What more can I say before we jump into this one? Heroes in Crisis is the type of story that we need right now on shelves. It doesn’t matter that you think this is a gimmick. It does not matter that you think exploring PTSD is too real for you. This is genuine storytelling in a superhero universe that we tend to mock for its struggles to appeal to real problems. People break, heroes break, even villains. The more you get this, the more you get what it means to emphasize the person behind the mask.
Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for this next issue. How do you top the Trinity expressing themselves the way they did when it was their turn in the seat? How do you top Harley Quinn of all people getting one over on the Trinity? Who is going to snap first when faced with someone to blame for all these deaths? These were the questions that plagued your mind after the second issue and still as you flipped open this third issue.
It was a build-up to any of those things, but honestly I could wait when there was still so much else to dive into. For this third issue it was fitting that we could finally have the opportunity to experience what it is like for those who admit themselves to Sanctuary’s care. Again, I’m not sure if there have been other mentions of Sanctuary beyond this book, but for those of us that this is brand new to it is nice to finally put faces and forms of aid to the name. It made a big difference to take some of the names of those who died and show what their time was like when they stepped through those doors. To see how the people ran Sanctuary, how the patients are treated, and more specifics on the kind of traumas dealt with. Some names you expected to see in the seat, while other names did manage to catch me off guard because they were out there in choices. Not a bad thing at all since you want to show that this is a place that takes in all walks of life.
It was a big thing that they continued to push Booster Gold’s story. The suspense really hits you when you want to know what could haunt this guy. You could form some sort of idea based on the kind of therapy he set up for himself, but beyond that the games still progressed as we were left trying to guess who did the killing. The other hero they chose to focus on was kind of a tearjerker. That I was not prepared for and felt captivated by. That there was real trauma that we followed up to the guy’s death. I felt a little more attached to where that was going than anything else. Not to say that the main plot wasn’t engaging, but the deeper message was something that grabbed my attention best in this issue.
Like the issues before, I was floored by the effort that went into the way these heroes and villains convey their state of mind when introducing themselves and what brings them to Sanctuary. Every gesture mattered, their body language. That shift in tone that starts with enthusiasm, and then pain once dropping the act to show you what troubles them. As usual the colors brought it all together. The rendering we got out of Tomeu Morey breathed life into these characters and the atmosphere we needed to get out of Sanctuary. There’s one thing I have to give credit to this art team for, and that’s for the approach they made towards giving us real people, real expressions, and forgetting all of the gore that comes with the slaughter. At first glance at all those dead bodies, I was a bit worried that they were trying to get some sort of shock value off of it. Yet those scenes could have been much worse, I liked that there was other factors that you took into account way before a corpse.
Heroes in Crisis #3 continues this commendable story told through the perspective of heroes who all wear their flaws on their sleeves. If you didn’t believe the things that made some of these heroes vulnerable or insecure, this book makes you think twice. It is also a lesson to writers out there that punching and kicking is fun, but you lose a lot of substance when you ignore what we can also learn from these characters at the same time. You can survive the worst and that never means you don’t lose a little bit of yourself each time in the process.