A sanctuary set up by Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman for super heroes dealing with mental health issues has been desecrated and its inhabitants and helpers killed and destroyed. Harley Quinn and Booster Gold are fighting and one of them did the deed. Why?
A thing that I find fascinating in these big event series by DC and Marvel Comics is who makes it on the cover page of the gigantic group shot. At DC Comics, invariably, you will have Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, probably center-stage. Then, there will be a Flash, a Green Lantern, often Aquaman, then a few Titans, a Robin. In the middle row, you’ll often have the Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, next to Black Canary, and often a bit in the back, there will be a combination of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. There is always a Powergirl in the back, but a Supergirl, a Batgirl, a Huntress are not givens. Depending on the years and cycle, a couple of Justice Society members may also make it in the shot.
This year, Harley Quinn has made the front cover of the first issue of Heroes in Crisis. To my knowledge, Harley Quinn has never made it in one of those group shots at DC Comics events. Over at Marvel, I’m not sure if Deadpool, which is the closest equivalent has made it but if he has, it does not happen often. Lobo, a generation ago would be who would have been on the cover instead of Harley Quinn. Like her, he was a late addition that did not originate from the Golden, Silver, or Bronze ages of super hero comics. But to my recollection, Lobo has never been the star of one of those event series.
I think Harley Quinn is overused and sometimes, I wonder if there is genuine love for the character or if she is being pushed aggressively by DC Comics. However, in this series, had any other writer attempted to write her, it would have felt cheap. Tom King uses Harley Quinn very well here. He does it by relying on his old trick and trope. People build relationship through food. There is even an old dig at the Joker.
This story, notwithstanding the various protests by Tom King and others, is very much like Identity Crisis. It is in fact its logical sequel. This is not an insult nor an attempt to belittle the work. There is a mystery involved and it is not certain who killed the heroes in need of help. Speaking of victims, one in particular was very touching. Blue Jay. Not one cares about Blue Jay except for me. Since the Justice League storyline where the Silver Sorceress was murdered, he has been used as fodder and a loser in every other story he appeared in. He is a worse butt of jokes than Aquaman. His death has been planned many times but this time, he was killed and put out of his misery, grossly.
Clay Mann is good here. Although not my favourite illustrator, he gave the farm this Smallville scope of wideness that makes one think everything around is silent. His best scenes are of course the diner ones where the characters just eat and live their relationships like typical Tom King characters.