Heroes in Crisis has been a complete failure as a big event. The story has been stunningly shallow. There has been next to zero plot progression with each issue. The slow pacing has made this story feel stuck in neutral and made it quite a boring “big event.” The lack of content and emptiness with each issue has made this an unsatisfying read.
Heroes in Crisis #6 is now well past the midway point of this nine issue mini-series. Tom King only has four issues left to actually deliver something resembling real content and plot progression. King absolutely must kick this story into high gear and deliver a tightly plotted issue that moves with a purpose and delivers plenty of new substantial content. Otherwise, this “big event” is going to continue to be stuck in a dull malaise. Time is running out. Let’s hope King is able to resurrect this corpse of a “big event” and deliver an exciting ending to this story. Let’s do this review for Heroes in Crisis #6.
Words: Tom King
Art: Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads
Colors: Mitch Gerads and Tomeu Morey
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Gnarrk, Wally West, and Harley Quinn talking to the Sanctuary camera about how many people they have saved. Gnarrk says the has saved many. Wally says he has not saved enough. Harley says that she does not need to save anyone.
We then cut to Gnarrk back in prehistoric times. Gnarrk is lying on top of a sleeping mastodon. Gnarrk recites a poem and says that times were better in the prehistoric era. (Gnarrk reciting poetry. Yup. This is what readers demand in their big events. Riveting start.)
We cut to Barry and Wally hugging each other. Barry says that he did not forget Wally. Barry says that Wally represents the return of hope. Wally asks where is his family. (This is replaying the vents of DC Universe: Rebirth #1.)
We cut to Harley in Poison Ivy’s room at Sanctuary. Harley says that she is bored. Ivy says that Harley is not supposed to be here. Harley says she knows but at least she won’t be bored. (Riveting stuff. Really. Just fantastic.)
We cut to Gnarrk using a rock to kill a sabertooth tiger. Gnarrk says that life was tough, brutal and short in the prehistoric era. That there was no time for knowledge, reading, or art.
We cut to Wally hugging Superman, then Nightwing, then Donna Troy, and then Roy Harper. They are all so happy that Wally is back. That he is hope. Wally looks sad because he is without his family.
We cut to Harley and Poison Ivy in Sanctuary’s version of the Danger Room. They have created a hologram of the Joker. Harley punches the Joker hologram. Poison Ivy says that Harley has to be feel better now. Harley has tears in her eyes.
We cut to Gnarrk riding a mastodon. Gnarrk talks about how much happier he was in the prehistoric era. That he was a part of nature.
We cut to Wally with his fellow Titans. Wally says that the Titans were happy to have him back. Wally asks how can he be hope without his wife and two kids.
We cut back to the Sanctuary hologram room. Harley and Poison ivy are sitting on the floor holding hands. Harley says punching Joker did not help. Poison Ivy apologizes. Harley says she is supposed to be here to help Poison Ivy. That Ivy is the sick one. Harley says that she is the crazy one.
We cut to Gnarrk killing another caveman in a battle for some food. Gnarrk says that death was always present in the prehistoric era. So, Gnarrk always worried about death. In the present day life is always there. Therefore, Gnarrk now always worries about life.
We cut to Wally lying in bed. Wally says that when he returned everyone else around him became themselves again. However, Wally is still alone. The Sanctuary computer then says that Wally is not alone.
We cut to the Sanctuary hologram room where Ivy and Harley are watching Joker say a joke and then kill himself. Harley laughs.
We cut to Gnarrk riding a mastodon. Gnarrk says that he misses the prehistoric era. The hologram of the prehistoric era fades away and Gnarrk is in the Sanctuary hologram room. Suddenly, the Sanctuary computer’s emergency alert goes off and tells everyone to proceed to the nearest exit.
We cut to Wally bathed in white light saying “Wait. Slow down.” The Sanctuary computer’s emergency alert is going off and telling everyone to proceed to the nearest exit.
We cut to Ivy and Harley in the Sanctuary hologram room. The Sanctuary computer’s emergency alert goes off telling everyone to head to the nearest exit. Ivy tells Harley to wait here and that this is just a drill. Ivy says that she will be back. Ivy tells Harley to come look for here if she does not return in more than a few minutes.
We cut to Gnarrk outside of Sanctuary and dying from the attack by the Sanctuary killer. Gnarrk is not scared to die and has lived a good life for a caveman and done much. Gnarrk then dies.
