“Heroes In Crisis” – Part Nine
Review by Steve J. Ray
Heroes In Crisis #9, whilst it delivers a complex finale to a thought provoking mini-series, may confuse many. What it did for me was break my heart. Wally West, The Flash, is alive, but only because he has come back in time to kill himself. I know that this is deep, metaphysical and horrific, but what’s the most painful thing a human being can witness, other than watching another, who feels that they have no recourse in life other than to end it?
This series has had many critics and, while I understand many of their viewpoints, I find myself disagreeing with them. This is a comic-book, yes, and traditionally these pieces of art are made to thrill and entertain. The only thing this series should possibly have done differently, is put a mature readers disclaimer on the covers.
Yes, this medium has traditionally been there to take to us to wonderful realms, and fire our imaginations, but I have to say that most of greatest life lessons I’ve learned, and the source of most of my morality and values, has come from reading comics. Like with all fiction; books, movies and T.V. comics can, and should provide much more than just entertainment. Heroes In Crisis #9 does that.
This Ain’t Disney
We have books like Young Justice, Teen Titans and Harley Quinn to give us action and escapism (but they often do a lot more than that too). Every so often we need a Watchmen, an Identity Crisis or, indeed, a Heroes In Crisis, as a cold bucket of water to wake us up. I feel the pain of all the Wally West fans who think that this iteration of the character is a betrayal. To those who waited many years for his return only to find him broken, damaged, and seemingly beyond redemption. I understand all of that.
For me it just feels realistic. For anyone, even a superhero, to suffer what he has suffered and lose what he has lost and still be “O.K.” would fall flat. I’ve said before that the best fiction is the kind that holds a mirror up to real life. Fantasy, hearts, flowers and happy endings are all well and good… but that’s not real life.
Most of the harshest critics for this series have said “Why Wally?” to which I reply, “Who else?” For this series to really hit us where it hurts (and I’m not talking about Harley’s reaction) these horrible, painful events had to happen to someone we actually care about. Can anyone out there name a character that this story could’ve been built around, that we’d honestly feel this level of heartache over, other than Wally West?
Dick Grayson? People are still losing their minds over him changing his name to Ric. Batman? Make the Dark Knight a killer?!? I think not. Superman? Does anyone remember the public outcry at the ending of Man Of Steel? It had to be The Flash, and it had to be Wally West.
I applaud Tom King for writing this story. He’s received a lot of criticism and weathered it like only a real professional could. In my honest opinion
Clay Mann can do no wrong. His art in this series, particularly in this finale, has been completely mind-blowing. Tomeu Morey has created art that has made my eyes jump for joy. This is why I call this man and his contemporaries “Color artists” and not “Colorists.” Clayton Cowles is amongst the finest letterers in the industry. Check out the double page spread, the crash and the lighting in the downed plane. The way that the color art and lettering enhance the brilliant line-art is astonishing.
Was this a happy ending? No. Was it a fitting one? Absolutely. Heroes In Crisis #9 is a painful, uncompromising tale about life. In this world we don’t always get a happy ending… that’s what the MCU is for. Every now and then I just need a solid kick in the feels, just to wake me up and make me appreciate all that I have. Not everyone’s that lucky.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment