Just when you think that Heroes in Crisis could not get any slower, any more boring, or any more pointless, Tom King seems to do the impossible and roll out another issue of this “Big Event” that massively underwhelms the reader. There are only three issues left to Heroes in Crisis. King is running out of time to actually deliver something that resembles plot progression and actual content. Heroes In Crisis #7 has to finally deliver some quality plot progression, a story that moves quickly and has plenty of real content. Let’s do this review for Heroes in Crisis #7.
Words: Tom King
Art: Clay Mann, Travis Moore, and Jorge Fornes
Colors: 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 Wally West picking a dead rose out of a bed of flowers. Wally recites a poem from his wedding with Linda. Wally zaps it with his blue lightning Speed Force powers and brings the rose back to life. (Well…that is certainly a Speed Force power that we have never seen before. Wally now has a great future ahead of him as a florist. He can go dumpster diving for dead flowers, bring them to life, and then sell them in pretty arraignments. Think of the cost savings and the massive profit margins!)
We then see Wally standing in a large bed of flowers. (Yessssss. Tom King continues that revered Heroes in Crisis tradition of the worst double page splash shots in the history of comics. Win.)
We cut to Harley Quinn attacking Booster Gold. During the attack Harley nonsensically sings nursery rhymes. Blue Beetle and Batgirl just idly stand around and watch the fight. (Instead of…you know…being actual heroes and stopping the pointless fighting. Cool.)
Batgirl babbles on about how she normally teams with respectable heroes like Batman. Blue Beetle says he usually works with Booster. Batgirl says that means that Blue Beetle totally understands the situation that Batgirl is in having to work with Harley. (Ummmm…No. I would have never equated Booster Gold’s character to Harley’s character in a zillion years. But, ok.)
We cut to Wally West talking to the Sanctuary camera. Wally says that it is his first day at Sanctuary and he knows what is wrong with him and is ready to deal with his problems. (WOW!! THIS IS SUCH NEW INFORMATION!!)
We cut to Barry Allen racing back into the Batcave. Batman says “Booster?” Barry responds with garbled nonsensical dialogue because he is moving so fast.
We cut back to Harley still battling Booster. Batgirl says that she thought that Booster’s shield was broken. Blue Beetle says that he used his Beetle ship to repair Booster’s shield. Batgirl asks if it is the same ship that is directly tied to Blue Beetle’s consciousness. Blue Beetle says yes it is and that he needs to find a more permanent solution.
Batgirl then backhand Blue Beetle with very little momentum and breaks his nose and knocks him out. (Sweet. Sweet. Ted gets taken out like a total bitch. Cool. Cool. Also, does this mean that Blue Beetle’s ship crashes into the ground every time that he loses consciousness? That seems like a seriously fatal design flaw.) WIth that Booster loses his shield. Batgirl tells Harley no killing several times.
We shift to Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera. Wally says that he has gotten through week one. That he feels like he has progressed. He then says that Linda, Jai, and Iris are all gone. (Do you ever read a comic book and feel like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day? Just asking.)
We hop back to the Batcave. Barry keeps racing in and out from various parts of the world and telling Batman that he still cannot locate Booster Gold anywhere. Batman says that he is monitoring all of Ted Kord Industries communications and has Rip Hunter accessing the time-break files. That they just need to be patient. That they will find Booster. Batman then tells Barry that he can stop running around the world and just use the Bat-radio. Barry says that he is fast. Batman says that he is not sure that Barry’s statement is technically true. Then Batman ruminates on certain conditions that might allow for Barry to be faster than the Bat-radio. (Randomly placed bad humor in an otherwise completely soulless and dour story. Brilliant.)
We hop back to Booster lying on the floor telling Harley to kill him. Booster says that he failed. That he failed into the future. He failed the past. That he failed and failed again. Booster says that he is ready.
Harley continues to sing a stupid song and picks up a wooden stake and plunges it deep into Booster. But, wait! Harley actually plunged the wooden stake into the ground next to Booster’s head. (Wow. Totally did not see that coming. At all.) Harley then curses and collapses onto the ground next to Booster. (This is actually what I would like to do at this point in this issue.) The two lay on the ground. Booster asks why Harley sings the nursery rhymes. Harley says that when you are superheroing you are supposed to talk while you fight. Harley says that she is not very good at superheroing. Booster agrees and says he is not good at it, either.
We cut to Wally West talking to the Sanctuary camera. Wally says that he has finished Week 2. Wally then re-tells his origin and the events of Flashpoint that led to the disappearance of his family. (Thrilling. This is entirely new information that has never been given to us in this entire “big event.”)
