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Wednesday, June 20, 2018 

We don't need another murder mystery with "crisis" in the title

After 14 years since they produced the offensive Identity Crisis miniseries, Dan DiDio's again boomeranging back on the same kind of publicity stunts that cost them audience in the long run, with the latest being "Heroes in Crisis", which is supposed to explore heroes suffering traumas:
DC Comics have revealed the next major comic book project from Batman writer Tom King. King will be reuniting with artist Clay Mann for Heroes in Crisis, a new seven-issue miniseries that explores the impact a life of violence has on DC's most vulnerable heroes.

The word "Crisis" has important connotations in the DC Universe, but this story looks to be more in line with 2004's Identity Crisis than cosmic-focused tales like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Final Crisis. Heroes in Crisis introduces a counseling center called Sanctuary, one created by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and geared towards helping their fellow heroes cope with the crushing psychological pressures of the job. The series will explore the role Sanctuary serves in the superhuman community and what happens when it fails. The series will also be set against the backdrop of a murder mystery, not unlike Identity Crisis before it.
I think that's reason enough to avoid such a monstrosity. I am sick and tired of these murder mysteries, especially if they're all for the sake of shock. I don't expect, in the post-Weinstein era, that they'll be stupid enough to make light of serious issues like sexual assault, and they may know better at this point than to reduce every female cast member to a cardboard figure, but the whole premise they're using has become toxic by this point, and nobody should be foolish to waste money on these kind of publicity stunts.

To make matters worse, IGN's fawning over the upcoming stgory by justifying it, even as their columnist, oddly enough is partially willing to admit Identity Crisis was an artistic failure:
Normally, the word "Crisis" in the title of a DC comic means the story features a massive conflict with the potential to reshape the very fabric of the multiverse. But this word can also have a much smaller and more personal meaning. We saw that when 2004's Identity Crisis explored a murder mystery tied to a dark secret from the Justice League's past. The newly announced Heroes in Crisis, from writer Tom King and artist Clay Mann, seems to be cut from that cloth rather than more mindbogglingly expansive stories like Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis. And where Identity Crisis ultimately failed to live up to its promise as an intimate, character-driven DC crossover, Heroes in Crisis stands a good chance of succeeding thanks to the very real, very difficult subject matter it plans to address.
Oh, really? If this is a crossover, it basically diminishes the potential. I'm sure a premise like trauma exploration is entirely workable, but it would have to be self-contained to individual titles, and not shoved into nearly every book, accompanied by a murder mystery we could all do without.
Identity Crisis was certainly a page-turner, with each new issue delivering shocking plot twists that kept readers talking and speculating throughout the summer and fall of 2004. It played a big role in popularizing the summer crossover event at DC and Marvel again after those stories had fallen out of favor in the late '90s. But Identity Crisis was ultimately bogged down by its emphasis on twists. It became a story more fueled by shock value than deep, introspective storytelling. It wound up doing lasting harm to beloved characters like Ralph and Sue Dibny, Jean Loring and Zatanna for fleeting short-term gains.
Well congratulations, I'm glad to see somebody admits being minor characters doesn't automatically make them sacrificial lambs to some repellent Blame-America metaphor post 9-11. But it's still laughable how they describe the mini as a "page-turner", and it goes without saying anybody who was predisposed to accepting IC as though it there were no valid arguments to make about the gender bigotry and violent moments littered around the story, which also served as a cheap excuse to kill off white Firestorm Ronnie Raymond. And it goes without saying that the justification for crossover events is also a huge mistake ignoring how it takes away creative/stand-alone freedom for all but the most knee-jerk writers who aren't in it for the glory of making a mark through independency. This is exactly why comicdom lost so much in terms of sales, because crossovers in the long run took away a lot of meaning from superhero comics.
There's no guarantee Heroes in Crisis won't make similar mistakes, but King's track record suggests otherwise. He's not a writer averse to pushing characters in strange, unexpected directions. However, there's usually a method behind the madness. And looking back at the first two years of his Batman run, it's clear just how much King has been building to Heroes in Crisis and the concept of Sanctuary, a place for psychologically battered heroes to find help. So much of the series has been about heroes dealing with lingering trauma, whether it's Gotham Girl grieving for her late brother, Poison Ivy losing control, Booster Gold ruining the timeline in a misguided attempt to help Batman, or even Bruce himself revealing that he contemplated suicide in his youth.
Well in that case, don't do it as part of a crossover event; do it as a self-contained story sans the murder mysteries we don't need. It makes no difference who the victims are, heroes or villains, it's not good for the state of superhero comicdom. And if "dark secrets" play any part in this farce, that'll only make it more obvious this is intended more for publicity and shock's sake than meaningful writing.

Here's what CBR is telling about it:
Sanctuary, the DC Universe’s superhero trauma center, may be a place for heroes and villains to seek help, but what happens when the top-secret location is the home for a full-blown murder mystery? And how will the superhero community respond when the suspects are two of its higher profile members?

These are the questions writer Tom King and artist Clay Mann raise in Heroes In Crisis #1. DC’s solicitation text for the September issue reveals patients have begun to turn up dead in Sanctuary, and the prime suspects are Harley Quinn and Booster Gold.
Even if they're not the culprits, it makes no difference, this is only furthering embarrassments better avoided. Is this supposed to be about traumas, or about investigating mysteries? In fact, why is this trauma center supposed to be for supervillains to attend as well as superheroes? Is this some kind of moral equivalence in motion?

That part too, renders the story fishy. And it's one more reason why the audience should not be fooled into buying this stupid excuse for a tale any more than Marvel's own crossover atrocities of recent.

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