Heroes in Crisis has been a massive flop here at The Revolution. Heroes in Crisis has been so intensely slow and boring. I feel like the Israelites wandering around the desert for 40 years with no hope in sight when I read this “big event.” I have no confidence at all in Heroes in Crisis #8. Maybe King will pull a Moses and make this 40 years of wandering worth it. But, I am keeping my expectations extraordinarily low. Let’s hit this review for Heroes in Crisis #8.
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads and Travis Moore
Colors: Mitch Gerads
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 talking to the Sanctuary camera after the attack on Sanctuary. Wally introduces himself. (Yes. Because nobody would know who he is.) Wally says that this is his confession. (Yay.)
Wally drones on about how he was at Sanctuary for three weeks and that he was there to recover. Wally says that he is not great with words. (You would never know that by the massive exposition dump we get in the form of Wally’s narration for this entire issue.)
Wally says that he felt alone. That Sanctuary kept telling Wally that he was not alone. That other heroes where here with similar struggles. However, Wally said that he felt alone.
Wally said that he thought all of the other heroes were fine and that only he had a problem. Wally said that he thought he was sick and all of the other heroes in the world were cool.
Wally says that maybe it was Linda not remembering that set him down this path. (Duh. No shit, Sherlock.) Wally says that all he wanted was his family and now he felt alone. (Yes, We clearly understood this point. Back in Heroes in Crisis #1. Well, actually, even before that in the pages of The Flash.)
We cut to Wally racing through the Speed Force. Wally says that he started thinking that the Sanctuary was fake. That it was all just set up for him. That no other super hero had actually ever been here. Wally says that he felt alone. (Right. I totally got that point. King must assume that all readers have the intelligence of a 6 six year old.)
Sanctuary said that it was anonymous. That all the information kept on the other heroes was deleted. The data was cracked into billions of bits and scattered in a billion places. That it would take the average man a billion years to put the data back together. Wally says that it would only take the fastest man alive a few seconds to put all the data back together again.
We cut to Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera again. Wally says that he collected all fo the data and pieced it back together. IN an instant, Wally saw every confession, ever accident, and every horror of all of the hereos. In an instant, Wally experienced the totality of a thousand heroes in crisis. For a moment, Wally was not alone. Wally say that it broke him.
We cut to Wally racing outside of Sanctuary. This triggered the emergency alarm ordering the heroes in Sanctuary to proceed to the nearest exit. Wally says that the Speed Force is the greatest power and the greatest burden. That trying to control the Speed Force takes control every second of every day. That you have to make the world’s most dangerous weapon stay put. We then see all of the heroes racing out of Sanctuary due to the emergency alarm.
However, after seeing all of that hurt for one second on that day, Wally lost control of the Speed Force. We see Wally scream, “NO.” We see the Speed Force blast out of him and kill all of the various heroes from Sanctuary. (This. Is. So. Stupid.)
Wally then raced back into Sanctuary. Wally had reprogrammed Sanctuary and had control over it. Wally saw that Booster Gold and Harley Quinn were still inside of Sanctuary. So, Wally used his super speed to put both Booster and Harley back into the Chamber. Then reprogrammed their V.R. so it looked like they had not left. Wally had Sanctuary show them the dead bodies. Then Wally had Sanctuary showed Harley killing Wally to Booster. Then Wally showed Booster killing Wally to Harley.
Wally went to steal some of Booster’s tech. This activated Booster’s shield. But, Wally disabled the shield. Wally then used Booster’s tech to travel five days into the future. (Can’t Wally just travel to the future own his own using the Speed Force?) Wally found himself and Poison Ivy five days into the future.
Future Wally says that there is a rose floating in the Gotham river and for Past Wally to find it and plant it. Future Wally then says that there is one more thing. We don’t hear what that one more thing is. Future Wally then says that is it. Past Wally then kills Future Wally. (I think that is what happen. The panel and dialogue is absolutely not clear at all exactly what is going on at this moment.)
