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Heroes in Crisis

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There's a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by CIA-operative turned comics writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD? Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who've been traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up There's a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by CIA-operative turned comics writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD? Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who've been traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up dead, with two well-known operators as the prime suspects: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold! It's up to the DC Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to investigate--but can they get the job done in the face of overwhelming opposition? Superstar comics writer and former CIA operative, Tom King (Batman, Mister Miracle) examines the potential long-lasting effects of saving the world in this groundbreaking new graphic novel with jaw-dropping art from the team of Clay Mann and Lee Weeks! Collects Heroes in Crisis #1-9


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There's a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by CIA-operative turned comics writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD? Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who've been traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up There's a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by CIA-operative turned comics writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD? Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who've been traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up dead, with two well-known operators as the prime suspects: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold! It's up to the DC Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to investigate--but can they get the job done in the face of overwhelming opposition? Superstar comics writer and former CIA operative, Tom King (Batman, Mister Miracle) examines the potential long-lasting effects of saving the world in this groundbreaking new graphic novel with jaw-dropping art from the team of Clay Mann and Lee Weeks! Collects Heroes in Crisis #1-9

30 review for Heroes in Crisis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    Tom King tries to replicate his incredible success in wrestling with mental health issues and the personal lives of superheroes on a small scale (see, for example, the excellent Mister Miracle) on a much grander stage, with nearly every major DC character popping up in HEROES IN CRISIS. Iconic heroes Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman headline the book, though Booster Gold, Harley Quinn, and The Flash are the focus. Does he succeed? Sort of. King brings his usual brand of sharp dialogue to a Tom King tries to replicate his incredible success in wrestling with mental health issues and the personal lives of superheroes on a small scale (see, for example, the excellent Mister Miracle) on a much grander stage, with nearly every major DC character popping up in HEROES IN CRISIS. Iconic heroes Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman headline the book, though Booster Gold, Harley Quinn, and The Flash are the focus. Does he succeed? Sort of. King brings his usual brand of sharp dialogue to a tale that attempts to get inside the heads of DC’s leading heroes, all of whom, understandably, seem to be suffering from PTSD as a result of the many violent encounters they experience every day. When many of them attempt to deal with those demons at a secret therapy center designed just for spandex-wearing types, however, tragedy strikes in the form of a mass murder. But, WHODUNNIT?! On the one hand, I admire King for trying to tackle these issues in such a massive book; on the other, it just doesn’t feel like the right venue. Further complicating the picture is that it’s unclear whether this is an in-continuity tale. Given that prior “Crisis” books have all been canonical, one assumes the same here, but if that’s the case, then it’s tonally jarring to juxtapose this book with any number of other mainstream DC books that, like all comics, glorify the act of smacking down evildoers (you think Lobo suffers from anxiety?). I mean, going forward, how do you go back to enjoying superheroes pounding bad guys knowing that most of these specific characters are depressed, suicidal, or otherwise struggling with mental health issues? King’s prior books worked because they focused on a sole hero or a family unit and deconstructed and dealt with issues on an individual level. They’re insightful and brilliant. This, however…this feels like a reach. As an Elseworlds-type story, maybe. In continuity, though? Yikes. Still, the execution is solid, so it feels like a three-star book. Why give it four, then? Clay Mann. That’s why. Look, all the art in the book is great, but if I could make sweet, sweet love to Clay Mann’s art, I would be all over that like a cool dog on a warm leg on a hot day (and huge props to the colorist as well; absolutely stunning work). His work is so gorgeous, so rich and vibrant, so breathtaking…that’s an extra star right there, folks. It’s enough to make you forgive his parents for their ridiculous choice of given name, given his surname. So, worth a look at the very least. If you read it, however, be prepared—you’re going to be hard-pressed to read a carefree DC superhero book again afterward. (Okay, so that was a little heavy; here’s a joke to make you feel better: What is something giraffes can have that NO other animal can have? BABY GIRAFFES!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I loved Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s Mister Miracle, have enjoyed most of King’s Batman run, and his The Vision, all of which humanize superheroes. Heroes in Crisis extends that basic point to suggest that superheroes, just as many others in this day and age, must experience ptsd from all they have done and seen, and require healing. King, having worked in Iraq, has seen the trauma that violence can engender. So Sanctuary is a secret treatment facility for heroes with PTSD and other illnesses. And I loved Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s Mister Miracle, have enjoyed most of King’s Batman run, and his The Vision, all of which humanize superheroes. Heroes in Crisis extends that basic point to suggest that superheroes, just as many others in this day and age, must experience ptsd from all they have done and seen, and require healing. King, having worked in Iraq, has seen the trauma that violence can engender. So Sanctuary is a secret treatment facility for heroes with PTSD and other illnesses. And a murderous rampage has taken place there. Ironic, much, to have a violent attack happen in a place where folks are trying to heal from violent attacks? For some of the nine-issue volume, Harley Quinn and Booster Gold are chief suspects, and the chief investigators are Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman (that’s right, the big three!). I don’t have a stake in the issue of who finally dunnit, and I know a lot of fans are upset and hates this comic, but it makes sense to me with my limited background in so many of these (for me) relatively minor characters. I am sure I am missing something, so will read into it more. I’m just giving my first read response here. I like: --I love the 9-panel grids of various superheroes being interviewed by a therapist. Awesome. --I love the artwork of Mitch Gerard and Clay Mann. Top notch. --I know it’s not much of a plot, more about character, but you have to give King credit for never giving you anything you would expect. He’s one of the very best, rewriting how superhero comics work. --I am reminded of another comic that emphasized what damage trauma can do to superheroes: Watchmen. (Okay, son, I’m old enough to know Watchmen and this hy’ar comick mebbe ain’t no Watchmen, but it plays in the same territory, and plays well, in my opinion). A couple complaints: --I would have liked more focus on the treatment center and less on the mass murder and the subsequent murder mystery that ensues, but trust me, all the slaughter and trauma is tied to the madness/mayhem theme, so it works on that level. --I am one who has lauded King for his writing, and specifically his true-to-life dialogue, but I am reading so much of him that he seems like he is repeating himself. I like this approach to dialogue generally—sure, everyone is damaged, so they have a hard time being articulate, but it seems as if almost everyone he writes now talks very much the same way: Short sentences, some of them unfinished, single words. Try moving from Pinter back to Shakespeare, Tom, just to break things up? I don't like this as much as some other King comix, and wanted to give it three stars to distinguish it from other, greater stuff, but the more I wrote, the closer it came to four stars for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Artemy

