Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
Heroes In Crisis 8
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads
As if it wasn’t enough that the first issue of this miniseries killed off Wally West – The Flash for a whole generation or readers, myself included – along with a slew of other lesser heroes, we now know that Wally was actually the guy who killed everyone and then went five days into the future, killed his future self and planted the body back five days earlier to make it seem like he died, too.
Seriously, what the hell…
I have no idea what Tom King hoped to accomplish with this series, outside of clearing the deck of a bunch of characters whose potential hadn’t been met in the Rebirth era. I honestly don’t see the point of HEROES IN CRISIS anymore, outside of an attempt to troll a group of people who have loyally read the publisher’s output over the years.
To be fair, the revelation about Wally really came in the last issue, but the eighth issue of the 9-issue miniseries (which was originally announced as a 7-issue series before a couple of issues of filler were added in) gives Wally’s perspective on why he did what he did. His frighteningly well-thought-out plan even included a way to confuse and frame Booster Gold and Harley Quinn, giving us a few chapters’ worth of red herrings as Gold and Quinn battled things out.
Wally confesses it all in a video to Lois Lane. His despair is understandable. He was shunted off to the Speed Force when reality was rewritten after Flashpoint and he came back in Rebirth to a universe that didn’t have a place for him. His wife, Linda Park, didn’t remember him. Which means his kids were no longer alive. And despite his friends trying to make him feel welcomed, he was alone.
And it broke him, first when he admitted he needed help and went to Sanctuary and then again while he was there. I wouldn’t think this was very in-character for Wally, but this wasn’t really the Wally we remember.
I would be more forgiving of this turn if Tom King provided us with a great story with a build that made Wally West a sympathetic villain. It worked pretty well when Hal Jordan went crazy after the destruction of Coast City. We saw his trauma and we watched him slowly go mad until he finally snapped and destroyed the rest of the Green Lantern Corps. Whether you agreed with DC Comics’ decision to turn Hal into a Big Bad, the company at least put an effort into explaining it.
Here… it feels like it came out of nowhere, just a means to an end to tell a story with some manufactured angst. Much like the way Identity Crisis played out more than a decade ago, the drama was forced and unnatural. And I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the point.
We have one more issue to go. One more issue to allow for a Superboy punch or whatever other deus ex machina to wipe the slate clean and ensure that Heroes in Crisis be a completely needless story to read. I just don’t see it happening.