Wally then brings the dead body of Future Wally to Sanctuary. Wally sets up the crime scene so it looks like Wally was killed along with the other heroes. Wally then carried Booster out of Sanctuary at super speed. Booster immediately fled the scene. Then Wally carried Harley out of Sanctuary at super speed. Harley immediately chased after Booster.
Wally then destroyed the Sanctuary robots and wrote all the gibberish on the wall about the Puddlers. Wally then explains the definition of the word puddler. (Thrilling. Except, we already knew this from Heroes in Crisis #1.)
We cut back to Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera. Wally says that his plan distracted everyone. Meanwhile, Wally had done what he did and was free. That this gave Wally five days from the moment he lost control to the moment he would come and kill himself. Five days for Wally to do something as good as what he had done bad.
Wally says, “Five days, Ms. Lane, for me to…Finally. Tell the truth.” End of issue.
The Good: Heroes in Crisis #8 was another brutally dull read. But, there were still a few positives to this issue. I have to admit that King actually did give the reader some plot progression with Heroes in Crisis #8. Yes, it is the second to last issue of this big event, but we finally got some actual new information about the murders at Sanctuary.
The big reveal is that Wally West is the killer. Oh, trust me we will visit this in far more depth in the Bad section of this review. However, at least King did actually deliver some answers, satisfying or not, in Heroes in Crisis #8. This is really the entire issue. There is nothing more of real substance than the reveal of Wally as the killer. I will agree that this reveal was a swerve. I will agree that this information was new information. And I will agree that the story was moved forward at least a little bit. That is about all I can say is good concerning the writing in Heroes in Crisis #8.
Mitch Gerads and Travis Moore combine to deliver some quality artwork. Now, Heroes In Crisis #8 does not deliver the same quality of artwork as some of the prior issues. Still, there are plenty of excellent panels. Gerads and Moore do an admirable job breathing life and emotion into King’s rather repetitive, emotionally detached and shallow story. Both artists deserve massive praise for trying to draw the reader in as close as possible given the material King gives them in this issue.
The artists do an awesome job facing the Speed Force. I love the double page splash shot of Wally losing control of the Speed Force and killing all of the heroes. That was an incredibly dramatic moment. I also loved the one page splash shot of Wally sitting on the front steps of Sanctuary after he finished staging the scene. It is incredible how artwork can be solely responsible for providing all of the emotion in a comic book.
The Bad: Heroes in Crisis #8 suffers from the same plotting and pacing issues that have haunted this entire big event. Once again, so much of Heroes in Crisis #8 is either pure filler or just repetitive narration served up the reader as reheated content that we have already received numerous times before. The reader becomes numb and bored and slips into a coma as we have to be told ad nauseam why Wally is at Sanctuary and why he feels alone. The constant recycling of why the heroes are at Sanctuary and what Sanctuary stands for becomes an ever present and annoying drone in the back of the reader’s skull.
King begins Heroes in Crisis #8 by burning an entire page with Wally simply introducing himself. King could not be any more obvious in his blatant attempt to stretch out a thin story for as long as possible. And beginning an issue in this manner simply makes the reader groan and slump down in their seat as they prepare for an issue that is going to be another dull slog through the wasteland that is Heroes in Crisis.
We then get a whopping four pages of the various heroes at Sanctuary with Wally narrating how long he has been at Sanctuary and why he was here. Then Wally talks about how he feels alone and misses his family. Again, the poor reader has gotten all of this information so many different times in all of the prior issues. This information has been regurgitated into our brain multiple times at this point of the story. The reader is now five pages into the second to last issue of this big event and has gotten exactly zero new content.
King then delivers two pages with Wally racing through the Speed Force. Wally explains how Sanctuary was anonymous and telling us how it deleted all the information and was encrypted. Again, all of this is just recycled information. We have had this explained and re-explained to us time and time again by Batman. The beleaguered reader is now seven pages into Heroes in Crisis #8 with no new content at all.
We then get the one page shot of Wally in the Speed Force and reconstructing the data from Sanctuary. Hey! We are on the eighth page of the issue and finally got some actual new content!