    The most hated comic of 2019? Quite possibly, but in 2019, what does it matter when pretty much any intellectual property big enough to have a fanbase is being viscerally hated by its own fans. Heroes in Crisis is definitely controversial, it does a lot of things to potentially aggravate its readers. It also says a lot of things that regular superhero comics don't usually say, and that's exactly the reason why I loved this book despite everything else. Yes, the surface plot of it is kind of The most hated comic of 2019? Quite possibly, but in 2019, what does it matter when pretty much any intellectual property big enough to have a fanbase is being viscerally hated by its own fans. Heroes in Crisis is definitely controversial, it does a lot of things to potentially aggravate its readers. It also says a lot of things that regular superhero comics don't usually say, and that's exactly the reason why I loved this book despite everything else. Yes, the surface plot of it is kind of confusing and convoluted, the final revelation is a bit baffling, but I also loved the things this book had to say on the hypocrisy of the Rebirth initiative, and I loved its deep dive into the modern superhero psyche that only Tom King could provide. And in a medium where every decision big or small is destined to be rewritten, retconned, cancelled or forgotten, it's these timeless observations that really matter in the long run. Oh, and Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads absolutely killed it on artwork, they're two of the best artists working in comics today and I am immensely happy that they're getting more work and recognition. People may hate Heroes in Crisis, and everybody's certainly entitled to their opinion, but no one was able to convince me why it's a bad book. It's not. I loved it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Khurram

    The only thing I liked about this book was the artwork I am awarding the 2 stars solely based on that. The story is way too drawn out simply to the the "undercard" characters a chance to shine. For me though I have never been a fan of the "Batman won't think of this as it is too stupid and only I would do it" mentality. The concrete is sound but badly executed. The sanctuary is created for supers to gain mental help when they need it with no judgement or recording (something not even Batman break The only thing I liked about this book was the artwork I am awarding the 2 stars solely based on that. The story is way too drawn out simply to the the "undercard" characters a chance to shine. For me though I have never been a fan of the "Batman won't think of this as it is too stupid and only I would do it" mentality. The concrete is sound but badly executed. The sanctuary is created for supers to gain mental help when they need it with no judgement or recording (something not even Batman break the trust of). There have been murders, with two suspects each convinced the other did it. Did not like the story, apart from the great artwork I would happily not know this book existed. The cover gallery contains all the variant covers. Regular covers at the beginning of every chapter/issue.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Tom King's version of Identity Crisis. Sanctuary is a secret treatment facility for heroes with PTSD and other illnesses. (Arsenal is there because he's a drug addict / alcoholic depending on pre or post Nu 52 mythology.) Something goes down there and a whole bunch of heroes are killed. The big three of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are left to figure out what happened. Who is ultimately behind it makes sense given their awful treatment since the Nu 52 dawned. I do have to say I'm really Tom King's version of Identity Crisis. Sanctuary is a secret treatment facility for heroes with PTSD and other illnesses. (Arsenal is there because he's a drug addict / alcoholic depending on pre or post Nu 52 mythology.) Something goes down there and a whole bunch of heroes are killed. The big three of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are left to figure out what happened. Who is ultimately behind it makes sense given their awful treatment since the Nu 52 dawned. I do have to say I'm really tired of said character getting shit on by DC all the time just because they've made some terrible editorial decisions. (and at this point, DC seems intent on murdering off all of the New Teen Titans if they can have their way.) I can't say I like how King went about it though. He had to bend and twist the storytelling in confusing ways to keep from giving us any hint of what happened until the very end. It, honestly, wasn't very good storytelling, just so he could get his big reveal. His humanizing of superheroes is where King excels. Those 9 panel grids of superheroes talking to a therapist are amazing. Clay Mann and Mitch Gerard knock the art out of the park. The book looks fantastic. Clay Mann in particular needs more regular work. I'd like to see him stick on a monthly book. Received a review copy from DC and Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Malum

    A very Tom Kingian Tom King book, where it's all about emotions and emotional vulnerability rather than punching and laser beams. I like Tom King's work, and so the tone and humor of the book worked for me. What didn't work: The whole "We can't let people find out that some heroes get therapy" subplot. I feel like if you told people that some heroes get therapy most folks would be like "yeah, duh". Also, this subplot was dropped halfway through the story and really only seemed to be included so A very Tom Kingian Tom King book, where it's all about emotions and emotional vulnerability rather than punching and laser beams. I like Tom King's work, and so the tone and humor of the book worked for me. What didn't work: The whole "We can't let people find out that some heroes get therapy" subplot. I feel like if you told people that some heroes get therapy most folks would be like "yeah, duh". Also, this subplot was dropped halfway through the story and really only seemed to be included so that Superman could give a speech about it; like King was just desperate to write a stirring speech for Superman to give. The whole thing felt VERY shoehorned in. The last two issues where they sort out what really happened were totally ridiculous. No spoilers, but it was just so convoluted and dumb.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Basic Plot: Sanctuary, a place for superheroes to go to recover from trauma and get help for mental problems, is attacked and the perpetrator must be brought to justice. What a whirlwind of a plot. The mystery is crafted incredibly well and when the reader finally sees what happened it's pretty mindblowing. I love all the little panels of the heroes talking to Sanctuary and seeing what they say. I also love the resolution of the plot and what it does. The mere concept of sanctuary is beautiful. Basic Plot: Sanctuary, a place for superheroes to go to recover from trauma and get help for mental problems, is attacked and the perpetrator must be brought to justice. What a whirlwind of a plot. The mystery is crafted incredibly well and when the reader finally sees what happened it's pretty mindblowing. I love all the little panels of the heroes talking to Sanctuary and seeing what they say. I also love the resolution of the plot and what it does. The mere concept of sanctuary is beautiful. The idea that PTSD and a host of other issues would logically plague superheroes is something I've thought about often, and this book deals with the idea brilliantly. It also takes a very important step towards the normalization of seeking help for these problems, and that is so important right now. So very very important.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I went into this thinking I wouldn't like it, based on some other reviews. And at first, that was true: I don't want to think about my heroes with real-life psychological problems and foibles. As the story progressed, it grew on me, surprisingly. I really liked the ending, but I won't say why so I don't spoil it for anyone. There are some laugh out loud moments, too. Aside from the story, the artwork was fantastic.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    I mostly enjoyed this up until the last issue, and then it completely lost me. It's not as great as it probably should be given the talent behind it, but I liked the idea of superheroes needing somewhere to go and unload their shit. And then it's only natural those secrets would get out, but then that plot line was mostly dropped?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lemmerman

    There is a place, a place where heroes can go when life doesn't seem to want to give them a hand. Where they can stay for as long as they need, to sort out whatever problems they're dealing with, and go back out into the world a better, stronger person. This place is Sanctuary, and it is meant to be a secret. But when several brutal murders bust Sanctuary wide open and expose it to the world, the race is on to find the true culprit - and both Booster Gold and Harley Quinn are square in the There is a place, a place where heroes can go when life doesn't seem to want to give them a hand. Where they can stay for as long as they need, to sort out whatever problems they're dealing with, and go back out into the world a better, stronger person. This place is Sanctuary, and it is meant to be a secret. But when several brutal murders bust Sanctuary wide open and expose it to the world, the race is on to find the true culprit - and both Booster Gold and Harley Quinn are square in the sights of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. If you're reading this review, I expect you've probably read Heroes In Crisis, or at the very least read the spoilers as to how it works. It was too high profile to go in completely clean at this point. So I won't beat about the bush - this one's controversial. As a fan of all of the characters involved, it was sometimes hard to read. But, and this is a big butt - I get it. I understand what King was trying to do. Yes, he's put fan favourite character in an awkward position. Yes, he's killed off some characters (although I'd argue there's only really one that anyone would miss). And yes, it wasn't always very cleanly done. But overall, I think Heroes In Crisis works as a monument to mental health, and how people in bad situations are going to make bad decisions, and those snowball into worse and worse ones until they have to reach out and ask for help. That's the story of Sanctuary, and I get it. Does that make this any easier to read? No, no it doesn't. Does it save me from the kneejerk 'THIS IS BAD I HATE IT' reaction? Yeah, it does, and I'm glad for it. Tom King's a polarizing writer, but you have to give him his due for telling stories you don't expect, in ways you don't expect them. He also has great friends, because the art from Clay Mann (bar a few awkward Batgirl poses), Lee Weeks, and Mitch Gerads is gorgeous. Heroes In Crisis isn't for everyone. But I think if you can peel back the layers of what King's story is trying to do, you'll see it offers much more under the surface than you might expect.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tiago

    Tom King is becoming the master of psychological superhero drama, I thought Vision was a masterpiece while Mister Miracle was too heavy and long for it to be entertaining, but he found the right balance in Heroes in Crisis. I was about to rank this among the best DC books I ever read, but the convoluted time-travel plot didn't made much sense to me. Still a heck of a good read, one thing that I absolutely love is how King added such a massive flaw to a much beloved character, It only made him Tom King is becoming the master of psychological superhero drama, I thought Vision was a masterpiece while Mister Miracle was too heavy and long for it to be entertaining, but he found the right balance in Heroes in Crisis. I was about to rank this among the best DC books I ever read, but the convoluted time-travel plot didn't made much sense to me. Still a heck of a good read, one thing that I absolutely love is how King added such a massive flaw to a much beloved character, It only made him much more real and interesting from my point of view, kinda the same thing Bendis did to Cyclops a couple years ago, I love these events that end up changing the characters status quo, the same way I always hated characters like Superman, they're endlessly boring in their perfection. The art was incredibly good too. A must-read for superheroes fans.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Berk

