Heroes in Crisis #8
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mitch Gerads & Travis Moore
Almost the entirety of Heroes in Crisis #8 features a monologue given by Wally West, one of the heroes murdered at Sanctuary. In a possibly intentional meta detail, the character is both alive and dead, trapped in a sort of limbo. But as I’ve said in previous reviews, that’s nothing new. Heroes in Crisis has just been particularly explicit about how DC intends to handle the character. For a generation of readers, Wally West is the Flash. Unfortunately, DC seems hellbent on burying him, even as they pretend to pay him respect through broken promises like Rebirth and even this series. But Wally’s treatment was never the only thing wrong with Heroes in Crisis.
While the grand murder mystery Heroes in Crisis always felt weak to me, I still expected some kind of interesting resolution. This issue solves it in an abrupt, almost casual way. It’s not intelligent or particularly original. Really it seems downright lazy as if it was thrown in at the last moment. Maybe if the book had a real sense of purpose or stronger pacing this reveal would have been genuinely impactful. Instead, it all feels very mechanical.
But the Sanctuary murders always seemed tacked on, partially because characterization takes the priority in Heroes in Crisis. Unfortunately, the latter is just as poorly handled as the former. Wally, besides being the focal point of this issue, is the series’ main failing on that front. He’s written so out of character that it’s difficult to recognize him as the same hero that was the Flash for over twenty years. Even superheroes should grow and change and the Big 2’s fear of embracing that is part of why this genre is so stagnant. But Heroes in Crisis fails to offer meaningful character development or even a compelling reason for subjecting Wally and the others to such drastic shifts in personality. At this point, I can safely say that the series’ obsession with shock value has trampled over its attempts at developing the characters.
Heroes in Crisis #8 is at least the best-looking issue in the series. Mitch Gerads and Travis Moore’s raw, emotional art is almost enough to make up for the writing’s shortfalls. Their renditions of the characters have a humanity Mann’s versions distinctly lack. Likewise, the art is almost effective enough to sell these gruesome betrayals and deep-rooted trauma. Gerad’s rendition of a grief-stricken but nonetheless enraged Wally has more nuance than the book’s actual writing. As impressive as Gerads and Moore’s art might be, it still can’t save such a fundamentally flawed, mean spirited story. With Heroes in Crisis so close to the end, I can definitely say that this series treats its own narrative worse than the characters that star in it.
Heroes in Crisis (2018-) #8
The art of Heroes in Crisis #8 is superb. The same can't be said for anything else about it.