The reader then gets a one page scene with Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera saying that he rebuilt all of the deleted information from Sanctuary and experienced all of the hours of a thousand heroes in crisis. Look! More new content! This is two pages in a row! This might be a record for Heroes in Crisis.
King then delivers a four page scene of Wally in the field outside of Sanctuary, losing control of the Speed Force, and killing all of the heroes. Again, the reader gets an embarrassment of riches in the form of new content. The reader has now experienced six full pages of new content. This is easily the most consecutive pages of new content that the reader has ever gotten during the entirety of Heroes in Crisis. King is on a roll.
We then get three pages of Wally dealing with Booster, Harley and then going into the future to talk to Future Wally. This was not terribly interesting and was certainly done in a slapdash fashion. These three pages feel sloppy and rushed as King does a cursory job telling the reader what Wally did after killing everyone. This is what happens when the writer burns seven issues performing zero plot progression and then panics when they realize they only have two issues left to tie up their meandering story.
And after eight pages of actual new content, King slams on the brakes and brings the story to a halt. We get three pages of Wally setting up the crime scene to throw everyone off his trail. This scene was way too slow, long and drawn out. The full-page splash shot of Wally on the porch steps with the narration boxes delivering the definition of the word “puddler” was just ridiculous and repetitious. We had already gotten the definition of the word “puddler” all the way back in Heroes in Crisis #1. This all felt like King being in love with the sound of his own voice. This was pure filler.
King then ends the issue with a one page scene of Wally talking to the Sanctuary camera and revealing that this recording is being sent to Lois Lane. With that the issue ends with a thud and the reader is left wondering what was the purpose of this entire story.
Let’s just get right to the heart of Heroes in Crisis #8. The only real content in this issue is that one eight page stretch in this issue. The big reveal of Wally as the killer is terrible. This is the combination of a reveal that lacks any purpose, conflicts with Wally’s established character, and lacks any internal logic. King delivers this reveal in such a cursory fashion. This reveal feels rushed and shallow because King wasted so much time in the prior seven issues and had to hit the panic button to try to end this story with the next issue.
Let’s break this down piece by piece to see how this big reveal of Wally as the killer makes no sense and completely falls apart and makes this story seem pointless. The biggest problem is that King clearly has zero feel or understanding for Wally West’s character at all. It is obvious that King is not familiar with Wally’s character and has read very little of Wally’s past as Kid Flash and as the Flash. King handles Wally much like the way that Brian Bendis handles a character that he does not care about: by ignoring everything about the character’s core personality traits and established history in order to deliver his own little passion project.
Wally is a character that has been the consummate hero time and time again. Wally is a character who has willingly made the hard decisions and has never wavered at putting himself at risk to save others. Wally has always had a strong moral code and a strong sense of right and wrong. Wally has always been honest and genuine. There has never been any gray to Wally’s character. Wally is a character who has always firmly known who he was and what he believed in.
King ignores all of Wally’s established history and core personality traits and gives us a Wally West who is so paranoid and delusional that he is willing to recreate Sanctuary’s deleted data for some unknown reason. Then King doubles down on this and has Wally be weak enough to not be able to control the Speed Force and have it kill everyone around him. Then King goes even more ridiculously overboard by then having Wally create a massive criminal cover-up so no one would know that he was the killer. Then King has Wally decide to give a recorded confession and then kill himself. Absolutely none of this is even remotely consistent with any of Wally’s established history or his core personality traits.
First, King has Wally so paranoid that he decides to recreate all the data from Sanctuary because he thinks he is the only person who is at Sanctuary. This completely makes no sense and lacks any internal logic for several reasons. King never spends any panel space in the prior seven issues telling the reader how Wally has become so delusional and paranoid that he believes he is the only person in Sanctuary. In fact, King tells us the exact opposite! King tells us that Wally knows other heroes are at Sanctuary and that many choose to wear the robe and mask to hide their identities from each other. This is due to the obvious need for privacy given their roles in society. Therefore, there is no reason at all for Wally to so firmly believe that he is all alone at Sanctuary.