We shift to Wally zapping another flower with his blue lightning Speed Force powers. The flower grows to a large size. The pedals open and we see Poison Ivy inside with her body regrowing all of its muscles and tendons.
We hop back to our four loser super heroes. Booster explains that Wally’s corpse was five days older than it was when they saw him die. So, Wally is not dead yet. But, that was a few days ago. So, Wally is only going to be alive for a few more hours.
Batgirl says that if someone is pulling Wally back in time then there must be a way to rescue him. Blue Beetle asks if they should go to the Justice League and Batman for help. Batgirl says that it is better to stay small. Booster agrees and says that the Justice League thinks they are all crazy, anyway. Booster says that everyone thinks that they are nothing. However, maybe everyone is wrong and that they are not nothing. That maybe they are the right people to solve this mystery. Booster says, “Blue and Gold.” Harley says, “The Dynamicker Due.” Batgirl says, “No.”
We cut to the Batcave. Batman tells Barry that Booster and Blue Beetle have triggered the alarms. That they have them.
We hop back to Wally and Poison Ivy sitting among the flowers. Barry apologizes to Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy says that Wally helped her and has nothing to be sorry about. Wally says that he did not help Ivy. That he hurt her. Wally says that he is sorry that she has to see his death. We then see a second Wally West standing there looking at Wally and Ivy.
We cut back to Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera. Wally says that it is now the end of Week 3. Wally says that he did not think that it would take three weeks. Wally then says nothing and puts his hands over his face. Wally says that he can’t wait for Week 4. End of issue.
The Good: Thank God for Clay Mann, Travis Moore, and Jorge Fornes. Without their artwork, Heroes in Crisis #7 would have been a brutally bad read to have to slog through. Once again, the only real positive to Heroes in Crisis is the artwork. Normally, artwork by committee results in a terrible looking issue. However, amazingly enough, Mann, Moore, and Fornes do a good job with the art in this issue. Heroes in Crisis #7 is certainly a pleasant looking issue.
Tom King’s writing continues to be a disappointment. Having said that, Heroes in Crisis #7 did offer a bit of plot progression. Sure, the reader had to wait all the way to page 19 to get actual plot progression, but it was a cool moment. This moment was the rebirth of Poison Ivy. This was an excellent scene. It is a real shame that King has not given us more moments like this one.
The two page scene of Wally bringing Ivy back to life and then the one page scene with the two Wally Wests and Poison Ivy were by far and away the three best pages of Heroes in Crisis #7. And it is not even close. These three pages were the only moments where the story actually offered real plot progression and actual substantive content.
I really enjoyed the three pages with Wally and Ivy. This was quality writing that offered the reader several surprises and a plot line that actually has some life to it. King surpasses the reader with the rebirth of Poison Ivy and then surprises them again with the appearance of a second Wally West. This is an actual plot line that is intriguing and gets the reader excited to learn more about what King has planned for Wally and Ivy.
I liked the symbolism with Wally and Poison Ivy, as well. Wally has been the symbol of Hope ever since he returned in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Wally is the beacon of Hope that ripped through the darkness of the New 52 and brought with it the real DCU and a new tone and identity for DC Comics. King has spent time making Poison Ivy the symbol of Love. That is one thing that King has certainly gotten across to the reader in the scene with Ivy and Harley in prior issues of Heroes in Crisis.
The image of Hope birthing Love is a touching moment and a rare display of emotion and depth in Heroes in Crisis. I am fascinated to see how King explains how Wally West was able to use his powers to bring Poison Ivy back to life. This is a huge question that needs to be answered. It is certainly something no Flash has ever done before.
Of course, the even bigger mystery is who is pulling Wally through time. And why there are two Wally Wests. This is absolutely fascinating and it truly the first moment in Heroes in Crisis where King has actually grabbed my interest and gotten me excited for the next issue.
The Bad: Heroes in Crisis #7 suffers from the exact same glaring weaknesses and defects of all of the prior issues of this big event. King offers up another slow and boring read. While I enjoyed the three pages with Wally and Poison Ivy, the fact remains that those three pages came attached to 21 pages of time-wasting filler.
Heroes in Crisis #7 continues the trend of being awfully plotted and paced. It has become blatantly obvious that King never meant Heroes in Crisis to be anything more than a four issue mini-series. This issue meanders about with little point or purpose. Scenes are crammed full of time-wasting material as King nudges the story forward at a glacially slow pace.
