Things go from bad to worse with new revelations about Sanctuary in an issue that should up the ante for the rest of Tom King’s miniseries.

Heroes in Crisis 4
Written by Tom King
Pencils and Inks by Clay Mann
Colors by Tomeu Morey

I’ve been a little down on the first three issues of this series, as the promised premise seems to be missing the mark a bit. But this issue was something else. The fourth issue of HEROES IN CRISIS provides the reader with some great character beats and an ending that all but guarantees things are going to get explosive sometime soon.

And it’s about damned time.

For three issues, the onus of HEROES IN CRISIS has been to show the kind of pain these heroes can be in at various points in their lives. And the pain is accentuated by the massive death toll that hit in the first two issues. Some big names – Wally West, Roy Harper, Pamela Isley among others – have been killed in a home in Kansas meant as a rehabilitation facility for superpowered people struggling under the weight of their duties. And the shock value of those kills struggled to survive through the two subsequent issues.

But the fourth issue breathes some new life into the miniseries. Booster Gold and Harley Quinn – the two main suspects in the Sanctuary killings – have a chance to make life-altering choices. Booster gets sprung from his Hall of Justice prison by his old partner Blue Beetle. Harley, on the other hand, is tracked down by Batgirl, who convinces Quinn to let Batgirl help her clear her name.

We may not be any closer to figuring out who killed all those heroes, but that’s really not the point of this issue. No, what we should be focusing on is the conversation between married journalists Clark Kent and Lois Lane and the resulting confrontation between Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, the three heroes who created Sanctuary. It is, at the very least, the part that I found most interesting.

Last issue, it was revealed that someone had sent Lois Lane videos of the heroes in their confessionals, videos that were supposed to be deleted as soon as they were recorded. It’s definitely a story. But Lane has a vested interest in the story, considering she’s married to one of Sanctuary’s creators. But he’s a reporter, too. He gets it, and Lois makes a good case for why she needs to break the story: if she doesn’t do it, whoever is leaking will go to someone else, and they may not be quite so delicate.

So Superman waits to tell Batman and Wonder Woman that Lois is writing the story until after the story is filed. And major damage to the Batcave – beyond Wonder Woman tossing the giant penny onto a Batmobile – is a likely outcome.

Sure, throwing in some journalism is an easy way to get a newspaper guy like me more invested, but even beyond that, this issue raised the stakes so well. Booster Gold and Harley Quinn both have allies now, allies that other heroes trust almost implicitly, but the secret about Sanctuary has been made public.

I almost wish we had gotten this issue earlier. It would have played well as the second or third issue of the story, giving HEROES IN CRISIS more of a central conflict in the earlier rising action instead of meandering for a couple of issues.

Hopefully, when the midway-point of the series comes in the next issue, it can build on the momentum here, because there’s a lot of good stuff to work with.