    Heroes in Crisis is frustrating to read in a month to month basis. It's slow and plodding, deliberately so. But it reads better in a collection. I read it as it was coming out and from that experience I'd probably give it a two to two and a half star because of how different the two halves of the story feel. You have everything going on in the interview sessions, there isn't and overarching plot going through them they are just character work. Very good character work most of the time I think. Heroes in Crisis is frustrating to read in a month to month basis. It's slow and plodding, deliberately so. But it reads better in a collection. I read it as it was coming out and from that experience I'd probably give it a two to two and a half star because of how different the two halves of the story feel. You have everything going on in the interview sessions, there isn't and overarching plot going through them they are just character work. Very good character work most of the time I think. But the plot of the story outside these interviews. It's a murder mystery in the aftermath of a huge massacre at sanctuary. What is sanctuary? It's an ai that you talk to and it helps you to work things out after being a superhero. Because everybody has undergone trauma and you don't have to carry it alone, you aren't alone. You're only as alone as you make yourself. Built by Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman sanctuary was supposed to help the heroes, to let them know they aren't alone. But as the story opens up there have been a great many murders at sanctuary. Among those dead are Arsenal, Lagoon Boy, Hot spot, Poison Ivy, and Wally West. And it comes down to Booster Gold and Harley Quinn. Both of them think the other did it and Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman/ Barry Allen are left to find out which of them did it if either of them did. The plot is laid out simply but shit gets fuckey towards the end in how convoluted the explanation as to how it happened gets. So what does this suffer from? A few things I think that hold it back from being great. First off the explanation for how it happened is not as interesting nor worth the mystery the title creates. Two, the book is more interested in the overarching point/theme/message then it is in being a compelling plot. Talking primarily about outside of the interviews because those were my favorite part of the book. HiC drops all pretenses in the last issue and has a character monologue what the story is about and by that point you didn't entirely need that. Three at the same time HiC had too many issues (9) and not enough. It ends where there should have been another issue or the ramifications of this may be dealt with elsewhere but I have yet to hear about any of that. And the first four issues seem to be concerned with a different story then the rest of it, as they drop Batman/Superman/ Wonder Woman to focus more on Booster/Beetle/Quinn/Batgirl, not that that's a problem but they have more focus in the beginning and sort of become an inevitable force by the end instead of characters. Those are the three things that I think drag HiC in a major sort of way. I have other nitpicks like the dialogue, or how certain characters act but they aren't entirely actual problems that drag the story down. (But those Robin interviews are weird) The good of the story is the art which is exceptionally brilliant. Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads kill it with breathtaking images. It's almost worth reading for that alone. And while the message is delivered very strongly I think it surely has something worth saying and has a strong reason for being. And despite my problems I enjoyed my time with it even if the confusion and frustration got to me sometimes. 3 stars, I don't think it's an all time great but it's worth a look if you read multiple titles in the DC universe or keep up on the events.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. While vigilantism is always at the heart of juridical debates, with individuals breaking the law to serve a greater good, we’re often led to believe that their lives are void of adversity and that they represent the paragon of virtues as they dish out their own form of justice to those that escape the grasps of the law. Albeit partially true, these individuals are also subjugated to the same scale of emotions as everyone else and face some of You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. While vigilantism is always at the heart of juridical debates, with individuals breaking the law to serve a greater good, we’re often led to believe that their lives are void of adversity and that they represent the paragon of virtues as they dish out their own form of justice to those that escape the grasps of the law. Albeit partially true, these individuals are also subjugated to the same scale of emotions as everyone else and face some of the toughest decisions that humanity will ever have to face. Yet, how do they cope with these issues without breaking down and fully assuming those vulnerabilities that could destroy the image they represent for the people they protect? From the ex-CIA-operative who has given us The Sheriff of Babylon and Mister Miracle, Tom King, the same man who has been writing the ongoing Batman series since the beginning of DC Comics’ Rebirth era, now comes a stand-alone superhero story centered on the ability of these guardians to handle post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What is Heroes in Crisis about? Located in an ultra-secret farm lies Sanctuary, a therapy center for superheroes who, more often than not, voluntarily bite off more than they can ever chew in their crime-fighting lives, whether it concerns a simple bank robbery or a cosmic crisis. Through interviews with androids with artificial intelligence and an immersive virtual reality therapy, these heroes are invited to openly speak about the issues they have faced and the emotions they have been dealing with on a daily basis. A tragedy, nevertheless, strikes this location, where confidentiality is supposedly at its peak, when some of the heroes who presented themselves there as patients are found dead and only two very unusual suspects are identified: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold. It’s up to the DC Trinity (Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman) to demystify this tragedy while these heroes are put under extreme scrutiny. This story arc happens to be one of the most controversial plotting schemes by Tom King so far, as he generated an outburst among fans with his daring characterization of certain heroes, notably Wally West (The Flash). What he accomplishes in this nine-part tale completely remolds a hero and leads to a dark, twisted, and unpredictable finale that is far from being pleasant to the eyes of certain fans. Told through three distinct narrative styles (nine-panel grid interviews with patients at Sanctuary, the Trinity’s search for answers and their management of public outrage, as well as the point of views of several characters, including the prime suspects), the story slowly builds on the suspense until the grand reveal in the final two issues. Although the story is configured as a whodunit, Tom King also does what he does best as he focuses on character development by highlighting trauma through hesitant, confused or perplexed dialogues. It is stories like these that make comics so fascinating as they go beyond the narrative and tackle ideas and themes that aren’t easy to fathom. Although the story is slightly convoluted with segments that explore unmemorable heroes and their existential crises, as well as relatively-minor issues regarding plot holes, pacing and structure, the jaw-dropping and marvelous artwork elevates the quality of this graphic novel to incredible heights. It is to be noted that artist Clay Mann figures among my favourite talents in the comic book business and even gets a helping hand from the talented Travis Moore, Lee Weeks, Mitch Gerads and Jorge Fornes. Alongside the stunning colouring by Tomeu Morey, Arif Prianto and Mitch Gerads, this graphic novel provided an insightful look at the splendid collaboration between artists and colourists into delivering incredible splash pages with near-perfect character designs. The meticulous detail in the subtle body language and facial expressions are also magnificent, allowing the artwork to speak for itself. Heroes in Crisis is an ambitious and daunting exploration of mental health issues amongst superheroes by breaking the status quo with heroes and villains alike, coupled with breath-taking artwork to deliver a controversial and daring crisis among heroes. Yours truly, Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer Official blog: https://bookidote.com/

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Disclaimer up front -read as digital floppies (there-that's out of the way) From online comments I think I'm in the minority. This was a really good concept, close to great, but King's execution was off just enough, the ending just muddled enough that I cannot give this four stars. It's good, and if you're a fan of American super hero comics I think you should give this a try. Over the years I have worked with multiples EMS, Fire, and Police personnel. My partner's son has served multiple tours in Disclaimer up front -read as digital floppies (there-that's out of the way) From online comments I think I'm in the minority. This was a really good concept, close to great, but King's execution was off just enough, the ending just muddled enough that I cannot give this four stars. It's good, and if you're a fan of American super hero comics I think you should give this a try. Over the years I have worked with multiples EMS, Fire, and Police personnel. My partner's son has served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and remains active duty. Based off my my experiences King has a good idea here. That super heroes would need a place for treatment for PTSD and other mental health issues that would arise from their activities (see Sideways in the last issue, and some others). Frankly, I would have enjoyed the series more if it had centered on Sanctuary and its patients, and less on the massacre that happened there. I'm going to gloss over King's comments on editorial dictating who was to be used, and who was to die. That's the hazard of doing work-for-hire assignments, and King has been at this long enough to know that (BTW loved the last issues Red Tornado joke which was IMO King poking fun at himself). In some ways the Sanctuary concept, which I bet disappears after this, will go down as a missed opportunity like J Michael Straczynski's super hospital for DC and Ben Dunn's MetaDocs.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanja

    Tom king does what he does best, takes superheros and grounds them in a way that no one else can. Heros in crisis is an exploration of PTSD and how even the strongest of us need help to deal with emotions such as grief and loneliness. Just because you are in a position of great power does not mean you are not vulnerable and you shouldn't have to suffer in silence. The raw emotion of the book is framed around a compelling mystery story that brings together the entire DC roster. This is a must Tom king does what he does best, takes superheros and grounds them in a way that no one else can. Heros in crisis is an exploration of PTSD and how even the strongest of us need help to deal with emotions such as grief and loneliness. Just because you are in a position of great power does not mean you are not vulnerable and you shouldn't have to suffer in silence. The raw emotion of the book is framed around a compelling mystery story that brings together the entire DC roster. This is a must read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rory Wilding

    This review contains spoilers. The word “crisis” means something huge in the DC Universe, as it is often used for an event with potentially great consequences, often involving multiple universes and sometimes even threatening their existence. However, when it comes to titles like Identity Crisis, superheroes are facing their own psychological issues and instead of cosmic threats, it’s about domestic abuse and murder. This is more in line with what Tom King – a writer who is now known for pissing This review contains spoilers. The word “crisis” means something huge in the DC Universe, as it is often used for an event with potentially great consequences, often involving multiple universes and sometimes even threatening their existence. However, when it comes to titles like Identity Crisis, superheroes are facing their own psychological issues and instead of cosmic threats, it’s about domestic abuse and murder. This is more in line with what Tom King – a writer who is now known for pissing off readers – has done with Heroes in Crisis, which explores how a superhero handles PTSD. After being mentioned several times in King’s current run in the main Batman title, he finally introduces here “Sanctuary”, a secret rehabilitation centre for superheroes and reformed supervillains dealing with mental health issues. When a horrible massacre claims the lives of nearly all its patients, Harley Quinn and Booster Gold are targeted as the prime suspects, causing the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to investigate. From The Vision to Mister Miracle, Tom King is clearly influenced by the works of Alan Moore, whose magnum opus Watchmen that is known for its exploration of the dark psychology of costumed vigilantes, inspired the many video confessions of the super-powered patients going through the rehabilitation of Sanctuary. Told in the nine-panel grid as drawn by Clay Mann, these pages are a real eye-opener in how these superheroes – even including the DC Trinity – speak how they really feel as their personas is not just to disguise themselves from the public, but also hiding their internal fears. As bleak as the subject matter can be, King is a dark humorist as shown through the lens of the two prime suspects. Having been through a lot already as King’s Batman, Booster Gold and Harley Quinn bring out the laughs in the most unusual situations, beginning with the first issue where they are initially dining in a café to then attacking each other, due to accusing each other of the murders. Although the Trinity is important figures as they are the minds behind Sanctuary, the driving force of the narrative is Booster and Harley, who have to pair up along with Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and Ted Kord/Blue Beetle to solve the mystery. With the presence of Sanctuary and the murders that are getting closer to being revealed to the public, it opens the idea of people starting to mistrust these powerful figures who are there to protect the innocent. If superheroes can feel the trauma that we all can experience, is our safety at risk? In issue five, Superman answers to the world by delivering a speech that not only explains the need for a facility like Sanctuary, but also being a humanising moment that cuts through to the essence of heroism and empowers. Showcasing the wide canvas of the DC Universe, from Ystin the Shining Knight to Adam Strange to Swamp Thing – with Clay Mann doing some of his best work – the speech brings out the best in King’s writing and states his idea about superheroes should be, which is no matter what nightmares they face, they are able to climb out of the darkness. Despite the inspirational speech from the Man of Steel that occurs halfway through the book, why do the final two issues make a complete U-turn? Issue #8 reveals that Wally West caused the massacre by accident. Still grappling with the trauma related to having his family erased in the New 52, Wally finds out about the other heroes being treated by Sanctuary, causing this emotional outbreak that unleashes an energy blast from the Speed Force that kills almost everyone. Although King is playing with the idea of the Flash being a key player in the numerous events from DC’s history, there are a lot of hoops that King have to achieve that feel convoluted, and how the heroes resolve this whole ordeal at the end tries to in some way redeem Wally. Whatever your thoughts are on Mister Miracle, which may not give clear answers, but it was about self-improvement and its titular character finding some comfort amidst the ambiguity. Heroes in Crisis ends on a bleaker note where you can’t be helped and as much as Wally turns himself in, it is an outcome that contradicts a lot of the book had done. Although we do see what happens to Wally in the pages of Flash Forward, I feel like the damage has already been done. This is perhaps the most controversial comic book of the year, but despite the problematic conclusion, Tom King – along with his array of artists from Clay Mann to Mitch Gerads, etc. – presents a thoughtful spin on a wide range of DC characters going through the everyday fears that we experience. On a side note, I do wish Clay Mann dials back on his butt fetish.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Štěpán Tichý

