DC's Next Crossover Is About the Superhero Version of Military PTSD

DC Comics

The next big crossover in the DC Universe is another crisis, all right. But it isn’t a universe-changing event that will unmake the multiverse again. This time, the crisis is a lot more personal.

On Wednesday, DC Comics announced Heroes in Crisis, the next major DC crossover set for a fall release. Written by Tom King and illustrated by Clay Mann (Batman), Tomeu Morey, and lettered by Clayton Cowles, the seven-issue series is being billed as a murder mystery with the formation of the Sanctuary — a new crisis center for the DC superheroes — at the center of it all.

In Heroes in Crisis, poised to be a superhero story unlike any other, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman team up to create the Sanctuary, a crisis center for superheroes to gather themselves before going back out to save the world, or their neighborhood, from evildoers. The series will tell the story of what happens when a much-needed resource like the Sanctuary becomes a failure.

“Millions of people cycle through that machine and come home to America,” said King in a statement. “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.”

'Heroes in Crisis' #1 cover, illustrated by Clay Mann.

DC Comics

In the aftermath of crossover events like Dark Knights: Metal and Doomsday Clock, not to mention other “crises” in the DC canon like Crisis on Infinite Earths, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis, Heroes in Crisis stands out as something much smaller in scale but arguably the most emotionally resonant. King’s story is highly suggestive of post-traumatic stress endured by surviving members of the armed forces. For King, an ex-CIA counterterrorism officer of seven years before he wrote comics, it’s a deeply personal experience.

“If I could do anything to the DCU,” added 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.”

After joining the CIA in the wake of 9/11 — which King cited as the inspiration for his current run on Batman — King became a novelist, whose book A Once Crowded Sky led him to writing for DC and the critically-acclaimed The Vision for Marvel. Since 2016, King has been the main writer on Batman, where Batman has 1) formed his own Suicide Squad to take down Bane, 2) recounted an epic, early chapter where he intervened a gang war between Riddler and Joker, and 3) proposed to Catwoman, whom he’ll marry in issue #50 in July. King also had Batman fight Elmer Fudd, but that story wasn’t canon.

Heroes in Crisis #1 will be released on September 26 in comic book stores and in digital.

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