Heroes in Crisis #5
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann (Moore on select pages)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
In that past four issues it has been explained that there was a massacre at Sanctuary (where heroes go for mental health help), someone named “The Puddler” is behind this, the video footage of the superheroes’ confessions are in possession of this antagonist, and the general public now knows about the events at Sanctuary. Wrapped up in this is both Booster Gold and Harley Quinn who are prime suspects in the murders that have taken place. Overall still very little is known, and no concrete facts have presented themselves.
This might be the most basic issue yet. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold have now teamed up to try and get to the bottom of the murders, Superman hosts a press conference about the events that have taken place, and Batgirl and Harley Quinn work on tracking Booster Gold down. Very little forward momentum in this issue with only the most minor revelations taking place.
Tom King needs to move this story along now. We are past the halfway point and I feel this story is standing still. There is no clear antagonist, and the mysteries are unfolding at an almost painfully slow rate. It is strange as the first three issue really built momentum forward and brought the stakes up at a nice pace. This issue, and the previous one, have done almost nothing for the main plot. Answers come to us like drips from a leaking faucet, which would work if King was writing a mystery novel and not a lynchpin comic book event. All you get here is a slight revelation on Wally West’s death and a red glove. This is issue #5 out of 9, the comic is either going to have to be heavily back loaded or the story won’t be much more than a bunch of dead bodies in act one. Even more frustrating is that Tom King knows how to frame a story and create single issues that are wholly interesting while building on a larger plot. His Batman is incredible, Mister Miracle is a modern day classic, Vision is the best the character has ever been written, and Sheriff of Babylon is an incredibly gripping war story. Heroes in Crisis is losing its shine, and if it doesn’t turn around and amp up soon I don’t know how this can be salvaged. The writing of the characters are well done. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold’s friendship comes through and there are some fun moments in their dialogue. Superman’s speech in this issue is powerful and thought provoking. Commander Steel’s nine panel grid moment is also a nice nod. In a story that features so much death, it is a nice reminder of how little death in the comic book world matters. I just wish these moments were surrounded by a story that seemed to matter more. There is a possibility if the next issues are all great that this one will read better in a trade. As it stands this comic is lackluster, a cardinal sin for any comic with the word “Crisis” in the title.
Clay Mann, and Moore, pick up the art duties here and it is stronger than the last issue. There is no longer a strange and awkward sexual charge in the art. The double page spread of Booster and Beetle at the opening of the book is some great storytelling without printing a single word. The only aspect of the art that suffers is that the story doesn’t give it enough to make it matter. It’s all drawn well, but after the first spread, nothing really stands out.