King kicks Heroes in Crisis #7 off with one page of Wally reciting a poem and bringing a dead rose to life. We then get a double page splash shot of Wally standing in a flower bed. We get no dialogue or narration. King continues his trend of kicking off each issue of Heroes in Crisis in the most slow and boring manner possible. King also continues to display zero feel for how to employ a double page splash shot. It is just a complete waste of two pages. But, when you have a thin story designed for four issues having to be stretched over nine issue then this is a great way to eat up pages.
We then get two pages of Booster and Harley fighting while Batgirl and Blue Beetle watch. This is pure filler. The action is not that great. There is no psychology at all to the fight scene. And Batgirl and Blue Beetle do nothing but deliver mindless banter.
King then gives us the trademark nine tiny panel page of the same character talking to the Sanctuary camera. It is visually dull and lacks any new content at all. King just has Wally rehash the exact same things we have heard him say in the prior six issues. There is literally nothing new or of value to be found in this page.
Next is a one page scene of Barry running around and telling Batman that he cannot find Booster. This is obviously nothing more than King stalling for time. There is nothing of value in this scene other than to waste time and fill a page. At this point, the reader is seven pages into Heroes in Crisis #7 and has gotten zero new content or anything at all resembling real substance to the story.
We then get a three page scene of Harley still fighting Booster and Batgirl punking out Blue Beetle. This is just more mindless banter and fighting. This “fight” scene is now at five pages and delivers zero real substance or content. It is all designed just to waste time. The prior two pages and these three pages that make up the five-page fight could have all been easily done in two pages. It is just clear that King is dragging his feet and stalling for time.
King then delivers another nine panel page of Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera. This scene completely lacks content. It is just Wally listing his family members and then saying that they are gone. That is it. Not only is this scene lacking content, but it also is just egregious and blatant recycling of material that we have gotten from Wally numerous times in prior issues of Heroes In Crisis. We get it. Wally’s family is gone. This is a simple concept that was painfully clear even before Heroes in Crisis began. At this point in the issue, King is just giving the reader the middle finger and is not even remotely trying to hide the fact that he is just recycling dialogue and scenes to fill up pages in this issue.
We then get a one page scene of Batman telling Flash to just use the Bat-radio instead of running around the globe to try to find Booster. Again, this page offers zero substantive content. It is just a pointless scene with some incredibly awkward and poorly timed “humor.” Heroes in Crisis #7 continues the trend of each issue being dour and serious. So, these oddly timed and weird insertions of “humor” feel incredibly forced and inappropriate given the story. They feel like a rude and unwelcome speed bump in the story that pulls the reader out of the story.
King then gives us a page of just Booster’s head as he lies on the floor and calls himself a loser. An entire page. The reader already knows this. King has taken great pains to hammer into the reader that Booster is a loser all throughout the prior issues of Heroes in Crisis. This page is the perfect example of being dull and boring while stalling for time and offering no new content and simply recycling old material.
We then get two pages of Harley stabbing the floor next to Booster and then lying on the floor next to Booster. That is it. Two entire pages. We then get an entire page of Harley and Booster lying on the floor together and saying that they are not good at superheroing. This is King taking his ability to create pure filler to an entirely new level.
King then gives us a page of nine little panels with Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera. Much like the prior two pages with Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera, this page fails to give the reader absolutely any substantive content or new information at all. This is just King continuing to recycle information that he has already given us multiple times in earlier issues of Heroes in Crisis.
So, at this point, the reader is now seventeen pages into Heroes in Crisis #7 and literally nothing has happened at all. We then get the two page scene with Wally bringing Poison Ivy back to life. This was a great scene.
King then pumps the brakes believing that the reader might actually be overwhelmed after getting two entire pages of new content and plot progression. We then get two pages of Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Batgirl, and Harley all deciding to save Wally on their own rather than going to the Justice League for help.
Boy, we could have gotten to this scene near the beginning of this issue if King had created a properly plotted and paced story. The fight between Harley and Booster did not need to be more than two pages. Then we could have had one page with Harley and Booster realizing they have failed as superheroing. Then we could have gotten to these two pages. That would have been far more interesting and would have created an issue with far superior plotting and pacing. Instead, the reader had to suffer through nine pages of filler involving this plot line in order to get to this two page scene.
We then get a one page scene with Batman telling Barry that Booster has tripped the alarms.
King then gives us the one page with the two Wally Wests and Poison Ivy. This page alone with the prior two pages involving Wally and Ivy are the only reasons why the reader does not fall into a coma while reading Heroes in Crisis #7.
King ends Heroes in Crisis #7 with a complete thud. We get a nine panel page of Wally simply holding his face in his hands. King has already hammered through the ground the simply concept of Wally missing his family in all of the prior issues of Heroes in Crisis. This was a dull page full of recycled filler. Which is actually such an appropriate ending for such a boring issue with next to zero content and plot progression.
