p) ISBN 978-1-4012-9142-6

King (the Mister Miracle series) considers the psychological toll of being a hero in this unusual and provocative narrative set in the DC Comics universe. There’s been a mass murder at Sanctuary, a psychiatric facility where superheroes (and some of their adversaries) immerse themselves in holographic therapy, replaying stuck points in their past. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman join up to solve the case, while Batman antagonist Harley Quinn and hero Booster Gold attempt to resolve it in parallel, mutually suspicious of each other. Interspersed are alternately amusing and affecting confessionals from heroes and villains who reveal their anxieties while in treatment at Sanctuary. Typical of the genre, the dénouement requires familiarity with an array of other DC story lines. But King’s writing is incisive and witty, paired with energetic artwork by Mann, who excels with acrobatic fight scenes, such as a page of the Flash zipping about at super-speed and battling Booster Gold. It’s left as an open question whether the “counseling machine” approach at Sanctuary was effective, having removed the human element in a (failed) effort at secrecy. King has a military background, and beneath the dramatic superhero character play is a heartfelt message that even the most stoic heroes deserve help processing their trauma. [em](Oct.) [/em]