    I don't like to write this but Heroes in Crisis is Tom King's dealing with his depression and problems. I love Tom King. I enjoy his work and I really like him as a person. But recently his Batman and this became so different. Full of despair, whining, gloom and ugliness that I just can't take this anymore. superheroes can be sad. Superheroes can go mad and get broken. But there is the "but" that matters. There needs to be the point of the story where the hero is a hero. And this whole Crisis is I don't like to write this but Heroes in Crisis is Tom King's dealing with his depression and problems. I love Tom King. I enjoy his work and I really like him as a person. But recently his Batman and this became so different. Full of despair, whining, gloom and ugliness that I just can't take this anymore. superheroes can be sad. Superheroes can go mad and get broken. But there is the "but" that matters. There needs to be the point of the story where the hero is a hero. And this whole Crisis is just dialogues that should be said to a therapist and not a mainstream comic book event... Changes that are shown here aren't good. They feel weird. They are not fun. This is not a fun read. I think that PTSD is overlooked in this society. And it is important for us to take a more proactive approach but I'm afraid that this is really not like this. The whole concept of the sanctuary is not good. That's not how therapy works (you build on previous sessions, you don't go every time and start from the bottom). Batman isn't a pussy. Yes he is a flawed character but he's not this. Harley is not supposed to kick the big Trio's ass,.. The dialogue shouldn't be so corny and so stupid. They are talking about serious issues and the next panel there is a joke about "bros" and how cute everything is. Unfortunately just no. Art is beautiful. I'm always sorry when I don't rate the comic as a whole. But art from Clay Man and Gerads is magnificent and simply stellar. I can't say anything bad about this. This is top notch art. Double page spreads are stunning and they are gorgeous. For art, it is worth just to flip through this comic book. I won't rate this. I'd have to put 2stars for the story and 5stars for the art. But I don't want to rate this book because I'm just sad and not the good kind of sad.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell Kukulka

    ”I was there to stop hiding. I think that’s better. Whatever the opposite of hiding is. I was there to do that. ” It was a long and arduous journey that kicked up a lot of backlash from entitled fans, but Tom King manages to bring it home with an effective tale about PTSD, self-discovery and recovery told with a depth and sensitivity that’s rare in any medium.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Blindzider

    I was really excited about this book when I first heard the concept: Basically a therapy facility for superheroes. Up to this point, King has been slowly and delicately including mental health issues in his books, most notably in Miracle Man. Heroes in Crisis brings the topic right to the forefront, where it is revealed that there is a secret facility that superheroes can talk and work through their issues: the excessive violence on a day to day basis, dual identities, death of parents, etc. I was really excited about this book when I first heard the concept: Basically a therapy facility for superheroes. Up to this point, King has been slowly and delicately including mental health issues in his books, most notably in Miracle Man. Heroes in Crisis brings the topic right to the forefront, where it is revealed that there is a secret facility that superheroes can talk and work through their issues: the excessive violence on a day to day basis, dual identities, death of parents, etc. Mental health is a serious issue and the awareness and acceptance (especially of treatment) is becoming less taboo and the subject of ridicule (albeit very slowly in the U.S.) It is one of the causes of many of our societal issues such as homelessness and violence (such as serial killers). But it is also part of the reason for high levels of depression and general unhappiness, leading to suicide. No spoilers... I applaud King for doing this, however, in this particular story, I felt the mystery overshadowed the message. Sure the presence of Sanctuary is there, and Superman gives a nice speech about getting therapy and that it is ok, but the mystery and delivery of the plot, made everything very confusing. Once it is resolved at the end the reader is so focused on trying to figure out just what happened you tend to forget what King was really trying to say. Clay Mann's art is gorgeous! His heroes look...super, meaning they look awe-inspiring, greater than human. There are multiple pages that are basically pin-ups, full page scenes, generally full of emotion. Maybe it's just because you don't see these characters in these poses, but Mann pulls it off expertly. Sadly he didn't do the entire book and required a few fill-in artists, sometimes within the same issue, but otherwise the art, including inking and coloring was top notch. Sadly, this book doesn't stand up to King's other off-center books, namely Vision and the aforementioned Miracle Man. It tries to be another, but different type of DC Crisis event and it stumbles along the way, failing at both. Worth the read, but it doesn't reach a higher level like his other works.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Drown Hollum

    This book is so interesting and strange, and really a thing to behold. At first glance, we are looking at a Crisis style event, featuring a Flash, time travel, and a crossover of several major (and minor) DC heroes. This would be run of the mill, except for the fact that it's not that at all, and instead uses the presumed context of a Crisis style event to explore the psychology of superheroism and super-trauma. The time travel stuff is barely functional, though it meets the standards of your This book is so interesting and strange, and really a thing to behold. At first glance, we are looking at a Crisis style event, featuring a Flash, time travel, and a crossover of several major (and minor) DC heroes. This would be run of the mill, except for the fact that it's not that at all, and instead uses the presumed context of a Crisis style event to explore the psychology of superheroism and super-trauma. The time travel stuff is barely functional, though it meets the standards of your usual DC fare, but at the end of the day, the fact that it feels like an afterthought is what matters most of all. The focus of this series is the minds of our heroes. How in the age of DC's supertech, death is impermanent, time-travel is at the hands of simpletons, clones are blase, and a whole universal reboot is right around the corner. But what the fuck does that do to a person's mind? Heroes in Crisis reads like Astro City. And if you haven't read early Astro City but loved this book, that needs to be next on your list. Tom remains King, and while this book may not click with people expecting something more action-oriented, be ready to see things in a way you may not have ever considered.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steven Matview

    Tom King, more like Joe King, because this book is a joke. Okay, I actually think there is a germ of a good idea in here – how superheroes react to PTSD has a lot of interesting potential. But it’s wasted on a half-baked mystery that makes Identity Crisis look like a masterpiece by comparison and ruins one of DC’s best characters in the process. Tom King has a lot of solid series – Vision, Mister Miracle, The Omega Men, to name a few. Give any of those your time and money before investing in this Tom King, more like Joe King, because this book is a joke. Okay, I actually think there is a germ of a good idea in here – how superheroes react to PTSD has a lot of interesting potential. But it’s wasted on a half-baked mystery that makes Identity Crisis look like a masterpiece by comparison and ruins one of DC’s best characters in the process. Tom King has a lot of solid series – Vision, Mister Miracle, The Omega Men, to name a few. Give any of those your time and money before investing in this misstep.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Intriguing premise that railroads many characters through its plot & runs roughshod over all of them, Wally West & Barbara Gordon most of all. Only good thing in it at all was return of Booster Gold & Blue Beetle. Tom King may be impressing Batman fans, but this book makes it very hard for me to want to pick up anything by him in the future