We cut to Wally holding Roy Harper’s corpse. Suddenly, Booster Gold kills Wally from behind with an energy blast. We see Harley standing in the room. Booster says that he did not know that Harley was here. Harley says that she was not supposed to be here. Booster asks where Harley is supposed to be. Harley says that she was supposed to be somewhere fun.
We get a page of Commander Steel, Blue Jay, Solstice, Kid Devil, Hot Spot, Nemesis, Arsenal, Gunfire, and Tattooed Man all talking to the Sanctuary camera about how many people they have saved. End of issue.
The Good: Heroes in Crisis #6 brings this big event to all new lows in terms of plotting and pacing. However, i have to satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity…so…let’s see what I can come up with.
Well, King did give the reader some new information in Heroes in Crisis #6. Yes, it came in the second to last page of the issue. Sure, the reader is so bored out of the head by the time that we get to the second to last page that they have given up all hope and do not really care about this new information at all. Still, beggars can’t be choosers so let us appreciate that we at least got a single page of actual new content and plot progression in Heroes in Crisis #6.
That new information was the page showing Booster Gold killing Wally West from behind. This is contrary to what we have seen before which was Harley Quinn killing Wally West from behind. Clearly, something strange is going on because both cannot have taken place. So, it would seem like someone is messing with the minds of Booster Gold and Harley Quinn. Unfortunately, this story has been so slow, boring, and pointless that I no longer care at all and do not have any desire to wonder about the possible explanations for this scene.
We also have the one page scene of Wally bathed in light when the Sanctuary alarm goes off. Wally says, “Wait. Slow down.” It is possible that this is a Wally West from another time period visiting the Wally West in Sanctuary and telling him to slow down. We do know that in Heroes in Crisis #3 that Wally immediately raced off at super speed to go investigate who was attacking Sanctuary. And we do know that Wally’s corpse is not the real Wally since it was revealed in Heroes in Crisis #5 that Wally’s corpse is only a five days old.
Clearly, something involving the time stream and/or the Speed Force is at work with the Wally West plot-line. At this point, this plot-line involving Wally West is the only thing interesting that King has going at this point in the story. Despite how slow and boring this entire big event has been over six issues, I still remain interested to find out what is going on with Wally West. Of course, in the end, I think most readers want Wally and his family to return to the DCU as good as new.
Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads combine to deliver plenty of quality artwork. Both Mann and Gerads are incredibly talented and are capable of generating beautiful looking art. It is unfortunate that King gives both artists literally nothing to work with at all in Heroes in Crisis #6. King continues to be an artist’s worst friend this side of Brian Bendis.
Having said that, while Heroes in Crisis is about as substantive as a bag of cotton candy, the fact remains that the art on this title has been consistently good. Mann and Gerads manage to compliment each other so that Heroes in Crisis #6 never has a schizophrenic look. Both artists do an excellent job with the facial expression of the various characters. All in all, Heroes in Crisis #6 is a pleasant issue to look at.
The Bad: Heroes in Crisis #6 is abysmal. There is just no getting around that fact. Once again, King completely fails to deliver any new content or meaningful plot progression at all. Heroes in Crisis #6 is nothing short of robbing the reader of $4.00 and giving them absolutely nothing in return. DC should be embarrassed and ashamed of what they have done with Heroes in Crisis.
I remain more convinced than ever that King had an idea for a small and introspective four issue story for Heroes in Crisis. IN fact, King probably had the story entitled something completely different that absolutely did not included the word “Crisis” in it. King then took his small four issue character driven story to DC’s editorial staff and then the editorial staff mucked things up completely.
It certainly seems that DC’s editorial staff decided that King’s small and quiet four issue story should be a “big event” and bloated up to nine issues. And then the editorial staff decided that since this should be a “big event” that it should have the name “Crisis” in it.
DC then told King all of this and King’s response was probably to mutter to himself, “Fuuuuuck…this story was not supposed to be a big event. And I definitely do not have enough story to stretch this from four issues to nine issues.” DC then handed King a fat check and King told the editorial staff, “I love your changes! No problem! I will get right on it!”
That is simply the only explanation that I can thin of for this complete dumpster fire of a big event. It is stunning how Heroes in Crisis has been so slow, meandering, and utterly lacking in substance over a whopping six issues. There are only three issues left in this story and it feels like King has done next to nothing at all with this story since Heroes In Crisis #1.
