Tom King (“Batman,” “Mister Miracle”) and Clay Mann (“Trinity,” “X-Men”) are launching “Heroes in Crisis,” a seven issue miniseries about the mental health of the heroes of the DC Universe this September. This is the long-rumored ‘Sanctuary’ project by King, which he has hinted at in his “Batman” run. Sanctuary is a trauma center for superheroes, founded by Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and the series will also feature two recent denizens of the facility, Harley Quinn and Booster Gold.
This is not the first comic to reference the mental toll that being a superhero takes on the people under the capes, but the topic has, perhaps, never been addressed as directly as it is here. King was inspired by his time in the CIA and the treatment of veterans in the United States.
“I feel like I’m part of a rolling generation of people who spent their twenties overseas fighting terrorism. Millions of people cycle through that machine and come home to America. And I think that sort of experience of violence is shaping who we are as a culture, and as a country. And I want to talk about that. I want to talk about that experience, the experience of what violence can do to a person, to a community, to a nation, to a world.”
The cover to the book features the aforementioned characters, surrounded by some of the biggest players of the DC Universe, including both Wally West and Barry Allen Flashes, Batgirl, and Aquaman. Of particular note are the heroes that are associated with King, Dick Grayson, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda, are all present, as are a number of characters who have recently been reintroduced to DC audiences, Hawkman and Dr. Fate, and some characters unseen for some time, including Power Girl and the Phantom Stranger.
King describes the book as a ‘murder mystery,’ and the only clue as to who may have been murdered from the cover is the mask that Superman is holding, which slightly resembles the Psycho Pirate’s mask.
Much of King’s DC work, especially “The Sheriff of Babylon” and “The Omega Men,” has touched on the traumatic effects of war, and this seems like a natural continuation of those themes. Whenever mixing superheroics and real life issues, there is always the mix of it coming off as phony or insincere. This is never a problem with King’s work, and the story seems to draw very much from his personal experiences.
The title of the book also references an incredibly important word in DC history: crisis. Here, the term has a double meaning as both the state these heroes find themselves in, and the import of the story from DC’s perspective. The only other “Crisis” to be this grounded in ‘reality’ was “Identity Crisis,” the Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales miniseries that dealt with…well, let’s not get into that right now.
King and Mann are joined on the book by editor Jamie S. Rich, colorist Tomeu Morey and letterer Clayton Cowles. The first issue drops on September 26th.
Read the full press release below.
DC REVEALS TOM KING AND CLAY MANN’S TOP SECRET PROJECT, SANCTUARY, AS “HEROES IN CRISIS”
Seven-Issue September Miniseries Offers King’s Unprecedented Vision of the DC Universe
Introduces Sanctuary, A Crisis Center for DC Super Heroes That Combines Superman’s Kryptonian Technology, Wonder Woman’s Amazonian Mysticism and Is Powered by Batman’s Financial Empire
(June 13, 2018 – Burbank, CA) There’s a crisis headed toward DC’s greatest heroes, but it isn’t coming from outer space or another dimension—this time, the threat is homegrown. DC proudly presents a new seven-issue miniseries debuting in September by Tom King and his BATMAN collaborator/artist Clay Mann, titled HEROES IN CRISIS.
A former counterterrorism operations officer with the CIA, King’s bestselling, critically acclaimed comics—including THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON, THE OMEGA MEN, BATMAN, MISTER MIRACLE—have often grappled with war and conflict, and a hero’s struggle to put their war and their trauma behind them. This new series will explore similar themes against the backdrop of a murder mystery involving Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Booster Gold, and the rest of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes.Continued below
“I feel like I’m part of a rolling generation of people who spent their twenties overseas fighting terrorism,” explained King. “Millions of people cycle through that machine and come home to America. And I think that sort of experience of violence is shaping who we are as a culture, and as a country. And I want to talk about that. I want to talk about that experience, the experience of what violence can do to a person, to a community, to a nation, to a world.”
These pressures and internal conflicts can impact superheroes just as hard, if not more. To that end, King created a sanctuary within the pages of the comics he’s writing—a crisis center for superheroes who spend their lives fighting villainy and protecting others.
HEROES IN CRISIS is not a tale of universes colliding and dying. Instead this is a story centering on the humans and superhumans under the mask; this is about what allows them to get up and fight when it appears they can’t ever get up and fight again. When it’s too much, and it’s often too much, heroes go to Sanctuary—created by Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman—to find a moment of safety before returning to a universe of violence. HEROES IN CRISIS is also about what happens when Sanctuary fails, resulting in catastrophic consequences for the DCU.
“If I could do anything to the DCU,” concluded King, “it would be to bring a sense of community of superheroes and people. I feel a duty to talk about what violence does to a society through the comics I’m creating.”
The premiere issue of HEROES IN CRISIS, written by Tom King with art by Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey, lettered by Clayton Cowles, and edited by Jamie S. Rich and Brittany Holzherr, will reach comic book stores and be available digitally on September 26.