Eisner Award winning writer Tom King has a passionate story to tell and it starts in September at DC Comics. Heroes in Crisis goes deep into the psyche of the Trinity revealing something King says is bigger than anything weve seen before.
“Something’s been broken deep inside the DC universe. The one place, the one thing that should be safe. The one thing that’s most sacred this week is more than a world exploding. This means more than a universe dying. This is the effort of everything they’ve done torn apart and they have to solve that.”
Tom King and DC Comics invited press to an experience Friday morning at the pier behind San Diego Comic-Con. The event took place on a boat and was all about King’s new series, Heroes of Crisis, which debuts September 26 with main artist Clay Mann. It’s a new series focused on a crisis center created by Batman using Kryptonian technology with Wonder Woman’s compassion called Sanctuary, but that gets upended by a massacre.
The experience took me into Sanctuary so as to understand what a crisis center like this might feel like. We were first given white robes with DC logos emblazoned on the back and treated to a super healthy fruit breakfast. As the press mingled there were men with gold masks looming around, making us feel uneasy. They were patrons like us masked to shield their identity which is a key feature of Sanctuary that King detailed. Soon the press was ushered to an outdoor area and asked to sit on pillows laid out before Tom King with two masked men sitting on each of his sides. Sitting in front of a gauze curtain, the mood was calm as one might find at a spa up in the mountains.
The scene was set and kicked off by an audio recording of the A.I. who, presumably, run Sanctuary in the comic books. The speaker tells us “Sanctuary is the therapy you need,” and “We base our therapy on Batman’s will, Wonder Woman’s compassion, and Superman’s need to always do right.” Once the audio recording was complete King explained this is a series not created by himself alone but with the help of two of his best friends: artists Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads. King explained Mann would be the artist on the main book with art by Gerads on supporting books that do a deep dive on specific characters. This was certainly great news for anyone who was a fan of the work King and Gerads have done on Mister Miracle and Sheriff of Babylon.
King explained this series started to formulate after a tumultuous time when he rushed to the hospital unsure if he was having a panic attack or actually dying. It was a moment in his life where he realized the pressures of life can affect all of us and yet we may not see it on the surface. It’s a personal story, King said, and it’s his next big thing because “I’m tired of the world ending.”
The story is set in rural Nebraska near the border of South Dakota. It’s a place where heroes can enter what he calls Halo Chambers anonymously (by wearing the masks Gerads and Mann were wearing) and get the therapy they need. If you need to climb a mountain or walk down a dark alley and meet yourself, the chambers can give you what you need. It’s in this self-reflection characters can get help. “That’s why I love Batman,” King says, because Batman knows “Our pain is our strength.” Once your therapy is complete King told us everyone gets a special pin representing Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman.
With the explanation out of the way, King said the story begins with a massacre, a mass shooting at Sanctuary, where a dozen heroes are killed. “It starts with something we see every day in America.” We don’t know who killed them and the story starts with this mystery. “Batman says what’s happened is what always happens. Our attempt at redemption has turned into another quest for vengeance.”
King elaborated on the deeper meaning of the series saying he wanted to get back to a time when the world made sense. He related how after 9/11 the world joined together and that no longer exists. The story may start with tragedy, but King said the deeper meaning in the story is putting it all back together which is more important than ever in America today. “It’s something I saw overseas and I never thought it would come here, but it’s here,” King said, “Do we have the strength to come back from that. Do we have the strength to fight? Do we have the strength to resist?”