Heroes in Crisis is truly a big event about nothing. There is nothing at all to this big event. The Seinfeld Show is one of TV’s biggest hit shows. It has long been referred to as the “show about nothing.” Heroes in Crisis is the comic book equivalent to an episode of The Seinfeld Show: a big event about nothing.
It is to the point where Heroes in Crisis feels farcical given how slow and pointless it has been. It seems that King is purposely trying to create a big event about literally nothing as some sort of absurdist commentary about mainstream super hero big events. Either that, or that King is just pulling off the biggest troll job ever in seeing how many readers will spend their hard earned money for a big event about nothing.
It is stunning how little King delivers in Heroes in Crisis #6 when we are so deep into this story. We only have three issues left. The plotting and pacing on Heroes in Crisis #6 is atrocious. King wanders about and simply recycles old information in an effort to stretch out this story. This results in an issue that is such a boring read.
King begins Heroes in Crisis #6 with one page of nine small panels of talking heads about how many people Gnarrk, Wally, and Harley saved. This is a reoccurring defect with King’s approach to each issue in Heroes in Crisis. Starting every issue off with tiny panels of talking heads that deliver nothing of substance makes for a bland and dull way to kick off an issue.
We then get a one page splash shot of Gnarrk lying on a sleeping mastodon. Gnarrk is a no-name character who was killed off in Heroes in Crisis #1. There is zero reason for the reader to even remotely care about Gnarrk. That is a result of the poor foundation for Heroes in Crisis in general.
King chose to have all of these D-list characters killed off-panel with the start of Heroes in Crisis #1. If King had spent some time growing these no-name characters for several issues and then had them killed off in the halfway point of this story then the reader would be invested in their characters. However, that is not what happened.
There is absolutely no reason at all for the reader to be invested in these D-list characters. There is absolutely no reason for the reader to care about these D-list characters. And since these D-list characters were killed at the start of the story the reader has even less of a reason to care about these characters. Therefore, these flashback scenes of these D-list characters like Gnarrk have absolutely no impact at all on the reader. Instead, the reader views these scenes as nothing more than boring filler.
We then get a one page recap of Wally’s return from DC Universe Rebirth #1. Again. This is nothing new. This is just King wasting time by recycling old material.
King then gives us a one page scene of Harley telling Ivy that she is bored. That’s it. An entire page. Enjoy.
Next is a one page scene of Gnarrk killing a sabertooth tiger and saying that life was short and violent in the prehistoric age. Again this is a really simple plot-line. Gnarrk is a caveman who views the prehistoric era as a more natural time period where he felt more connected to everything around him. Yes, it was violent and short, but it had its simple beauty. This is not a concept idea. King could have given all of this in a more enjoyable and concise fashion in just two pages instead of the five pages that King wastes on the Gnarrk flashback scenes.
We then get a one page scene with Wally being hugged by his various friends and remaining sad. Yup. This is more old material that King is reheating and serving back to the reader like stale leftovers. We already have gotten this information over and over again in DC Universe Rebirth #1, in the pages of the Flash, and in earlier issues of Heroes in Crisis. Rehashing old information comes across as annoying time wasting.
Next is a one page scene of Harley punching Joker in the hologram room. Again, this is old well worn material. Everyone knows about Joker and Harley’s past relationship and Harley’s feelings about Joker. King is doing absolutely nothing new or interesting at all with this scene. This is just more fluff.
Then we get a one page of Gnarrk riding a mastodon and talking about life in the prehistoric age. Again, it is just King taking a shallow plot-line and just milking everything possible that he can from it in order to try and stretch this thin story over as many pages as possible.
King then gives us a one page of Wally with the Titans and Wally missing his family. Again, we have gotten this over and over on multiple titles up to this point. This is just King literally having nothing new to say at all and simply mailing it in with Heroes in Crisis #6.
We then get a full page splash shot of Harley and Ivy holding hands. Seriously, King has zero clue about how to use a full page splash shot. This page gives zero content and zero plot progression. This scene is also shallow with absolutely no genuine character work in the least. Instead, the reader just gets a bunch of pointless rambling Bendis speak.
King then serves up a one page of Gnarrk killing another caveman. At this point in Heroes in Crisis #6, the reader wonders why they even bothered buying this issue. The reader then questions not just the point of this issue but the general direction of their life that caused them to even purchase Heroes in Crisis #6 in the first place.
King then gives the reader a one page of Wally in bed still missing his family. Yes. We get it. This basic plot that Wally misses his family has been mercilessly hammered into the ground at this point.
