Review – Heroes in Crisis #6: Cavemen, Couples, and Confessions

Heroes in Crisis #6 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Heroes in Crisis #6 – Tom King, Writer; Mitch Gerads, Clay Mann, Artists; Tomeu Morey, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Step 1: Make Obscure Characters Semi-Interesting. Step 2: Kill Them. (Or Reverse That, If You LIke)

Ray: As Heroes in Crisis reaches the two-thirds mark, I think I consistently feel the same way about it – it’s a strong character-driven work with some brilliant moments mixed in, but I have a hard time getting into it because of the sense of endless, pervasive doom. There’s great character spotlights, especially for characters who haven’t appeared in a while, but more often than not you know it’s because that character has already been killed off. That’s the case for Heroes in Crisis #6‘s spotlight characters in this interlude issue mostly by Mitch Gerads, Gnaark.

This revived caveman was a rather obscure Titans ally, but here the issue gets into what drives him as a refugee from prehistoric times. He uses Sanctuary to recreate his old life, engaging in the kind of brutal kill-or-be-killed hunter-gatherer activities cavemen did to survive. The segment is gorgeous and Gnaark turns out to be quite the philosopher – but all this segment does is remind us what a great character he could be if he didn’t bleed out on Sanctuary’s front lawn.

The other two main segments focus on two more famous inmates from Sanctuary. The best of the three focuses on Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn – the latter of whom has broken into the headquarters to visit her girlfriend. This story picks up on the Ivy storyline from Batman, which featured some fantastic content for the relationship. Here, as Ivy and Harley try to exorcise their demons by setting Harley against a computerized replica of the Joker, they feel like one of DC’s best relationships and it would be incredibly sadistic to kill Ivy here. Although I will mention that of all the deaths, hers still feels the most ambiguous. Then there’s Wally West’s segment, which mainly seems to exist to reinforce all the worst fears about his role in this story. There’s lines that are essentially a confession that he set off the chain reaction that led to the massacre, and yet another death from another source that makes it even clearer that something is very wrong with him. There’s a lot of things in this issue that I like, some that I love – but least among them is the central plot.

Heroes in Crisis #6
Gnaark’s hunt. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: Continuing the problem of suspending my disbelief enough to even attempt to get into this story:

How is Harley able to break in and wander around Sanctuary if it’s such a secure place? Because if she’s not supposed to be there, why isn’t the holy wrath of Wonder Woman, Superman, or Batman descending on her the minute she breaks into Sanctuary? She’s Harley, how do they know she’s got good intentions?

But that would assume the whole concept of sanctuary makes sense and there is story logic involved. Which there is not.

And, yes, the segments about Gnaark have lovely art but pages and pages of philosophy when he’s been killed off, just like poor Lagoon Bo, seems less like insight into Gnaark and more like a chance for the writer to insert a philosophy segment.

Plus, it seems nihilistic once again to say “hey, he could have been interesting but, nah, he’s dead.”

Unless the whole series is going to pull a massive fake-out (as did Detective Comics #999, though, admittedly, there’s more foreshadowing of that in HiC given the virtual reality), this all seems pointless, to explore the pain of heroes without providing any road to recovery or even the promise of one, given that Sanctuary was DOA at the time the series started.

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

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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