Heroes in Crisis #7 presents the read with another shallow read. With the exception of the three pages involving Wally and Ivy, this story lacks any depth or texture to it. The story continues to completely lack heart or passion. King has created a soulless story that slowly moves forward in a mechanical fashion toward the end.
There are only two issues left to Heroes In Crisis and the reader is left wondering what is the point of this entire story. I mean, other than a cheap cash grab by DC. King never performs any serious or substantive examination into the weighty matter of post traumatic distress syndrome or depression. King only pays lip service to those issues employing buzz words and keeps the story completely on the surface. King also never dives deeply into the importance of mental health therapy and the stigma that society places upon such treatment. King also fails to deliver a quality police procedural where the reader is presented with a complex and fascinating “who done it?” story.
Remember the Puddlers? You know, the supposed bad guy(s) behind the entire attack on Sanctuary. The Puddlers is the villainous force that hacked into Sanctuary’s computer and obtained all of the confidential videos of all the super hero patients at Sanctuary. The Puddlers who sent bits of this hacked information to Lois Lane with the threat to expose Sanctuary’s secrets as a way to further their agenda to portray super heroes as frauds. Yeah, we have not gotten any plot progression on the Puddler storyline at all since Heroes in Crisis #2. That is beyond pathetic plotting and pacing. With only two issues left to Heroes in Crisis, King is going to have to hit the panic button to properly wrap up this main plot line.
King’s dialogue and character work continue to be pedestrian at best and atrocious at worst. King writes Batgirl much like he does Blue Beetle. And those are two characters that I would never think to write in a similar fashion. King also casts Batgirl in with the role of a “loser” hero along with Harley, Booster and Blue Beetle. This is also contrary to how Batgirl’s character has ever been portrayed. Allin all, King’s Batgirl is one-dimensional and rather unimpressive.
King’s Harley Quinn continues to be annoying and one-dimensional. King reduces Harley to a moronic character to the point that the reader begins to wish that a giant anvil would suddenly come falling out of the sky and crush Harley to death.
King continues to write Booster Gold in a highly schizophrenic fashion. Booster crashes from the lowest of the lows ready to die to the highest of the highs and ready to be the greatest super hero ever. It is way to random and jarring. It lacks internal logic and only serves to give the reader whiplash in the way that King handles Booster’s character.
King continues to display zero knowledge of Booster’s character. King’s version of Booster continues to operate as if he had never experienced any of his amazing character growth during 52 and afterward in his own title. The sooner Booster’s character is taken away from King the better.
Another character that King appears to have zero knowledge of at all is Wally West. King has Wally acting in the same “wacky” schizophrenic manner as Booster Gold. The three pages with Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera come off completely bizarre to any reader who knows Wally’s character.
King’s dialogue is also unimpressive. Some of the characters, like Batgirl and Blue Beetle, get identical Bendis speak. Some of the other characters just get generic external voices. And then some, like Harley Quinn and Booster Gold, have external voices that sound like caricatures. None of the characters possess well fleshed out and unique sounding external voices.
The lack of character work and the poor dialogue create a toxic stew where there is zero chemistry at all between the characters. All of the characters progress soullessly through this issue like marionettes. These character inject very little life and emotion into the story.
I have to touch on the cover to Heroes in Crisis #7 for a moment. I never comment on covers, but I have to with this one. First, I love that the cover depicts a scene that never happens anywhere in this issue. Great false advertising by DC. Second, I felt exactly like Superman once I got to the end of Heroes in Crisis #7. It sums up my reaction perfectly. Bravo, DC for unwittingly picking a perfect cover for this issue.
Now, while I did enjoy the artwork to Heroes in Crisis #7, I must point out that Fornes is quite different looking from the rest of the artwork. Mann and Moore manage to mesh their artwork together in a seamless fashion in order to create a rather consistent looking issue. However, Fornes’s art is so different looking that it does create a jarring distinction between Fornes’ scenes and Mann and Moore’s scenes. Readers who dislike artwork by committee that creates an issue with a bit of a disjointed look may not appreciate the art in Heroes in Crisis #7 as much as I appreciated the art.
Overall: Heroes in Crisis #7 was another incredibly disappointing issue. This is a slow and dull issue that lacks any real content or plot progression. DC should be ashamed for stealing the reader’s $4 for an issue that only delivers three pages of actual content. There is literally no reason for any reader to waste their hard-earned money purchasing Heroes in Crisis #7. Save your money for the latest issue of Doomsday Clock.
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