Even assuming that King had properly established why Wally would think he was alone at Sanctuary, it still makes no sense for him to recreate all of Sanctuary’s data and then view all of it. Once Wally realized that the data actually existed then that would be proof enough of other heroes attending Sanctuary. This would be enough to prove to Wally that he was not the only person to ever go to Sanctuary. He would not need to actually recreate all of the data and then view all of it. That accomplishes nothing.
Viewing the data would not help Wally heal from the loss of his family. Viewing all of the information would not lead to him getting any answers about his family or what happened to him since the events of the New 52. Viewing the data was just a pointless intrusion into other people’s privacy. This is something that Wally West would never do at all. Therefore, there was no logical reason for Wally to recreate the data nor was there any logical reason for Wally to actually view the data.
Next, King has Wally lose control of the Speed Force and has it kill all of the heroes around him. This also makes no sense. The Speed Force has been handled in detail by writers far more intelligent and learned about the Flash than Tom King. Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Joshua Williamson have all done masterful work with the Speed Force. At no point have we ever seen the Speed Force as some brutally lethal force that is literally lunging and eager to kill everyone around a speedster at literally every second of the day. This just seemed too much.
Now, having Wally, for no real reason, deciding to rebuild Sanctuary and view all of the data and then lose control of the Speed Force and kill all of the heroes was all bad enough. But, if King had the common sense to stop at this point then it is possible that Heroes In Crisis would not have been a complete shit show. Instead, King then goes totally overboard and has Wally West engage in a massive criminal cover-up so no one would find out that he was the Sanctuary killer. King goes so over-the-top and has Wally set up the crime scene, create fake clues about fake killers with all of the information about the Puddlers, and then use the Sanctuary V.R. facilities to implant false memories in Booster Gold and Harley Quinn.
The insane level of villainy in this criminal cover-up that King takes a character like Wally West is laughable. Absolutely none of this is even remotely consistent with Wally’s clearly established history and core character beliefs. Not even close. Wally is the kind of character who would have been horrified by what happened with the Speed Force and then he would have immediately reached out for Barry Allen or his old Titans teammates or his old Justice League teammates. At no point is there anything even remotely in Wally’s established history or his core character traits that would suggest he would engage in such a massive criminal cover-up. It so violently conflicts with Wally’s character that it makes the entire story seem non-sensical and farcical.
But, the stupidity is not even done at this point. King then has Wally decide to kill himself five days in the future and then tape his confessional and send it to Lois Lane. Again, there is no logic at all to King’s story. Why would Wally decide to engage in a massive cover-up if he is just going to kill himself and then send Lois a taped confessional? It seems like a ton of work to go through for literally no reason at all. If you are going to confess then just go to Barry and tell him what happened and ask for his help.
This part of the story was incredibly rushed. It was sloppy and done in such a cursory fashion. King offers no reasons for why Wally would engage in a massive cover-up, use Booster’s tech to travel through time, kill himself, and then tape a confessional to Lois. This was King rushing like a mad man to shove some story progression into the issue after spending seven issues doing literally nothing at all. The result is a mess of a story that appears poorly planned and poorly plotted. It seems that King wrote himself into a corner and then pulled this completely random ending out of his ass for no reason at all and without any explanation at all. This entire point of the story seemed poorly thought out and seemed thrown at the reader in a haphazard manner.
With the reveal of Wally as the killer, engaging in a criminal cover-up, taping a confessional, and then killing himself made this entire story become grossly contrived. Why would Wally want to rebuild Sanctuary’s data? Why would he want to engage in a massive cover up? And then why would he film a confession immediately after he cover up? It makes no sense.
There was zero motive for Wally to do what he did with Sanctuary. There was zero motive for Wally to fix the crime scene. Why fix it only to give a confessional before killing yourself? It all feels forced and contrived. It all lacks any internal logic. King never lays the foundation for any of this in the prior seven issues of Heroes in Crisis. This is all poorly delivered and poorly executed.
Another problem with King’s handling of Wally’s character in making him the killer and then engaging in a criminal cover-up is that it completely runs counter to Wally’s main theme since returning with DC Universe Rebirth #1. Under the new Rebirth direction for the DCU, Geoff Johns made a point of having Wally West symbolize hope. Wally symbolized all of the hope of the more brighter and positive DCU that was lost with the New 52 DCU and that would be returning under the Rebirth banner.