  23. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Could you imagine being the guy who comes into the editor's office and goes "So I'm pitching an epic event about PTSD and friendship and emotions. And it's going to have dumb jokes all the time because neither I nor my intended fanbase can cope with genuine emotions without masking them in piles of punchlines. Also, the climax is going to have someone say "Bros before heroes" in the middle of a murder confession because that's not, like, palpably stupid, right? Also, time travel will be mixed in Could you imagine being the guy who comes into the editor's office and goes "So I'm pitching an epic event about PTSD and friendship and emotions. And it's going to have dumb jokes all the time because neither I nor my intended fanbase can cope with genuine emotions without masking them in piles of punchlines. Also, the climax is going to have someone say "Bros before heroes" in the middle of a murder confession because that's not, like, palpably stupid, right? Also, time travel will be mixed in because I have to preserve the status quo as much as possible. Also, I'm not really planning to explore PTSD. Also also, please don't let me write this book because it's the most horrid thing DC has put out in a while. How about that?" So, could you imagine being that guy? If you could, don't bother. Instead, imagine yourself as the exec who goes "Wow, great idea. Let's get this done." Imagine being THAT GUY. On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a big ol' mistake that should not have seen the light of day.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This review can also be found on my blog: https://graphicnovelty2.com/2019/10/0... Tagline: “How does a superhero handle PTSD?” Superheros have been dealing with the repercussions of death and destruction for years and who better than author Tom King, a former CIA operative, to know that this would start to wear on these DC heroes. Thus Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman band together to build a secret mental health clinic in rural Nebraska called Sanctuary where heroes can go for anonymous This review can also be found on my blog: https://graphicnovelty2.com/2019/10/0... Tagline: “How does a superhero handle PTSD?” Superheros have been dealing with the repercussions of death and destruction for years and who better than author Tom King, a former CIA operative, to know that this would start to wear on these DC heroes. Thus Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman band together to build a secret mental health clinic in rural Nebraska called Sanctuary where heroes can go for anonymous assistance. It is staffed by androids and offers virtual reality reenactment and counseling to help them with their issues. Event books seem to be my kryptonite with DC. While I rarely read about individual superheroes, except for Aquaman lately, I am a sucker for these stories that bring everyone together in sometimes implausible ways. So the story begins with Harley Quinn and Blue Beetle duking it out, as each accuses the other of being a murderer- and we soon find out that there was a slaughter at the Sanctuary with several heroes dead. While most of them are heroes of little note, Wally West who is the original Kid Flash, is one of the casualties. The Big Three are called to investigate, and they are dumbfounded, as they had put in place many safeguards to protect their traumatized brethren. The story had some incredible highs and lows. While I applaud the idea that superheroes would need counseling to process their grief and the insight that King brought to the large cast of characters, the ending was very convoluted. I had to poke around in The New 52 and DC Rebirth to understand why the culprit did what they did, and it still didn’t make a lot of sense. But no matter, this character will be yet again retconned and their crimes will not matter in the future. In addition, the release of private confessionals to the public and Lois Lane’s decision to go to print with the story rubbed me the wrong way. In real life, there are “outings” of people’s private lives all the time for sensationalistic effect, all in the name of the “public’s right to know”. Yet, the book worked in smaller moments. There were some interesting pairings- towards the end Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold band together to solve the mystery of what happened. As I don’t read a lot of DC, I was unaware that Harley and Poison Ivy were a couple, but the two of them have a brand new mini-series that takes place directly after this event, aptly named Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. I enjoyed seeing Batgirl prevent Harley from spiraling out of control, and the bromance between BB and BG. I looked up several of the heroes I was unfamiliar with, and the insecurities that the four Robins showed was pitch-perfect. Tom King is now known as someone who writes about deeper psychological issues, and that is readily shown in this story. The artwork by Clay Mann, Travis Moore, Mitch Gerads, Jorge Fornes and Lee Weeks was absolutely outstanding. For so many artists, the style stayed remarkably consistent. The two-page splash pages that opened each issue were visually stunning, with distinct drawings of both small settings and large outdoor expanses. The nine-panel pages were my favorite, as each character was drawn with precision, with facial expressions showing their personalities and conveying the distress that they each of them was working through. Rich colouring and lettering also added to the top-notch illustrations. All in all, a thought-provoking story that may trigger some difficult feelings for some readers, as mental health is a loaded topic for some, but is worth discussing and bringing out into the open. I was glad to read an online preview from NetGalley before it was published and will plan or ordering this graphic novel for my library.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beelzefuzz

    I did not hate it as much as I was supposed to, but it was disappointing. The idea of super hero PTSD is good and King follows this message fairy well before screwing it up a bit in the end (see below). The mystery aspect is not handled well and comes off as trite and teasing. It is far too padded. It was supposed to be 7 issues, but it was pushed to 9. Most of the scenes of Harley Quinn and Booster having a long drawn out misunderstanding battle could be thrown away to alleviate the need for I did not hate it as much as I was supposed to, but it was disappointing. The idea of super hero PTSD is good and King follows this message fairy well before screwing it up a bit in the end (see below). The mystery aspect is not handled well and comes off as trite and teasing. It is far too padded. It was supposed to be 7 issues, but it was pushed to 9. Most of the scenes of Harley Quinn and Booster having a long drawn out misunderstanding battle could be thrown away to alleviate the need for those two extra issues. It is obvious from the start their battle is pointless and if it is metaphorically about blame shifting, then this thread's conclusion is confusing. The solving of the ultimate problem is where the book trips up the most. It presents the issue as a puzzle, and it is a metaphor for the key problem King is addressing, but then it is solved with some hand waving future tech throwaway plan. If the whole point is a) dealing with PTSD does not make you any less of a hero and you need not sacrifice yourself both mentally and physically and b) that not dealing with your PTSD today will have an adverse affect on the you of the future, then how does the shown solution compliment either of those points? The bit with the caveman talking about Plato's Myth of the Cave allegory is interesting, but again undercut by the ending. I would definitely not pass on this though, because it is worth your time to see what he is trying to do, and maybe you can answer my question about the solution as it pertains to the message.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I really liked the premise of this run, though I thought it was a little messy in execution. I loved that this addressed PTSD in heroes and how different people process their trauma - the emotion has always been my favorite part of these stories and I thought that was really strong here. The technical story is kind of convoluted, so that was a little weaker - at first I was trying to work it out, but as it goes on you can kind of tell that the actual story isn't the point.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Payne