Next is a one page scene of Joker telling a joke and killing himself. Again, we get nothing that is new. This is just more of King meandering about and not even giving us quality character work. It is just another shallow scene designed to waste time.
We then get a one page of Gnarrk leaving the hologram room and the alert going off. This is more filler that simply recycles the moment from Heroes In Crisis #3 of when the various heroes at the Sanctuary hear the emergency warning right before the Sanctuary killer strikes.
Next is a one page of Wally hearing the alarm and telling himself to slow down. Is this something new? Maybe. The problem is that this issue has been so painfully slow and pointless that the reader no longer cares.
Then we get a one page of Ivy and Harley in the hologram room with the Sanctuary alarm going off. Again, this is simply recycling the Sanctuary emergency alarm telling the heroes to exit immediately that we already saw in Heroes in Crisis #3. Except, that King does mix in some more navel gazing with this scene.
King then gives us a one page of Gnarrk dying. The problem is that nobody cares about this D-list character who was killed off-panel at the beginning of Heroes in Crisis #1. And, honestly, at this point in Heroes in Crisis #6, I can safely say that this is more Gnarrk than any reader would ever ask for.
Next is a one page of Wally holding Roy. We have seen this exact scene several times before in prior issues of Heroes in Crisis. King just keeps recycling old material and trying to repackage it as something new.
Then we get the one page of Booster killing Wally and Harley witnessing it. HOLY SHIT! ACTUAL NEW CONTENT AND PLOT PROGRESSION. WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE? Again, this is interesting and we addressed it in the Positive section of this review. But, this one page scene was the case of way too little way too late.
King then ends Heroes in Crisis #6 with a one page scene of nine panels of nine different D-list characters talking about how many people they have saved. A shit ending to a shit issue. Actually, upon reflection, this is actually the most fitting ending to Heroes in Crisis #6.
It would be one thing to get a single issue like Heroes in Crisis #6 during the span of a nine issue big event. I could stomach that. Sometimes, a writer needs an issue to regroup and slow things down to get ready for the big push to the ends. However, having to read six issues in a row like Heroes in Crisis #6 is maddening. It is bad enough to get two issues like this one in a nine issue big event. Having to suffer through six in a row is simply unforgivable. DC should be embarrassed trying to pass Heroes in Crisis off as a legitimate big event.
Unfortunately, the defects in Heroes in Crisis #6 are not limited to just the glacially slow pacing or the complete lack of plot progression. This issue is also plagued with a shallow story and bland character work. This makes a slow and boring story even more unpalatable to the reader.
Heroes in Crisis #6 is another shallow read. King continues to do nothing more than merely skim across the surface of such weight topics like depression, post traumatic distress syndrome, and the importance of mental therapy. King never conducts any substantive investigation of these issues. Instead, King just sticks to the surface of these issues and delivers the right buzz words along with unoriginal and hackneyed moments in “examining” these issues.
The scenes with Harley and Ivy as well as the scenes with Gnarrk never deliver any genuine discussions over the weighty issues that Heroes in Crisis claims to discuss. Harley and Ivy are underdeveloped and rely on babbling dialogue and vague generalities rather than ever having a meaningful and visceral discussion of the topics at hand. Gnarrk’s scenes are nothing more than a sterile and cold dissertation on the subject at hand.
This leads to another one of the big problems with the story in Heroes in Crisis. There is no heart to this story at all. There is no soul. There are no visceral emotions or passions. King’s story comes across as cold and mechanical. The reader feels completely disconnected from the story and the characters.
Of course, to further complicate matters is the fact that King is delivering a character driven story but forgot to create any quality character work or dialogue. All of the characters are either stereotypes like Harley Quinn or simply bland and colorless like pretty much every other character in this story. The dialogue is generic. None of the characters have a well developed and unique external voice. All of this creates a story where there is absolutely zero chemistry between the various characters. The characters in Heroes in Crisis #6 feel like a bunch of dolls lifelessly dancing through each scene.
Overall: Heroes in Crisis #6 reminds me of one of those old episodes of The Simpsons where they would simply do a flashback episode and shamelessly cut and past in scenes from old episodes. King puts forth no effort at all to deliver any new content to the reader in this issue. Heroes in Crisis #6 is creatively lazy and boring.
DC is swindling readers out of $4 of their hard earned money in return for an issue consisting of nothing at all. There is absolutely zero reason for any ready to fork over their money for Heroes in Crisis #6. I would only recommend this issue to the most die-hard Tom King fans. For everyone else, steer well clear of this issue.