Heroes In Crisis no. 1

Heroes in Crisis no. 1 (Art by Clay Mann)

Among the many new stories being created by DC after their Rebirth phase, one I’ve been the most excited for has been Heroes in Crisis. This is a murder-mystery story, written by Tom King (Batman, Mister Miracle), that examines what violence does to a society and I couldn’t be any more excited about it.

I watched, for months, and took in as much information as I could get my hands on about the mini-series event (HiC will only have 9 issues) so when issue one dropped, I was in awe of several things that King and DC had done.

Even now, having read the issue twice (and plans to read it again and again) there is so much to dissect and talk about that it’s hard to know where to begin.

I guess I’ll start with what I would “rate” this event. Since there’s only issue one as of this article, it’s hard to tell just how amazing or horrible this story could turn out to be. That being said, King has made an impression on me, and the story he’s crafted in just this first issue alone was powerful. I’ve got high hopes that at the end of issue nine we’ll have closure, and be able to reflect on it and all that’s being said. And it is with that optimism that I don’t think I can shout loud enough to say: On a scale of Toss It, Forget It, Read It, or Buy It.

Read It

I’d love, love, love to claim you should buy this story, but since issue one dropped just two weeks ago, I’m erring on the side of caution. If you love to write (doesn’t matter what) I think this issue deserves to be looked at and referenced in some way when you want to learn how to subvert expectations of your readers, and really grab at their emotions.

The reason for this starts with how DC chose to release information about this story leading up to it’s launch in late September. DC teased enough information to keep readers interested, while simultaneously not giving us enough. We knew it would touch on heroes and their trauma, we knew that there would be a murder-mystery, and we even knew which heroes to expect up-in-front of the story.

And it’s because of that build-up that I believe the tragic twist in issue hits readers so hard. DC cultivated an expectation from its readers, and even delivered on that expectation, but it was something completely out of left field that made many a reader’s heart sink (or social media profile blow-up). And that in-and-of itself deserves to be examined.

Then there’s King and his handling of the story. Overall it’s a slow, steady pace, that weaves in the important questions of a murder-mystery: Who and Why? Specifically, who committed the murder, and why did they do it?

And because this is a murder-mystery, that’s a good pace to set. Having read issue one, I don’t expect any heavy action/fight scenes to go down. I expect this to be a slow, deliberate examination where everything won’t be immediate or easily explained. I expect it to be complicated (to a degree) or at least more complex than being resolved with a punch, or batarang.

Now, at first glance King gives you two options as to the “who” question (though, as the story progresses there may be a yet-to-be-revealed third option) and wants you to make an assumption. Do you believe the story of one character or the other? The “why” question is still without options, however, so anything from “crazed psycho #2354” to “someone didn’t want heroes to be healed” and anything in-between, or outside of those choices is on the table.

This story is going to hinge a lot on suspense, and because it’s released on a monthly schedule there’ll be a lot of anticipation for each issue. I know I’m already chomping at the bit, and I cannot wait to rush to my nearest LCS and pick up issue no. 2.

I feel like a lot of current readers will enjoy the emotional ties they have to the characters that pop-up, but I also feel as if newer readers won’t get the same visceral reaction that I see right now from others.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope years from now I can recommend HiC to new readers with the same passion and excitement that I do when I recommend DC’s Rebirth. Or like when I talk to more veteran collectors who have to recommend a story like “Quiver” or “Flashpoint” to me.

But for now I’m just going to enjoy the story. I hope you do to.