    Gotta start by saying that the concept of this book is awesome. Getting to see our favorite heroes dealing with the stuff they go through every day in a type of “therapy” has a ton of potential and this book largely delivers that. Unfortunately I think it just needed more concise editing (aka I think this could have been at least 2-3 issues shorter). There’s just a lot of time spent in, albeit gorgeously drawn, panels that show a wide variety of characters talking through part of their problems. Gotta start by saying that the concept of this book is awesome. Getting to see our favorite heroes dealing with the stuff they go through every day in a type of “therapy” has a ton of potential and this book largely delivers that. Unfortunately I think it just needed more concise editing (aka I think this could have been at least 2-3 issues shorter). There’s just a lot of time spent in, albeit gorgeously drawn, panels that show a wide variety of characters talking through part of their problems. Based on what I said at the beginning this shouldn’t be a negative but a lot of them have nothing to do with the overarching story. I think it was just a way to reference a bunch of characters. I get it, but for a person that is newer to comics it just was a drag on the book. If you take that out I think this book is pretty good, especially considering how stunning the visuals are. 3 out of 5.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    This was amazing. Beautifully done. I would consider it an iconic moment in comic history and very representative of the world we live in right now. Superheroes need therapy too. Only qualm I have is that the ending came up really fast on me and I feel like I need to do a little research to slow down and understand what (or better, how it) exactly happened.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diego López Ocón

    Welcome to the most controversial comic of 2019 Heroes in Crisis is a comic that was is supposed to talk about PTSD on heroes and villains. Is not the first time that Tom King writes about this issue on a comic, during his current career is something (the PTSD) that revolves around the stories he writes, such is the case of my favorite Mister Miracle and on the other side, his Batman run (Please just end it). In other words, it can go in any way, in this case, it's complicated. The books gets Welcome to the most controversial comic of 2019 Heroes in Crisis is a comic that was is supposed to talk about PTSD on heroes and villains. Is not the first time that Tom King writes about this issue on a comic, during his current career is something (the PTSD) that revolves around the stories he writes, such is the case of my favorite Mister Miracle and on the other side, his Batman run (Please just end it). In other words, it can go in any way, in this case, it's complicated. The books gets to make a point in the end, whatever that it is that you're going through, you're not alone. It's solid, it's good, I really really liked it. King shows from the perspective of these characters, how everyone has a strugle that doesn't let us in peace. However is how this story is told that creates a problem, some says that certain someone Dan Didio intervined on the story and decided that it wasn't interesting to have a story about heroes with traumas without some gore and murder in between (and sell it like that), or as it has been said You can't have a Crisis without killing a Flash. And what do we get from this unlikely fusion? This story. Leaving the whining of a lot of people outside of this, I can say: The good: 1). Let's start by the attractive of this book, the art, Clay Mann nailed it, I loved the art, and to be honest, sometimes I question if it wasn't for it I would have thrown away this story. 2). Those little interviews in each issue, those confesions really talked more than they should. 3). The expression of dealing with PTSD (and I really want you to hear me on this one), give it a second reading, leave aside all that murderous plot crap and read the parts about how sometimes we can be apart while the world keeps moving like nothing else but nevertheless everyone is carrying with something. (King really knows about this althrough is hard to put in words and worst on a hero story). The bad: (view spoiler)[1). Lets bring Wally back from the dead because we need hope in this Rebirth era, and then destroy him, destroy the character, destroy hope and let's made him a mastermind murderer. (hide spoiler)] 2). How King never got the characters personalities, I couldn't even get to understand why Batgirl, Booster, and Harley would act that way. It's terrible. 3). DC just showed here that they don't care about their characters, this is what DC has become, a company that kills and kills their characters just for sales. This is the legacy of Rebirth. Writers just letting a bunch of characters get destroyed because DC doesn't know what to do with them. And not only here. Just take a look a Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, Jon Kent, Roy Harper, etc. The comics and the what these superheroes are meant to represent are out place and basically a lot of people is just giving up. DC wants to accomplish something but they're not hearing the fans, if something doesn't fit as they please, they don't try to move it or change it, they just destroy it. 4). With leads to this point, these event was promoted to change the DC Universe, and that change is that now there are less characters and now they have the only characters that they really want to use in the future. I enjoyed Heroes in Crisis for what it tried to be originally, not for what it ended up being.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    After this series concluded there was a quote floating around from Tom King about how he didn't pick the characters for the story, rather he pitched the idea and editorial told him who to use. At the time I assumed that was just him trying to run damage control for a book that was pretty universally panned, but after reading it, that makes a bit sense, since the majority of the characters act so out of character there's no way they were the intended focal points of this story (I remain convinced After this series concluded there was a quote floating around from Tom King about how he didn't pick the characters for the story, rather he pitched the idea and editorial told him who to use. At the time I assumed that was just him trying to run damage control for a book that was pretty universally panned, but after reading it, that makes a bit sense, since the majority of the characters act so out of character there's no way they were the intended focal points of this story (I remain convinced that Tom King has never actually read a Booster Gold comic before). King's "heroes as soldiers" trope is wearing incredibly thin at this point, and while there's a place for a nuanced story about the trauma these characters experience, this ain't it. On the art side of things, Mann's art on a technical level is fine, but his cheesecake influences really have no place in a story that is supposed to have a level of gravitas to it like this.

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