Comic Book Review: Heroes in Crisis #4
I can’t stress it enough how important it is that we have a book like Heroes in Crisis on shelves. This book has been the topic of some heated arguments, but I think people are letting trivial things about this book steal their attention from what this is all about. You don’t learn from loss without loss, you don’t recover from PTSD without actually showing why you have it in the first place. You don’t send the message about the challenges of living the life of a hero (or villain) without giving us actual tragedy. No one is off limits there either.
Unlike the first three issues of Heroes in Crisis, this one was more of a slow crawl than they were. Now why I point this out is because some might look at a story like this expecting that something should always be happening. If that is the case, then they missed the point of a book like this. One thing I give credit to this creative team for is the way they have eased into telling this story. This is one where the characters matter more than the action. If it were to ever be the other way around, then we would lose a lot of what makes this story so personal. Let’s take the confession room videos for example. Not all of the heroes who step into that room are open to spilling their guts, but those that do open our minds to a lot of the things they would not have expressed about their time as heroes in their own books. Not with this level of acceptance. With that said, this issue gave us a little bit of everything. There was a video that was more of someone questioning their truth, another simply showing rather than telling, another
Where we end up with Harley was a bit heartbreaking. I still don’t know what to think about her involvement, but honestly this is the best exploration of her mind that we have gotten in a while. Having those moment with her to reflect on everything that has gone wrong in her life is always worth it since it comes down to choice for her. And in this case there is the fear of facing the way that she is looked at for those choices she makes. Who accompanied her on this personal journey also made it a captivating scene. Two who come from the same world, though suffering from two different tragedies. As for Booster Gold, it was just as engaging to follow how he faces this one mistake that he can’t run away from. You don’t know whether he is actually guilty either, but he’s broken enough that anything is possible. Connecting with Blue Beetle over this was gold for the fact that it is easy for us to remember how strong their bond is. Especially when one of them is at their lowest.
The overlapping plot involving the release of the videos and information about Sanctuary was enough to get your heart racing. No matter how that situation was handled, this was going to create tension and fear. The execution for that was perfect since there was no actual right way to go about it. You could only look for the path of least resistance that wouldn’t cause too much backlash. For the Trinity in particular, it was a point of interest to see how all of this pressure was weighing down on them when they are the ones to take the biggest hit from these losses.
Like the issues before, the interior artwork was still admirable. Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey do such a wonderful job of breathing life into these characters and the real world that they live in. Honestly I think the settings make a big difference in this story. Seeing them in familiar environments make a big difference in seeing them past the costumes and names. Just that second page caught my eyes because it takes some skill to pull off that kind of mural without the images or colors standing out too much. Numerous times throughout this issue, Mann did amazing work bringing out the emotions in these heroes when they are at their lowest. He makes their confessions look genuine, their empathizing believable, and much more. That scene shared between Harley Quinn and another familiar face was beautifully captured for the way that the two were able to comfort each other. Doing something like this in a house of mirrors was also clever for the underlying message of seeing your own reflection. Not to mention the sequence of hands transitioning from action to embrace was unique. Some things in this story say so much more than words ever could. For this issue there was more than one scene that could attest to this.
Heroes in Crisis #4 was a roller coaster of emotions, and you have to love the feelings this story is able to bring out of you for it. No matter how many heroes pour their souls into their confessions, it never gets any easier. This creative team is doing their job when you are reminded of how vulnerable and human these heroes are.