Heroes in Crisis #2 [of 9]
Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 31, 2018
Cover date: December 2018
“Then I Became Superman”
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann and Travis Moore
Cover: Clay Mann
Variant Covers: J.G. Jones, Mark Brooks, Francesco Mattina
Reviewed by: Keith Samra
Carrying on from the last issue, we open with a “confession” by Poison Ivy, with Harley interrupting and being distracting.
We cut to Harley seeking out the Penguin for a place to hide from the heroes. While at that same moment, Batman conducts an autopsy on Commander Steel, with Superman and Wonder Woman watching. They discover a set of wind up teeth, and come to the conclusion that Harley Quinn is responsible for what befell Sanctuary.
Meanwhile Booster Gold awakens in a field, and is greeted by his robotic sidekick, Skeets. Booster explains to Skeets what Harley told him last issue, that he was responsible for murdering the others at Sanctuary.
The Trinity locate Harley, and attempt to bring her in. She manages to get the drop on them, by using Wonder Woman’s Lasso against Batman, forcing him to reveal that he has Kryptonite in his utility belt, and uses that on Superman, as she escapes with Wonder Woman looking on.
Booster makes his way to Central City to see Barry Allen/The Flash, and to advise him of Wally’s death. Flash runs to see if it’s true, and then is back in mere seconds and attacks Booster. As the Trinity get their bearings together, Superman sees Barry attacking Booster, and flies off toward them.
We cut to Harley atop a bridge, as she throws a rose down into the water, as she remembers Poison Ivy.
We close with Lois Lane at the Daily Planet, as she is brought a video file, which is a confession from the hero named Arsenal, as he explains his drug use in the past, and how he had battled many demons whilst being a superhero. There is a note saying, “There are more truths to come”. Signed by the “Puddlers”. This catches Lois off guard, and she is left stunned.
To be continued…
Story – 4: Firstly I want to say a big thank you to Steve Younis, for being so understanding, and letting me take a few extra days to get this review in to him, as I was unable to get it done due to personal reasons.
As I mentioned in last issue’s review, Tom King can be “hit or miss” with me, and this issue, I felt a few misses as opposed to the intrigue and excitement of the first part. No new light was shed on the mystery of who killed the other heroes at Sanctuary, and why Booster Gold and Harley Quinn are at the centre of it. However, what did surprise me was that whoever is responsible, plans to release the videos of all the “confessions” to the public.
The opening page with Poison Ivy and Harley felt a little flat, as the rules of Sanctuary still have yet to be explained… Is it for heroes?… If so, why are prominent super villains there also?… Isn’t Arkham Asylum and Belle Reve the place where villains are treated?
Harley besting Batman, and taking the Wonder Woman’s lasso was also a bit of a stretch. Don’t Superman and Wonder Woman move faster than speeding bullets? At the risk of sounding sexist, I found it hard to believe that Harley could take on the Batman as she did, but then again, she did so a few times on the animated series many years ago, so it can be forgiven for her character. King also went to great lengths having Superman explain that he thinks that Harley is just as good as Batman.
Of course Batman has Kryptonite on him… This was a plot point that felt very “early 2000s Bat-god”. I suppose Batman just keeps it on him at all times.
I enjoyed the confession side of things, especially the way King portrayed each character. Batman removing his cowl, and talking about how he takes in partners and have them become family, only to watch many die. Wonder Woman’s horror at the site of her mother wounded in battle, and her aides pulling an arrow from her body. And finally Superman, or rather Clark, telling us that his true identity is actually the Kansas farm boy Clark Kent, and that Superman and the Clark at the “office” are the acts that he puts on, to protect his true self. King managed to nail these, and I loved his characterizations of them.
Another scene I really enjoyed was Booster telling The Flash about Wally West’s death, and the raw emotion and lashing out by Barry toward him. With Booster Gold, there is easily the element of time travel, and as I said before, there is no way that Tom King is allowed to just kill off Barry and Roy, in such a nonchalant way, in the first issue. The question then remains, if time travel will undo the deaths, what manner of weight and what will be the purpose of this series?
More questions than answers, but that is modern comics, and how they are structured. I am anticipating the next issue, however, I am worried if it will continue with a decompressed narrative, with the issues feeling episodic.
Art – 5: The art was the highlight for me. Clay Mann is a fantastic artist, and his storytelling skills in a visual medium are some of the best I have ever seen. The majesty he gives Superman is well received and also very much appreciated. I’ve always loved the way he rendered our Man of Steel, all the way down to the Henry Cavill homage. The only downside was that he didn’t do the entire issue, and that he had a fill in artist for three pages. Having worked in a professional capacity in a similar field, I realize that deadlines and script changes can become a factor, so I didn’t want take a mark off for this reason.
Mann’s Penguin seemed to be a nice mixture of classic Penguin, with the Tim Burton/Danny Devito gruesomeness sprinkled in there.
The three pages featuring Booster and The Flash by Travis Moore were some of my favorite, as there is a lot of kinetic energy, and raw emotion, especially from The Flash. Even though I was disappointed that two artists worked on this book, Moore managed to mesh his style rather well with Mann’s.
Just the same as the writing side of things, I loved the confession panels. The way they are set out in 9 panel grids, they could almost be animated. Loved the fact Clark loosens his “S curl” after he takes of his glasses.
The colors are very tame, but not quite muted. They do emphasis the colorful world of the DCU, but don’t saturate it with vividness like other books in the DCU.
Cover Art – 5: I like that Batman is being held down, with Wonder Woman’s lasso around his neck. Something I hadn’t noticed in the solicitations was that it is Harley that is using it on Batman.
Variant Cover Art – 5: Last month we had the “Death of Superman” case file cover, this time, it’s the “Breaking of the Bat”. I love this cover, as I have always loved this moment in the history of Batman, when the Batman was defeated.
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Harley is as good as Batman… Not sure I agree, but will reserve judgement until the series is over.
And you cant kill Wally just like that.
Clay Mann does do a very hot Lois though!
So nobody is going to point out how Wonder Woman stood perfectly still while Superman and Batman were being incapacitated. She just… let Harley go?
That was stupid tho.