King deciding to randomly and arbitrarily take the one character that stands for hope and shove them into the role of being a murderer and engaging in a criminal cover-up completely guts the point of Rebirth and the new direction for the DCU. King runs so counter to the entire Rebirth directive that is flowing through every other DC title and washing over every single corner of the DCU. King’s handling of Wally’s character is tone-deaf and lacks consistency and logic with the overall Rebirth direction of the entire DCU.
Now the reader sits here at the end of Heroes in Crisis #8 and is left wondering what was the point of all of this? What character did this story further? What world building did this story deliver? Why did this big event ever need to be published in the first place? Heroes in Crisis does absolutely nothing at all for any of the characters that appear in this story. Heroes in Crisis does absolutely nothing at all for the larger DC Universe. Heroes in Crisis does not benefit any single character or aspect of the DCU.
We all know that Tom King wanted to use Heroes In Crisis as commentary on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And that is a fantastic idea. PTSD is a serious issue. And the lack of quality care for veterans suffering for PTSD is alarming. And the negative stigma of mental health care by our society is awful. However, King takes all of these excellent themes and does nothing at all with them.
All King gives us in Heroes in Crisis is a shallow story that barely touches on the surface of the issue of PTSD. King lazily uses all the right vocabulary and trappings involving PTSD, but never delivers anything of any real substance. The story never has any true depth or content to it. There is no meat on the bones at all. King presents the reader with a mere facade of a story. There is nothing complex at all to Heroes in Crisis #8. There is nothing intelligent or artful with the way that King handles the various themes. In fact, King handles his themes in a clumsy and rudimentary fashion. Everything is repetitious and heavy-handed. King speaks to the reader as if they are too dumb to figure anything out on their own.
To make matters worse, King doles out this shallow story in the dullest and most poorly plotted and paced manner possible. King simply wanders around in circles for the prior seven issues with no real point or purpose to this story. This lack of a direction and meandering storytelling means that the reader had to wait an eternity to arrive at this reveal in Heroes in Crisis #8. The prior seven issues were so slow, dull, and pointless that the reader no longer cares at all once we arrive at the big reveal of Wally as the killer. The reader is so worn down and numb by the terrible plotting and pacing and lack of real content in the prior seven issues that they are just glad that this grueling marathon of a story is nearly almost over. The big reveal has very little impact on the reader.
The passive manner in which King tells the story in Heroes in Crisis #8 also blunts the impact that the reveal has on the reader. By having Wally narrate this entire issue and talk about everything after the fact robs the story of much of its immediacy and urgency. By recounting his past steps, this story reads more like a laundry list of things Wally did a few days ago rather than an intense and climactic event unveiling in front of the reader in real-time. This approach also comes across more like a boring exposition dump than the reader actually being shown the events and truly experiencing them.
Heroes in Crisis #8 also continues the trend of being delivered in a flat affect. King continues to deliver his story in a sterile fashion where there is an emotional disconnect between the story and the readers. The characters all sound like robots and lack any real texture or nuance to their personalities or their voices. There seems to be an invisible barrier that King puts up between the reader and his story.
Overall: Heroes In Crisis #8 is the case of far too little far too late. This issue bears the sins of all of the prior seven issues before it. There was no way the big reveal in Heroes in Crisis #8 was going to have any impact at all on the reader given the complete lack of urgency or sense of purpose to this story.
Unfortunately, to make matters even worse, the big reveal in Heroes in Crisis #8 was also a sloppy and rushed mess that seemed to have little logic or planning. The reader is left wondering why Heroes in Crisis was even published in the first place. The reader feels as if they have been wasting both their time and money for having read this big event. Heroes in Crisis feels like Tom King engaging in sniffing his own farts and commenting on how they smell like brilliant roses.
There is absolutely no reason why any reader should ever waste a penny of their hard-earned money on Heroes in Crisis #8. This entire big event has been a sad waste of time and money on both the part of DC Comics and the reader.
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