Review – Heroes in Crisis #2: Harley Unleashed

Comic Books DC This Week Featured
Heroes in Crisis #2 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Heroes in Crisis #2 – Tom King, Writer; Clay Mann, Travis Moore, Artists; Tomeu Morey, Arif Prianto, Colorists


Ray – 8/10

Corrina: No Story Logic Here

Ray: Two issues in, Heroes in Crisis is a very well-executed comic that I’m not sure I like. Heroes in Crisis #2 pulls back the curtains a little, revealing more of the horrors that took place at Sanctuary as well as showing us more of the key interviews. The first one is Poison Ivy, who came here after her breakdown in Batman – with a surprise guest appearance from Harley Quinn, who keeps interrupting her girlfriend’s interview. This is one of the sweetest, funniest Harley/Ivy scenes I’ve seen yet, but the happiness can’t last – soon afterward it’s revealed that Ivy was one of the many casualties at Sanctuary, which has pushed Harley far off the deep end. In a way, this lessens the stakes – I didn’t believe Wally was really dead, and I sure as hell don’t believe Ivy’s staying dead. Not to mention, these are two omega-level metahumans, so unless the killer is General Zod, their deaths are very hard to square.

The good news is, among the confusion of this mystery, we get some really good character work. King, like he does in many of his best works, seems determined to strip everyone bare and show us what makes them tick.

The core two characters are still Booster Gold and Harley Quinn, separated after last issue’s epic brawl. Harley heads to Gotham, in the middle of a breakdown. She confronts Penguin, winds up playing cards WITH a Penguin, and eventually gets tracked down by the Trinity. I’m not sure King’s depiction of just how deadly Harley is really squared with what we’ve seen, but that battle is definitely dramatic.

Booster, meanwhile, maybe even worse off. He’s obviously still not recovered from the trauma of the horrible alternate world he created, and his instincts are off. Despite Skeets’ advice, he goes to tell Barry about Wally – and confess that he’s not sure if he did it. To say Barry didn’t react well is an understatement. So Harley’s in a rage-frenzy, Booster is vaguely self-destructive, and the Trinity is at a loss with no conclusive evidence. Mixed into the middle of this are three great one-page spreads of the Trinity’s entry interviews from Sanctuary, showing some of the issues they’ll be confronting as the series proceeds. There’s a ton of potential and some great moments here, but right now it feels like an odd fusion of a character-driven King thriller and an event comic, and I’m not sure either part works 100%.

Ivy in the chair. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: There’s no story logic to this event. Perhaps if I were enjoying the character interactions, I could handwave that. I can often forgive plot holes (even gaping ones) if there something fascinating happening. But there isn’t anything here that pulls me in. In fact, the character moments toss me out of the story.

First, let’s take the “cute” scene Ray described between Harley and Ivy, the one shown above. One, it’s only there to up the sad factor with Poison Ivy’s death. Two, if the Trinity wanted Sanctuary to be a safe place, how the heck did Harley Quinn get into it at all? 

This isn’t just a plot hole. It’s a gaping chasm. The story also wants us to believe the Trinity would confess their greatest secrets (oh, like Superman’s secret identity) in a video that’s automatically destroyed, but the facility is unsecure enough that Harley Quinn can just pop in to say ‘boop?’

If you told me the Shade waltzed in, with his weird, unknown power, I might believe it. Or Angle Man or something. Of course, that begs the question as to how the Trinity ever thought this facility secure enough to do this. Or, if they didn’t, why they allowed their patients to confess like this, even if the video is instantly destroyed.

They obviously did feel it was secure, because of their confessions, but it wasn’t the least bit safe at all. I’m not even talking about the killer. I’m talking about the non-powered Harley Quinn casually dropping in.

For that matter, how does Harley Quinn escape the Trinity? C’mon. Superman is as fast as Flash. She’s a murder suspect. He’d just grab her and drop her someplace for them to interrogate her. They know she’s dangerous. Isn’t securing the safety of innocent lives the first thing they should do? That whole sequence makes no sense. (Note: I also have problems when the Joker is somehow dangerous to Superman or Flash or whatnot.)

But on the death in the issue, I’m disappointed in DC. Poison Ivy is a fascinating character, driven by her own internal logic. It’s not so much that she’s a villain or a hero, it’s that she has an entirely different perspective. It tends to veer toward heroism because peace among humans is good for Earth. I cannot see her even agreeing to go to Sanctuary. Her cure might well be time with the Green, not a  psychological treatment.

Ivy is also one of the few prominent LGBTQ characters in the DC Universe, along with Harley and Batwoman. To see her depressed, suicidal, and then killed is an absolute waste of a character.

And, to pile on insult, Harley seems to equate loving Ivy as a mistake, on par with loving the Joker, at the end of the issue. I suppose it’s a fake-out to get the reader to believe Harley might have killed Ivy, but equating an anti-hero like Ivy to the murderous Joker, and comparing the consensual and supportive relationship between Ivy and Harley to Harley and the Joker is a serious misreading of the Harley/Ivy relationship.

(Note: it would be even more horrific to take one of DC’s most prominent LGBTQ couples and have one kill the other. I’m not convinced that’s happened yet, however.)

Also, aside from the autopsy, there’s little forward momentum on the murders.

On the good side, Mann and Moore draw a terrific Clark Kent.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

Liked it? Take a second to support GeekDad and GeekMom on Patreon!