I had high hopes that this issue, based on its synopsis, would finally move the mark for Heroes in Crisis. I had hoped that the “mystery” of this story would finally grow some legs and allow for plot progression. I had hoped that the various plot threads would fall into place after the set-up of Heroes in Crisis #5. My hopes are far from reality.
There’s honestly not a whole lot that I can say about this issue. It’s not great. In fact, this is easily the worst issue of this title’s run – which has already been marred for being controversial and lacking in plot or story. If it wasn’t already insulting that King was dragging us along at a snail’s pace, this issue, unfortunately, is a complete waste of time and money. Nothing happens here that hasn’t already been disclosed concerning the murder mystery. Nothing. What is touted to be a “reveal” in this issue’s solicitation, is ultimately nothing more than a confirmation of what we already knew was potentially (most likely?) the reality… But even then, it’s handled so ineptly and briefly, and with the same mystique that’s shrouded the entire series, that it’s still uncertain whether the moment is reliably believable.
Even where this title has excelled previously – the confessional type displays featuring heroes discussing their traumas – it fails to do any good here. There are some commentaries about saving lives, but nothing about it is impactful or deep. A narrative is clearly trying to be formed here, but nothing in it is fresh, original, or fully realized.
There is, however, a heavy focus on Sanctuary, but again, there isn’t anything new. We get to see more of the characters utilizing the A.I., but the scenes rendered no new information that is pertinent to the story itself. In fact, the only new information that seems to be presented is an analysis of Gnarrk. Which is in and of itself… weird. Yes, there are some nice sentiments to “simpler time” which weren’t really simple but potentially more dangerous – a commentary that could have been an interesting stance of “nothing ever really gets better” – yet King never drove that idea home.
Instead, King opted to indulge on his desire to include prose and poetry in an attempt to try and elevate this book to something it’s not. It’s a tactic that worked incredibly well in Omega Men, but is becoming tired, uninspired, and desperate now. It doesn’t help that this specific instance comes from Gnarrk. The guy can’t form complete sentences. Hell, he can barely form understandable fragments. But despite that, we’re supposed to believe he can read, understand, and recite poetry perfectly? If he has that type of understanding and grasp of literature and the English language as he appears to here, he’d be able to speak properly. I’ve been trying to give King the benefit of the doubt concerning characterization; I’ve stood behind the concept that nothing is as it seems. Unfortunately, each issue makes it more clear that this is nothing more than King indulging on his own desires. He’s putting his personal interests above characters who have been around for decades, and it’s disrespectful.
That being said, this issue contains his best use of Harley yet, and I genuinely loved Harley and Ivy’s interactions here! They’re fun, and both completely on point considering the circumstances. That’s what makes Tom King’s projects so infuriating though. When he gets it right, he’s 100% on-point. It’s a glimpse of what could be some of the greatest character work we’ve ever seen. But then, within the same issue, he’ll completely miss the mark on more egregious levels… And it will happen multiple times. It’s a mess. With three issues left, I have little hope for Heroes in Crisis.
This issue “reveals” that Booster Gold is the killer… The problem here is that we can’t consider this a reveal because it was already established in the very first issue, except it was presented with skepticism. Now it’s presented here as an actual reveal, but it’s still shrouded in so much mystique that one has to beg the question, “Can this be trusted?” We’ve now had six issues, and other than looking deeper into the range of trauma heroes can endure, we’ve introduced concepts and plots that haven’t been touched on since. Puddlers? Nothing. Backlash from the public? Nothing. Further investigations from heroes? Nothing. Anything that was set up or established is the previous issue? Nothing. There’s three issues left. King needs to actually do something if he has any hope of saving face.
The Art: Despite my dissatisfaction with the script of this issue, Mitch Gerards delivers with the art and storytelling. I mean, let’s face it, the guy one an Eisner award for a reason. His panels and pages were so much more impactful than the words, and I’m sad that the general public won’t necessarily notice or identify that.
I despised the portions of the script dealing with Gnarrk… but I loved the work Gerards did here. The scenes depicting peacefulness and serenity can actually be felt due to the way Gerards illustrated the moment and atmosphere. In the same respect, the depictions of Gnarrk fighting for survival are equally intense and violent. You can actually see the Gnarrk’s desire to live. You feel his anxiety. It’s an unspoken commentary about survival – an element to opposing evil that is rarely explored. There’s a story here, in this concept, and it is unfortunately neglected by the script itself.
- Mitch Gerards’ wonderful art.
- You enjoy seeing Harley and Ivy together.
Overall: Heroes in Crisis #6 is nothing more than a continuation of Tom King’s self-indulgence. There was potential for Heroes in Crisis, but that appears to have been abandoned for a murder mystery that King is incapable of actually writing. It’s honestly embarrassing. Each month it’s becoming more and more clear that there’s no story here, and I’m done defending King’s blatant disrespect for characters and readers.